Archive for the ‘Smartphone Apps’ Category

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWay back in June 2011 I posted a blog article about smartphone apps for do-it-yourself home owners in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region.  Three and a half years are a lifetime in tech terms but surprisingly, most of the apps I described in the article are not only still available but are even better than before.

Everybody who has a smartphone knows there are 1000s of apps out there for every possible topic. Where to find the best ones for DIYers? Start with LifeHacker’s article How to Make Your Smartphone the Most Important Tool in Your Toolbox. Then, take a look at these great articles that review the latest and greatest apps.

Home Improvement

Better Homes & Gardens: Don’t DIY Without These 9 Apps
Bob Vila: 5 Top Tool Apps for Your iPhone
Popular Mechanics: The 10 Best Apps for DIYers
Tom’s Guide: 10 Best Home Improvement and DIY Apps
Top 13 Best Android Apps for DIY Projects and Home Remodel Repair

Home Décor

Chatelaine: Six Must-have Smartphone Apps for Home Decorating and Renos
Huffington Post: 21 iPhone, iPad and Android Apps for Decorating, Home Repair, DIY and Crafts
Remodelista: The 12 Best Apps for Remodelers

Gardening and Landscaping

Best Android Apps for Gardening and Landscaping
Best Landscape Design Apps – iPad, iPhone & Android
The Dirt Farmer: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Plant Lover
NY Times: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Home and Garden
Top 5 Gardening and Landscaping iPhone Apps

Let me know what you think of these apps. Better yet, let me know if you find a great app that isn’t on any of these lists and I’ll happily share it with everybody else! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Automate Your Spruce Grove Area Home With Your Smartphone

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Automate Your Spruce Grove Area Home With Your Smartphone | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThose of us who live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region have come to rely on the amazing pocket-sized computers that are our smartphones for just about everything from getting us up in the morning, to answering virtually every question we might have through the day, to providing us with entertainment in slack moments (oh, and keeping in touch with friends, family and business associates too!).

But did you know that there are smartphone apps that will allow you to control and monitor just about every system and piece of equipment in your home? Turn your coffeemaker on, turn off the curling iron you left on, adjust the thermostat, turn off the video game your child is playing instead of doing his homework, turn lights on and off, record TV programs for later viewing, feed your pets, lock and unlock doors, monitor your home’s entrances, act as a home security system… Wow, the future really is here.

Check out these great articles that give you the details of the apps, what they do and how much they cost.

11 Smart Apps for Your Home
Top Best 11 Gadgets for Home Controlled by Smartphone Turn Your Smartphone Into a Home Security System

And some apps to keep your home organized:

10 Apps That Will Help You to Organize in the Smartphone Age

Do you know of other great apps that can simplify daily life? I’d love to hear from you. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for Your First Home in Stony Plain

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for Your First Home in Stony Plain | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamNow is the perfect time to be looking for property in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region! Particularly in Spruce Grove real estate and Stony Plain real estate, the housing market is looking positive and there is a lot of inventory for first time homebuyers looking to get that perfect home in a small city. If you really want to take advantage of the Stony Plain real estate market right now and get the keys to your very first home, there are a few quick budgeting adjustments you can make that will get you into a house that you own. Here are a few great money-saving tips to help you save up that down payment.

Make Your Own Lunches

Many people don’t realize this, but you could free up a lot of your money by making your own lunches and at-work snacks at home rather than buying them during the workday. A ten dollar lunch and a five dollar a day coffee habit add up to $300 over the course of a month. Train yourself to make your lunch at home the night before and keep it in the fridge. You can also consider bringing leftovers to work for lunch. Bring lots of snacks for the morning and late afternoon so that you don’t feel the need to go out and buy more food. Once you get into the habit of making your own food, you’ll love how your savings steadily increase.

Make Small Trips Instead of Big, Expensive Ones

Travel is a big expense and one that people who are saving for a house usually cut. People are often slow to cut down on travel because they somehow get the idea that there is nowhere amazing to go near Stony Plain or Parkland County real estate. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Use this time to explore smaller places near Parkland County acreages that are off the beaten trail. Athabasca and Wabamun are both within an hour from Stony Plain, and are great places to go camping if you’re the outdoor type. If you want something a bit more adventurous, try heading to Jasper for a night, or road tripping to Kelowna, where you can easily find a low-cost hostel for a few nights.

Track Your Expenses: There’s an App for That

One of the best ways to watch your budget is to track your expenses with a money management app. Mint is a great budget app and website that will let you manage all of your accounts and credit cards in one place. Mint is one of the web’s most popular personal finance tools, and it has many great features that you can use to stick to your budget. The app will send you weekly reminders of your goals and the progress you are making. Financial goals are always easier to meet when you pay close attention to them, and this website can help you do just that.

Now is a great time to buy a place in Stony Plain. Even if you think you’re not quite ready to buy a home, if you begin to budget you may notice that you’re actually not that far away. Starting a few healthy habits and tracking your progress is critical in meeting your financial goals.

For more great home buying advice, or for information on Edmonton real estate or Edmonton acreages, feel free to call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Smartphone Apps for Do-It-Yourselfers

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

If you’re a smartphone user in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County or the Edmonton area, you know how handy these gadgets can be.  Add some of the apps below for even greater usefulness as you go about creating your perfect living environment.  Check your apps store to see about availability for your device.  (See also the blog article entitled “Smartphone Apps for Home Buyers”).

Smartphone Apps for Do-It-Yourselfers | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHOME IMPROVEMENT

Dream Home  [iPhone & iPad; 99¢]   Interior decorating app with lots to offer:  large photo collection of “amazing rooms from stunning looking houses”, every type of room and style imaginable, plenty of hints, tips and ideas, information on the latest design trends and fads, all to inspire you to create similar effects in your own home.

Home Interior Layout Designer – Mark On Call  [iPhone & iPad; $2.99].    Helps plan a space and determine if furnishings will fit.

Houzz  [iPhone & iPad; free]   More than 110,000 photos in 21 categories of “ideabooks” from both professional and amateur designers.

Remodelista  [iPhone & iPad; $2.99]   Online sourcebook of decorating ideas, updated daily, includes inspiring architecture, stylish DIY projects, 10 Easy Pieces product roundups, and Steal This Look.

Paint matching apps [iPhone & iPad; free]:  Benjamin Moore Color Capture  from Benjamin Moore and ColorSnap  from Sherwin-Williams both allow you to take a photo with your phone and then use the app to analyze the color to provide the closest matches within the company’s paint palette.  ColorSnap (available too for Blackberry) also displays secondary and complementary colors.

iHandy Carpenter  [iPhone & iPad; $1.99]    Turns your iPhone into a ruler, protractor, bubble level, surface level or plumb bob, making hanging pictures or mirrors a breeze.  If you need just a level, pick up the free app for both iPhone  and Android.

HandyMan Sidekick  [iPhone & iPad; $1.99]    Calculate exactly how much material you need for any project.  Input a room’s dimensions, including how many windows and doors, and this app will tell you how many gallons of paint or rolls of wallpaper you need.  Similar calculations can be done for flooring or gardening projects.  Bonus:  a feature that displays a bright fluorescent bulb on your phone’s screen to use as a flashlight!

App Box Pro [iPhone, iPod, iPad; $1.99]   Two dozen tools in one app!  Even if you don’t use all of them, it’s still a bargain.  Tools include:  Secure Wallet, Alarm Clock with Music Play, Currency, Event Diary, Flashlight, Holidays, Mirror, Ruler, Translator, Unit Convertor, Battery Life Indicator, Date Calculator, Surface Level, Bubble Level, Loan Calculator, Price Grab, Sale Price Calculator, Tip Calculator, and more.

StudFinder Professional  [iPhone; $3.99]    Uses the iPhone’s magnetometer to find studs by locating the magnetic fields emitted by metal screws and nails.  If you are an Android user, get their Magnetic Stud Finder  free.

HomeSizer  [iPhone; $2.99]  Lets you map out square footage and construction costs.  The app also breaks down mortgage costs so you can make size adjustments, along with changes to your loan term in line with your budget.

@Home app from Good Housekeeping magazine [iPhone; free]   Provides stain removal and cleaning advice, as well as decorating ideas and a searchable list of the 5,000-plus products that have earned a Good Housekeeping seal.

Smartphone Apps for Do-It-Yourselfers | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamGARDENING

Landscaper’s Companion [iPhone; $4.99]   Reference guide to trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials; contains information on over 5000 plants with 6000 pictures.  Great resource for anyone from the casual gardener to professional landscapers, allowing you to search based on your garden’s sun exposure and garden zone.

Garden Buddy  [iPhone; $2.99]   With Google Local Search and your phone’s GPS, find local suppliers for your gardening needs after you’ve used this app to calculate how much mulch, topsoil and sod to use, what types of fertilizers to add, what to plant where, and how long before you can harvest your garden bounty.

Garden Insects  [iPhone; 99¢]   Identify common garden pests and learn environmentally friendly ways to control them.

Have you found a great app that should be added to this list?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Smartphone Apps for Home Buyers

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Smartphone Apps for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTechnology has changed the way we do almost everything, including home buying, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere.  Here are a few smartphone apps home buyers and investors might find useful.  (Many are available free for all types of smartphones; check with your app store.)


Google Maps and Google Earth for mobile can show you where homes are located, but you can learn much more about a property, giving you a feel for the neighborhood, the quality of other housing, accessibility, distance from busy streets and more.

Yelp Mobilewith its reviews of businesses can give you some idea about what a neighborhood has to offer (shopping, restaurants, gas stations, etc.).

Realtor.cais the official mobile app of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) with access to about 350,000 Canadian properties for sale on the website.  Search using your smartphone’s built-in GPS for properties near your location or a specific address; receive listing details, photos and agent contact info.

Zoocasa[iPhone; free].  Similar to  Search for properties based on your current location and receive full descriptions of properties.  This app also allows users to email listings from within the app.

Home Tracker [iPhone; $3.99].  Keep track of all the details of the homes you visit with your REALTOR®.  “HomeTracker allows you to document each property in detail as you visit it. Properties are grouped into a Tour, which is a set of homes you visited with your real estate agent, or homes in a specific area. In addition to storing property information, HomeTracker can easily take Photos, Map a property, E-mail property information, and perform a Google search!”


There are plenty of mortgage calculator apps out there but most are not Canadian.  One with some limited application to Canadian situations is Canadian Mortgage Calculator.

CIBC Home Advisor app provides mobile access to mortgage tools, advice, neighborhood information.

The CIBC Home Advisor App for iPhone and BlackBerry lets home buyers:

* Track and compare properties visited by taking and storing photos and completing a home buyer’s checklist for each home

* View neighborhood maps and get immediate access to average property valuations and trends

* Request detailed neighborhood reports for properties of specific interest

* Post, tweet, text or email details of the properties and neighborhoods you are considering to share them with family and friends in real-time

* Access four different built-in calculators to help determine what the customer can afford, if they should rent vs. buy, the equity in their home, or mortgage payment options

* Request a CIBC pre-approved mortgage certificate for financing to lock in an interest rate

* Contact the nearest CIBC Mortgage Advisor and arrange to meet to get advice on mortgage options.”

RECalc – Real Estate Mortgage Loan Calculator [iPhone; free]  “RECalc is a Real Estate Mortgage Loan Calculator that is also a traditional Mathematical Calculator.  You can use RECalc to calculate the Monthly Payment, Term, Interest Rate or Loan Amount for a loan, as well as standard mathematical calculations as you would in any other calculator. Once you modify any of the Calculation variables you can re-calculate any of the other values. You can also figure in Annual Property Tax, Homeowner’s Insurance and Mortgage Insurance, as well as a Down Payment amount/percentage.  RECalc supports semi-annual compounding (Canadian Amortization) in addition to normal monthly compounding.”


Flashlight [iPhone; 99¢].  Turn your iPhone into a flashlight!   This app allows you to choose from a variety of styles and colors.  For even more features, try Flashlight+ [also 99¢]

Evernote [free; available for all smartphones and computers].  This handy app allows you to create and save all kinds of documents:  text notes, web pages, video clips, your digital photo scrapbook, and much more.  Text-recognition software makes for easy searching.

Awesome Note (+ToDo) [iPhone; $3.99].  Get organized with this versatile and customizable app that allows you to create regular notes, notes with photo attachments, To Do notes, Post-It style Quick Memo for quick jotting, daily diary, travel diary checklists, shopping lists, schedules, and more.  You can send notes as email and even synchronize your notes with Google Docs and Evernote.

Do you know of a great app that should be added to this list?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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