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Putting an online spin on open houses

Alain Pinel Realtors launches new search tools for consumers

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Northern California luxury homes specialist Alain Pinel Realtors has launched an online open-house search tool and other features at open.apr.com, including a route-planner tool, integration with Google Maps and Street View, and interactive real estate statistical charts. The site counted 6,055 open-house listings as of this morning -- the list is generated based on multiple listing service information pulled from four Northern California MLSs: BAREIS (Bay Area Real Estate Information Systems), SFAR (San Francisco Association of Realtors), MLSListings and EBRDI (East Bay Regional Data Inc.). And that number has been growing quickly -- up from 3,813 open-house listings on April 21 -- perhaps inflated by the homebuyer tax credit contract deadline today. Consumers can also choose to view a full range of for-sale properties listed in the MLS, whether or not they have scheduled open houses. Data on the site is updated hourly, said Stephen Skinner, vice president of technology...