House-hunting gets handheld convenience via app
By Jeff Collins, The Orange County Register/MCTDonna Chapman wouldn't have found her new one-story house if she hadn't been searching for homes day and night on her Apple iPhone.
March 12, 2013, 12:19 am TWN
The retired systems manager was determined to return from the Boston area to move near her children and grandchildren in Orange County, California.
But competition among homebuyers was fierce. Chapman, who is 60, made three offers on homes, only to get outbid.
She began her search more than a year before she moved to Southern California in October, flagging homes she liked on the Redfin and Zillow mobile applications, then sending her daughter, Sarah, and real estate agent Alexia Rusinek to check them out. Sarah Chapman used a free iPhone app called Tango to beam live video of the homes to Chapman during walk-throughs.
After she moved, Donna Chapman would open Zillow's app to learn more about cute houses, pulling up data on prior sales, property taxes and neighboring home values. She relied on Redfin to find new listings so she could jump as soon as properties hit the market.
That's what happened when her dream home popped up on Redfin. Chapman drove by and fell in love. The next day, she and her agent toured the Corona, Californoa, home, and she decided to make an offer.
But the seller's agent already had several offers and was about to meet with the owner. She gave Chapman one hour to submit her proposal.
Using Dropbox, Chapman signed the paperwork from home and shipped off the documents electronically to Rusinek at her office. Chapman's offer — US$5,000 over the US$319,900 asking price — proved to be the winning bid.
“Without the mobile apps, I wouldn't be able to see what was on the market,” Chapman said. “I would not have been able to find this house.”