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Help for the hAPPy Homeowner

The local housing market is hot right now, and lots of buyers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates to make the move to a new space. Buying or selling a home often necessitates home repairs, though, which can be a daunting prospect. Homeowners are wise to have the numbers of a good electrician, plumber, roofer and general maintenance person handy. Read on for apps that can help homeowners connect with service providers to tackle any project.

Thumbtack helps people connect with a range of service providers. While the app focuses on home-related projects such as interior/exterior painting, landscaping, fencing, plumbing, cleaning, moving and tree trimming, it also includes fitness coaches, math tutors and dog walking. As a tool for connecting users with service providers, Thumbtack is efficient, effective and intuitive. The app does not promise to manage the project start to finish—just to get individuals in touch with the right contractor for the task. As such, Thumbtack is an excellent app that achieves its goal and is worth the download. Thumbtack may also be accessed via its website, which is equally simple and easy to use. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Angi (formerly known as Angie’s List) attempts to offer one-stop shopping for most home repair or improvement projects. From carpet cleaning, painting and plumbing to masonry, siding and windows, Angi can help homeowners research and find the best service provider for a given project. Serving as a reliable resource for customer reviews of contractors is Angi’s best feature. Users may book appointments and pay via the app, but some reviewers report negative experiences in doing so. While Angi is a handy tool, the app’s functionality is a work in progress. In its current form, Angi is best utilized as a resource for finding service providers rather than managing projects. Once reliable providers are identified, it might be best to try to track them down directly rather than through the app. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Houzz is the app for home improvement projects. Whether remodeling or just redecorating, the app helps users envision what is possible. Users may view sample rooms in an array of designs, check out the newest style trends and even purchase specific items they find and like. If the project looks more like a remodel than a redesign, homeowners can identify architects and contractors ready for hire. The app includes articles with helpful information about home organizing and decorating tips as well as guides to remodeling or renovation. Whether someone is actively planning a project or just kicking around ideas for a potential future dream house, Houzz provides a ton of resources for both inspiration and action. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

In this world of social media, Facebook can be an excellent resource for finding service providers. Many neighborhoods and towns have private Facebook groups, and those online communities are often a fantastic source for contractor suggestions. Looking for a reliable roofer with fair prices? Your local Facebook group might well be the best place to shop for recommendations. Neighbors can give you the good, the bad and the ugly about their own experiences. As an added bonus, crowdsourcing your desire to hire an electrician or handyman in a closed Facebook group should garner helpful recommendations without attracting the spam email that inevitably results from entering your email address for the privilege of using apps like Angi or Houzz. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Let’s face it: some people are handy do-it-yourselfers, and some people are…not. For those who would rather outsource all the home repairs, TaskRabbit can help. TaskRabbit connects users with service providers willing to paint, put up drywall or install a ceiling fan. Moreover, the app can help users locate people who will perform those annoying and random but not necessarily complex jobs like hanging curtains and pictures, assembling furniture or cleaning a hot tub. Like Uber but for your house, TaskRabbit lets users see transparent prices, connect with a “tasker” and then pay, tip and review all via the app. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Buying or selling a home can be so exciting, and sometimes that fixer-upper house really is a great deal. But when the dust from the move settles and it’s time to tackle all those repairs, your smartphone—armed with the right apps—might prove to be an even better tool than a wrench or drill.

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