So you’ve found your dream house, made a smart offer, closed escrow, and finally gotten your hands on the keys to your new home. (Congratulations!) While homeownership brings substantial joy as well as wealth-building potential, it’s also a serious responsibility.
You’ve got to keep track of your appliance warranties, brush up on your DIY skills, find quality service providers when you need help, and, of course, stay on top of your recurring bills and maintenance needs.
And naturally, you’ll want to make the house your own through well-executed design choices, too.
Fortunately, there are plenty of apps explicitly designed to help you handle exactly those tasks. Here are 12 of the best apps for new homeowners’ needs.
Best for finding service professionals: Angie’s List
Angie’s List provides a directory of service providers, such as roofers, plumbers, mechanics, and other vendors and service providers you might need for your new home — in a total of more than 700 categories.
Members in this platform submit more than 60,000 reviews every month about companies and professionals they’ve used, so the idea is that you should get the good, bad, and ugly of how the project went. This includes quality of the job, cost, customer service, and more — all ranked on an A to F scale.
Price: Free for members to use.
Pros: Many users love Angie’s List as a resource for its comprehensive directory and reviews, and New Jersey-based top-selling agent Chiquita Pittman recommends it, adding it’s the most widely used platform among her clients.
Cons: However, Angie’s List is not without complaints from both users and watchdogs: In 2019, the Consumer Federation of America said the service gave preferential treatment to its own advertisers, calling into question its transparency as well as its utility.
Best for home budgeting and overall management: HomeZada
HomeZada is a multifunction app for new homeowners that might be a contender for the “best overall” category. The app helps homeowners keep track of all the finances related to their property, such as property tax and the mortgage itself.
In addition to the finance and budgeting side, it also automates home maintenance needs with a system for managing deadlines and tasks, including sending reminders until you complete these tasks.
Price: There is a free “Essential” version. The “Premium” version will cost you $59 per year or $9.95 per month.
Pros: Users appreciate this app for its comprehensive suite of features, and also for its intuitiveness and simplicity of use.
Cons: Critics complain that the app has much less utility than the website. As well, some complain that almost all of the functionality they want comes with the upgraded version alone — so offering a free version is a bit of a red herring.
Best for upkeep of home appliances: Centriq
Commit to protecting the appliances in your new home with the Centriq app, which is your dashboard for appliance repair and maintenance needs. It keeps all your important appliance data together so you know where to find it if something goes wrong.
Let’s say your dishwasher starts leaking: Centriq is your source for access to its user manual, as well as how-to videos and repair people. Upload the product label of the appliance, and the app takes over from there.
You can also save documents like warranties and receipts, filed under each appliance.
Pros: Centriq does one thing and does it well; if you diligently inputted your appliance data once, you shouldn’t have to bellyache about finding anything you need later… when something invariably goes wrong.
Cons: Some users complain about bugs, as well as opportunities to improve the user experience as this app evolves.
Best for painting projects: Color Capture by Benjamin Moore
When you buy a new home, you might be thrilled to complete your vision with a fresh coat of paint. But then all those exciting initial ideas give way to overwhelm and confusion when the color swatches start to blur and play mind games.
Benjamin Moore’s app makes the whole process much less painful by allowing you to color-match an object in your home — a sofa, a piece of art, or even that color of the Mediterranean sea from your honeymoon snapshot — to one of its paint shades.
Pros: This app really simplifies what can be an overwhelming process of selecting colors. The app will even help you select and experiment with complementary colors.
Cons: While users love the concept, some critics complain that the color matches are not exactly true.
Best for getting rid of what you don’t need: LetGo
Your new home is a clean slate, a vessel just waiting to be filled with fresh energy and new memories. So you’re probably going to want to think long and hard about whether you really want to bring in a bunch of crap you don’t need anymore from your last place.
You’ll feel so much better if you’re willing to let go of some of the relics that are no longer serving you — after all, what would Marie Kondo do? — and for that, there’s LetGo. The app allows you to set up a virtual garage sale by taking photos and posting for people who live nearby.
Pros: The app is popular, widely loved, and highly reviewed. Users generally find it functional, safe, and well executed. If the stars align, it can also be a solid way to meet neighbors in your new community (even while social distancing and wearing masks in the age of COVID-19).
Cons: Like most platforms of this nature, you can expect some interest from scammers — so default to a position of healthy skepticism and keep your guard up.
Best for hanging art: Bubble Level
In order to make your new home feel — well, like home — you’ll probably want to hang some photos off the bat. Or maybe your design scheme includes plenty of art, even a gallery wall.
To get all those frames and canvases looking just right, you’ll need a level tool. Even better, just download the Bubble Level tool.
Of course, it has a bubble level — but you can also use it as a surface level, AR ruler, and even a metal detector for exploring inside walls.
Pros: This is a simple interface that works as advertised. Plus, it cuts down on clutter when you incorporate the virtual tools you need into your existing phone rather than having to buy and store a physical one.
Cons: This is a popular app with nearly 300,000 combined reviews on Google Play and the App Store; few enough of those reviewers express criticism that the complaints are plainly outliers. Most say the app just does what it says, and does it well.
Best for bill reminders: Chime
When you become a homeowner, it’s more important than ever to keep track of those bills and stay on top of your finances. One great way of making it happen is by automating your payment processes, and making sure you get reminders about when everything is due.
Chime does just that. It also has a mobile payment app so you can check your account details on the go.
Pros: This mobile banking platform is feature rich for new homeowners — and many other types of users too. You can set up automatic savings, track spending, even find the nearest ATM, and more.
Cons: While the platform is generally well-loved by reviewers, some critics note customer service challenges when they’ve sought help.
Best for getting handyman help: TaskRabbit
When you move into a new home, you may — or may not — feel prepared to tackle every small project yourself. Whatever your initial intentions, you may find yourself seeking backup when you get tired or overwhelmed as the settling-in process wears on.
That’s when you might bring in an extra set of hands to help with a particular task — from assembling a piece of furniture to cleaning up, to a huge array of small-project needs. TaskRabbit connects you with so-called “Taskers,” who are folks that can help with that.
Pricing: Free to download (price of tasks and Taskers varies)
Pros: Taskrabbit makes it really easy to get that extra set of hands when you need it. You can select your tasker by reviews, skills, and also price point. Schedule a time that works for you (as early as same day), and then communicate, pay, tip, and review your Tasker all through the platform.
Cons: Because the app dispatches a huge range of contractors as Taskers, your mileage with each may vary. That means, you might find yourself disappointed by the responsiveness, cost, or quality of work of your individual tasker — though hopefully you will research reviews and do enough due diligence to help avoid these pitfalls as much as possible.
Best for interior design planning and inspo: Homestyler
If you’re into the interior design possibilities of your new home, you can explore them through the Homestyler app. Through the platform, you can create and design DIY projects, save and share them with your family, friends, or project collaborators; you can also upload a photo of your room and then scale furniture and designs to see how it all fits the floor plan.
Pros: For one thing, Homestyler is the rare free app among the field of competitors. And you can also design your spaces with art, accessories, lighting, and decor from retailers like IKEA, Target, Crate & Barrel, Pier 1, and more; that means you can bring your vision into real life feasibly and accessibly. Plus, the app lets you get inspiration and tips from the user community.
Cons: Critics pine for more functionality and more design options, especially for folks who tend to prefer more unique or individual designs, like vintage finds.
Best for DIY home repairs: iFixIt
You don’t have to have a ton of prior expertise to fix things around the house by yourself. You just need patience, confidence, and a little education along the way.
The iFixit app can help with all of those things, whether you’re looking to fix appliances, household items, cars, or gadgets. It offers illustrated, step-by-step repair guides for a huge range of specific items through its web-based wiki. For the new homeowner, think: lawn and garden projects, fireplaces, furnishings, hot tubs, and more.
Available for: It seems that Apple and Google didn’t love offering an app that showed users how to fix Apple and Google gadgets without professional upcharges. So instead of downloading an app through those platforms, you can reference a well-organized encyclopedia of guides on the website.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about the very concept here: iFixit empowers new homeowners to fix things themselves, building confidence and learning as they go. And if you can build your skills to fix your own stuff independently and within budget, you can prolong the life of household construction elements and products — an environmental bonus, too.
Cons: You can’t download this app anymore, so keep your laptop or desktop handy to use this reference material.
Best for taking home insurance inventory: Sortly
When you’re setting up for home insurance, you’re going to need to create a detailed and accurate inventory of all the belongings you intend to include in coverage.
You might do this by way of a video walkthrough of your home, detailing all the items of value, and opening drawers and closets to reveal and document the contents. Sortly is a highly reviewed platform for making the inventory process easy through your smartphone.
Pricing: For a single user, Sortly has a free tier and allows you to inventory up to 100 items in your home. There are two paid tiers from there: an “Advanced” level at $39 per month, and an “Ultra” level at $99 per month, both of which allow more entries, more users, and other additional features.
Pros: Sortly is a super-simple inventorying platform, with not much in the way of a learning curve. It really streamlines the process, and you can get up to speed quickly. (However you choose to do it, you won’t want to skip the step of documenting your valuables effectively for insurance purposes.)
Cons: Great if the free tier works for you! But if it doesn’t, you might find the paid tiers way too pricey to seriously consider. (Sortly has recently shifted its focus more toward the enterprise customer than the individual homeowner — but anyone can still inventory up to 100 items for free.)
Best for ordering supplies: Home Depot
The thing about being a new homeowner is you always need something — from picture wire to a specific screw to duct tape. There will always be some supply, large or small, that’s going to require a trip to the big-box store.
Simplify that process — and even get those items shipped right to your door with a few clicks on your smartphone — with Home Depot’s app. Use it for shopping as well as help with projects; it offers home decor tips and DIY guidance.
Pros: In addition to its shopping functionality, Home Depot’s mobile app has some neat features. For instance, you can snap a picture and find what you need using an image search. You can also search for products using voice commands. And you can even initiate real-time chat through the app.
Cons: Critics complain that some recent updates actually made the app unfriendlier for users to navigate.
Being a homeowner is a lot of responsibility, but thankfully, technology has got your back! There really is an app for just about everything you’ll need to be happy in your new digs.
Header Image Source: (Christian Wiediger / Unsplash)