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Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:30

Real Estate Reality

By Carl Medford, CRS
Special to the Forum



I recently helped two of my kids buy homes — one in San Diego, the other in Roseville. Both are loving homeownership; however, they each want to make some improvements. And, since dear old dad is a licensed general contractor, they’re constantly after me for advice from fixing a frozen shower faucet to extensive framing modifications.

That’s all and good, but I’m here in Central Alameda County and their new digs… are not. Rather than fly or drive for hours, we’ve come up with innovative solutions that work for everyone.

It started with emails and text messages with pictures attached, but the need for more clarity and quicker lead times migrated us to Apple’s FaceTime app. Both kids have an iPhone 4s and as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection for my iPad 2, all is good.

Case in point — while driving recently, one of them pinged me. “Dad,” he said, “We’ve got the ceiling torn apart and we need you to have a quick look.”

I turned down a side street, grabbed my iPad, turned on my Verizon 4G hotspot and, within moments, was staring at his ceiling from a Hayward curb hundreds of miles away.

He walked me through the problem, I asked him to move his phone closer to a few specific spots, took a close look at my screen, then made my recommendations. The call took 5 minutes, the problem was solved, my son was delighted and I was quickly back on the road.

Driving away, it occurred to me that this could be a huge asset to potential homebuyers as well.

Like most Realtors, I have go-to contractors and trades persons in my queue. Add flooring installers, painters, designers and the like and I have a veritable arsenal of wonderful, gifted persons willing to give advice in the hopes of getting work. Many of them, like me, carry an iPad and/or iPhone with them. (For non-apple devices, Skype’s app provides a very similar functionality.)

Instead of a contractor driving up to an hour to get to the property, I can just FaceTime them for a few minutes. It provides a real-time benefit to a buyer wondering if they want to buy any specific home and can help a contractor land a new job once escrow closes.

It’s a new virtual Real Estate Reality, and I’m beginning to like the feel of it… very much.


Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at



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