News & Media

Do iBuyers Open the Door to Squatters?

OpenDoor buyers can request a home tour via the app to get a lockbox access code good for one hour – but that tool also makes it easy for squatters to move in.

CHANDLER, Ariz. – A Chandler, Ariz., couple was arrested after police say they found them and their two children living in a vacant home owned by the iBuying firm Opendoor. Police were alerted after a potential buyer visited to tour the property and reported people who appeared to be living inside.

iBuying firms make instant cash offers to home sellers in select areas of the country. After these firms take possession of a home, it often stands vacant as they then try to resell them on the open market, and Opendoor had listed the home for sale.

Police arrested Gary Lynn, 29, and Adriana Gamboa, 26, after finding them on the property. They’re being held on trespassing charges. Gamboa was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police discovered Gamboa inside the home’s master bathroom giving her children baths. She reportedly told police that she was touring the home and decided to give her children baths because they were sweaty from their walk to get to the home.

The children were taken into custody by the Department of Child Services.

Opendoor told police that it only gives interested parties one hour to tour homes. If a potential homebuyer wants to tour one of their properties, they’re told to download an application on their phones. Once completed, they then receive a code that allows them to unlock the front door and tour the home on their own.

Police say Gamboa had the Opendoor app on her phone.

Opendoor’s largest operation s in Arizona. iBuyers comprise about 6% of the market share in Phoenix, which includes the Chandler area.

Source: “Couple Arrested After They Were Found With Children in Vacant Chandler Home for Sale,” AZCentral.com (Sept. 10, 2019)

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