MLSs taking Point2 up on offer of free, public-facing website

Sites provide price history, recent sales and parcel-based data for off-market properties.

Realtor associations in San Francisco and El Paso are the first in the country to take advantage of an offer from real estate marketing software provider Point2 Technologies Inc. to build them free public-facing websites with many of the bells and whistles found on the big listing portals.

The San Francisco Association of Realtors’ new public-facing website, which is currently in beta and launching soon, allows users to search by neighborhood, ZIP code, or custom-drawn radius or polygon, in order to retrieve information including price history, recent sales and parcel-based data for off-market properties. Listing detail pages also provide demographic information, crime data, price “heat maps,” and map overlays showing neighborhoods, school district boundaries, school sites, geohazards and other information.

Screen shot of crime data in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood from SFAR's Point2 website, currently in beta.
Screen shot of crime data in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood from SFAR's Point2 website, currently in beta.

“This is our answer to everything that Zillow and Trulia are doing,” said Walt Baczkowski, SFAR’s CEO.

Baczkowski said the responsive design website has all the info consumers have been wanting, without displaying advertising from agents or brokerages.

If Realtor associations or MLSs operate public-facing listing sites, they often display more limited data, such as details and photos associated with active listings. The websites Point2 is offering to build for MLSs pull data from a variety of public records databases and Point2’s own research, said Saul Klein, senior vice president of Point2.

Plus, it’s free to the MLS.

Point2 charges site visitors for access to more in-depth data like a property data report that includes assessment and tax history, among other details. The company also plans to enter into revenue-sharing deals with MLSs for display ads on the site, Klein said.

“I think it will be revolutionary,” Baczkowski said.

At its midyear meeting in May, the National Association of Realtors ruled that if Realtor associations and MLSs choose to operate public-facing sites, they will be allowed to require that members pay for the costs of operating and promoting them as a “basic” service.

Less than two weeks later, Point2 announced its “white label” listing websites for MLSs and Realtor associations. Although Point2 had been thinking about providing such a service for a while, “NAR brought this whole thing to a boil,” Klein said.

SFAR-2

Screen shot of the San Francisco Association of Realtors’ new public-facing website, currently in beta and launching soon, showing neighborhood-based map search.

The search bar area on the home page will remain consistent for the different sites Point2 eventually builds for other MLSs, but the layout around it, including colors, logo and other information, will change.

Registered users can save favorite properties, compare up to four homes side by side and get basic property reports. Listing agents are prominently displayed next to each listing, Klein pointed out in a demo of the SFAR site.

The El Paso (Texas) Association of Realtors has also released a Point2 site.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story noted that the San Francisco Association of Realtors’ public-facing Point2 website had launched. It is actually in beta and launching soon.


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