Selling? Buying? Refinancing? These Clever Real Estate Sites Can Help

Do the impossible: Make buying a home (or selling one) easier.

best real estate apps 2020 - Real Simple Smart Money Awards
Photo: Giacomo Bagnara

While it's not for everyone, buying property—whether as an investment or as a home to live in—is a moderately secure way to build wealth and financial security. Unfortunately, buying property and entering the world of real estate is not as easy as exchanging some cash. It's confusing, time-consuming, and costly—but it doesn't have to be all those things.

Smart real estate sites take many of the difficulties out of purchasing or selling property. It's still an intensive process, but with clever help, it can be so much easier—and more accessible to many people, even those who thought they'd never be able to buy.

As part of the Real Simple Smart Money Awards, we're highlighting the best real estate apps of 2020. Whether refinancing your mortgage, searching for your dream home, or trying to sell your current one, these smart real estate sites can help. Read on for the best real estate sites of 2020, or click here to see the other 2020 Real Simple Smart Money Award winners.

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Best real estate apps - Opendoor

Best for: home sellers who need to move quickly

What it is: Opendoor buys houses (usually those in the $100,000 to $600,000 range, though it varies by location) directly from sellers, then resells the home. Home sellers in 21 markets can request all-cash offers, receive an offer in 24 hours, and close in as little as two weeks, all without needing to list their home.

Why we love it: If you have to sell your home fast—you're relocating, divorcing, or can't afford the upkeep—Opendoor is a great option. "It's especially convenient if you're selling and then purchasing a new property, because you can pick your closing dates," says Smart Money Awards judge Tiffany Aliche, founder and CEO of The Budgetnista, a financial education platform.

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Best real estate apps - Better

Best for: home buyers or refinancers who want simplicity

What it is:'s all-in-one digital platform takes you through the entire home-buying process, from finding an agent to securing a mortgage (or refinanced loan) to shopping for insurance.

Why we love it: If you're savvy enough to navigate a mortgage application solo (though Better offers human help, too), you can save yourself the 1 percent loan office commission. The platform is also a big time-saver by connecting you to all the housing pros (insurance agents, real estate agents, and more) you'll need in one spot.

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