Nester app helps homebuyers see repair costs before buying

The top reason for homebuyers' remorse is unexpected repair costs. But a new app can help homebuyers see that cost upfront before they buy.

Buying a home 15 years ago caught Tim Young a bit by surprise. "I wouldn’t call it a money pit," said Young.  

"But I replaced the hot water heater, the HVAC system, I’ve replaced my roof, all my windows, I’ve fixed stucco," he listed.

Now, he uses the Nester app, which shows him which home maintenance projects are likely coming due, and the estimated cost.

"I was surprised at how much I just learned about my own home," he said.

PREVIOUSLY ON SULLIVAN'S SMART SENSE: Texas Rent Relief portal back online after being overwhelmed by applicants

Brendan Kennealey created the Nester app, saying it's like a CarFax report for a house.  

He says Nester gathers information from MLS listings, realtors, and sellers to show potential homebuyers when a home's roof, windows, or appliances might need to be replaced based on their age. It lists a "Nester fund," which is an estimate of how much money buyers should set aside each month for maintenance, in addition to their monthly mortgage payment.

"Instead of $1,400 a month, this buyer should really be thinking of 'Can I afford $2300?' And that’s because in this house, due very soon is a boiler, a hot water heater, and a roof," Kennealey showed us on one home's report.

Buyers can compare homes side by side. Kennealey showed us a similar home, priced about $50,000 higher, needing far fewer repairs.

"What we might be able to show them is that house that’s $350,000 might actually cost you less per month. The reason for that is that the Nester fund is significantly different," said Kennealey.

Kennealey recommends that homebuyers still have homes inspected before they buy.  He says Nester can help buyers decide which house they can afford, whether to make an offer and how much.

SUGGESTED: 200 Harris County veterans, young adults can get free training for tech jobs

Sellers can create reports to show potential buyers what they've invested in maintenance, such as a new roof or HVAC system.

And homeowners, like Young, can use Nester to anticipate their next repair.

"I need another hot water heater. It’s one of the first things I fixed when I first moved into the home, and frankly wouldn’t have been something I thought of."

The Nester app is free to use for sellers and offers some free services for buyers and homeowners. The prices are eight home reports for $87 for homebuyers and $57 for homeowners.