If you’re in the market for a home and are using the apps, there may be a better way to compare those prices, as NAB’s UBank shows with something for iOS and Android.
Whether or not you believe the Aussie capital cities are currently in a housing bubble or a housing boom, it’s probably fair to say that anyone in that market is spending a lot of time researching their next purchase, and possibly the biggest one of their lives.
Right now, the pricing isn’t particularly friendly to prospective buyers — the younger generation all but locked out from the Australian dream of owning their own home near where they work — but that’s not the only problem they need to deal with, as research is a big factor.
Indeed, the amount of time spent relying on apps and websites that only get them so far is a huge part of this, and there are stats suggesting it takes an average of around six months looking at properties, with a solid 12 days of time spent travelling to open homes and auctions. Frustratingly, is costs the average Australian close to $600 in expenses when they’re looking for the home.
It seems that finding a home can be a tumultuous time, and with the possibilities of buyer’s panic leading to buyer’s remorse, it seems right that someone might want to change the way we search for properties.
National Australia Bank’s online only digital bank “UBank” might be stepping into those shoes with a rather interesting app we’ve had the opportunity of checking out recently.
This week, its “UrHome” app heads to the iPhone, iPad, and Android tablets, and it is essentially a real estate analysis tool that aims to do a little more than the current crop of real estate apps, most of which are products from the various websites that would normally run the classified listings from the popular websites doing the same thing, such as Fairfax’s Domain and News Ltd’s RealEstate.com.
UBank’s UrHome is like these, and even takes data from the latter of them, but also throws in some deeper analysis, grabbing older images of the home in question, and detailing what the estimated price range of a home is, as well as what it sold for back when it sold last.
Notes can be added to the listing, as can your own personal ratings, and you can even get a bit of finance information thrown in to find out how much you’d need to spend in order to apply for a loan, or even how much a loan would pay off.
“We know that home buying and renovating can be complicated and stressful, and the current environment is compounding those issues,” said Lee Hatton, CEO of UBank.
“We’re uniquely placed as a digital bank to find industry-leading solutions to these problems. From the customisation tools, to the unique view into renovating, to one of the fastest home loan applications on the market, we believe the UrHome App is going to help all Australians better navigate the property market.”
We need to stress that given that UBank has home loans as a service, it’s quite clear that this is the main reason this app exists, and many apps out there are essentially an extension of the services of the company that makes them.
That being said, if you don’t know much about how stamp duty works, and are curious to see how a loan mighty affect your current pay packet, the UrHome app presents the information in one of the more logical and simplified terms we’ve seen.
In the app, there’s an “affordability” section, which allows you to enter the rough incomes of you and your partner (or just you if that’s the case), as well as your rough expenses and dependents, with this information being tabulated into an amount of how much borrowing power you have, and how this will affect you.
This is something we’ve yet to see on real estate apps, with the information presented cleanly and easily, and then used again and again with the homes you select for comparison sakes, which is useful long term if you’re eyeing homes or actually getting into some hard research with a clear intent to buy.
Renovations are also part of this system, with rough estimates provided if you’re not putting your home up for sale and want to spend some money reworking the kitchen or living room, with that home loan power used for this, too.
But one of the surprise aspects of the app doesn’t come from searching the homes that are already up for sale, but rather with homes that have already been for sale and aren’t on the market at that time.
Essentially, this feature — called “buy a specific property” — allows you to enter the address of the home in question and then find out how much it would cost, how much it last sold for, and see pictures of the last few times it went to the market.
This is one of those nifty features, and it could be useful to see how your current or previous home did, or even just how a home you’ve always wanted to live in has performed, and if you would ever have enough money to buy them out, you know, if you ever won lotto or sold the film rights to your life.
UBank’s UrHome app is available now for iOS and Android, and is free.