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Eight apps for homeowners

Smartphone apps are to home ownership as cheese is to crackers – and there are just about as many to choose from.

A quick search of your device's app store will turn up the latest free or low-cost options. Here are some ideas you may find useful around the house.

Pick paint

Major paint brands have apps you can use to choose, compare or match colors. Then, use it to calculate how much paint you'll need to finish the project.

Measure rooms

There are apps available that help you record measurements of every room in your house. Simply snap a picture of the room, write measurements on the image and save it until you are ready to decorate or renovate the space.

Track possessions

Download an app from your property insurance company to document possessions with photos and descriptions. Some allow you to scan and store documents, such as receipts and other paperwork that can come in handy should you need to file a claim.

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Bank on the go

A mobile banking app makes it easy to transfer money to roommates or family members and pay utility bills online. Keep track of account balances with text alerts and find the nearest ATM at the touch of a screen.

Split bills

If you share your home with friends or roommates, save time splitting up utilities and other bills with an app that will do the math for you. Look for features such as payment logs, uneven splits, attaching receipts and email reports.

Automate the home

Home security systems usually come with dedicated apps for your mobile device – and ongoing fees for the service. There are also free or inexpensive apps available that enable your smartphone to control lighting, temperature, motion detection and more from wherever you are on a schedule you choose.

Find it nearby

If you have recently moved, find a variety of free apps that will help you discover businesses in your neighborhood or city. Search restaurants, gas stations, churches, floral shops, movie theaters. If you can name it, you can find it on an app with reviews, hours and directions.

Landscape virtually

Landscaping assistance can be as close as the phone in your hand. Apps are available that allow you to scale a photo of your lot and then search for plants by name, hardiness, color, blooming season and more. You might also find an app to help hire professionals for landscaping installation.