MLS & Associations

Houston Realtors demo real estate search portal that covers all of Texas

Site provides consumers with property tax, school and neighborhood information

HOUSTON — The Houston Association of Realtors today demoed a new version of its consumer-facing website that it’s testing as it prepares to expand’s coverage area to the entire state of Texas, and also do something that third-party portals like Zillow and Trulia are perhaps best-known for: serve up property tax, school and neighborhood information to consumers.

Houston is the only major U.S. market in which Zillow is not the most visited real estate search portal, HAR said in demoing the beta site for reporters attending the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ conference.

The beta site offers a home value finder that provides property tax data, including assessed values, for off-market properties. Recently sold properties are accompanied by an estimated value range and property tax data. In both instances, site visitors are advised to “Contact a Realtor for an estimate of a home’s market value, a sales price or tax value is not current market value.”

A neighborhood search function lets users search for properties by neighborhood, and learn about local attractions and landmarks. A “Texas school finder” search function lets users helps users find schools and districts, school ratings, rankings, demographic makeup and test scores.

HAR announced in March that it would expand coverage of to the entire state by partnering with listing syndicator ListHub, a subsidiary of operator Move Inc., to allow participating Texas brokers and MLSs to publicize their listings on the site.

HAR is the first MLS operator to take advantage of ListHub’s expansion of its Real Estate Network (REN). REN was launched in 2012 to give brokerages and MLSs the option of providing listings to websites operated by franchisors and other brokerage network organizations. REN has been expanded to include public-facing MLS portals and mobile apps as a category of publisher.