March 30--Raj Aurora has been searching to buy his first home for the last three months, but hasn't wasted time looking at condos he knows he won't like and hasn't even needed to meet his agent, all thanks to real estate apps that Aurora downloaded on his iPhone 5.
"We've already eliminated 20 to 30 houses without driving around," said Aurora, a 42-year-old chiropractor and part-time Web developer from Danville. "I don't want to sit with (my agent) for eight hours driving from house to house. I'd rather hang out with my dog and my friends."
Aurora instead checks out properties virtually by glancing at his Zillow and Trulia apps throughout the day, then reviews any possibilities via text or email with his Danville real estate agent, Kevin R. Kieffer of Keller Williams Realty, whom Aurora has yet to see.
"I do it at Starbucks, I do it in between meetings," Aurora said. "If I said I did it while driving that would be wrong."
The field for
With little inventory available, homebuyers often become
addicted to glancing at their smartphones and tablets throughout the day -- and even in the middle of the night -- for up-to-date alerts that might lead to their dream homes.
"I'd go to bed at night but would find myself pulling up Zillow and searching around," said Mike Finnegan, 39, who lives outside Seattle.
Finnegan wasn't even interested in looking for a new home when his wife, Amanda, first mentioned the idea in January to take advantage of lingering low interest rates.
After downloading various real estate apps on his iPhone 5 and iPad, Finnegan figured out what kind of new home and neighborhood could entice him out of his condo -- all without having to drive around looking at properties in person.
Next month, the Finnegans are scheduled to close the deal on their new three-bedroom, single-family home in the Seattle area that they eventually discovered through Zillow.
A generation of homebuyers ago, clients couldn't even see real estate multiple-listing services.
Today, with millions of property listings carried over an ever-expanding field of real estate apps, it can be overwhelming for homebuyers to have so many photos and property descriptions streaming into their smartphones, tablets, laptops
and PCs day and night.
Several apps advertise that they refresh their listings every 15 minutes. Realtor.com even claims to provide "the most accurate data on the market."
"We pride ourselves on the accuracy of the data set," said Scott Boecker, chief product officer for Move, owner of San Jose-based realtor.com. "When inventory's dropped over 50 percent while prices have increased 30 percent year over year, people are saying they check our app every single night. You want your mobile app up to date."
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