Finding a place to call home can be fraught with frustrations. Not only do you have to worry about whether the flat you’re going to rent will ensure your happiness and comfort but also if the neighbourhood will suit your lifestyle. Thankfully, the answer to a pleasant flat hunting experience is right there in your pocket, or even in the palm of your hand right now. Among all the bells and whistles that come with your smartphone, there are some genuinely useful apps and built-in features that can help you stay on track. Check out our list, in collaboration with Private Property, on how your smartphone can make the flat hunting journey as fun and easy as can be.

Use Online Search Listings

If you’re still circling property listings in newspapers it may be time to embrace the digital era of house hunting where property search portals bring together thousands of homes currently available in the rental market. You can customise your search according to the type of property and features you desire, watch virtual tours of a property, read reviews and sign up for email notifications to receive updates.

Some property apps, like Private Property’s, even perform the search for you by pushing notifications to your smartphone using a social-media-like feed to notify you of new listings – for example, property to rent in Pretoria – in real-time.

Schedule Viewings And Set Reminders

In today’s hectic life, counting on memory isn’t always the solution to showing up for an appointment with the real estate agent. A typical smartphone comes with at least a built-in calendar that allows you to set a reminder (you can also use Google Calendar for this). There are also a range of free scheduling apps you can download such as Sunrise Calendar, WAVE, and DigiCal.

Get Directions To The Viewing

Unless you’re buying a home in an area you’re familiar with, you’re likely going to make multiple trips to some unknown suburbs kilometres away, and stopping to ask a John Doe for directions might not be the most reliable way to find your way around. That used to be the scenario though – until Google Maps arrived. Apart from calculating the best route and offering voice-guided directions, the app also displays traffic conditions in real-time on major roads and highways.

Take Photos Of The Property

It can be difficult to keep track of the various features of homes you’ve visited, and you may discover something stunning that was not shown in the listing pictures. Your smartphone’s camera can come in handy when exploring your potential home. Take a few photos (if it’s permitted) to help you remember the features of each home and decide which suits your needs.

Explore The Neighbourhood

When flat hunting, you want to know what kind of quality of life you can expect in a specific suburb. Google Maps is also a useful tool for researching a neighbourhood before you invest in it. On Google Maps, simply search the street address, and it will automatically show nearby amenities such as schools, shopping centres, public transport and leisure facilities. You can also tap the “Nearby” function below the search result to find amenities.

Scan And Email Documents

When you need to submit a document such as proof of current residential address, your identity document or whatever paperwork the agent requires you to sign, Google will once again come to your rescue. On your Android phone, open the Google Drive, tap the “scan” function, take a picture of the document and Google will convert it into a PDF file. From there you can simply click on the email icon to submit the documents.

Like housing, owning a smartphone has become a necessity in modern times, and with new features and apps hitting the market every year, it’s easy to imagine a future where flat hunting is more engaging and simpler than ever.