A company that builds real estate-related cell phone technologies announced this week that it has created a technology that allows home buyers to dial up multiple listing service information.

The new tool, called SMS/MLS (SMS is an acronym for “short messaging service,” or text messaging), allows buyers to search for homes by address, neighborhood, MLS number or a company-created code assigned to a property.

QWASI Inc., which built the new tool, also created CellSigns, a product launched in 2005 that allows buyers to send a text message to receive property information on a cell phone. With that service, cell phone users enter a code as a text message that corresponds to a for-sale property.

“Through partnerships with brokerages, the SMS/MLS system allows buyers to access property information on all active listings,” according to the announcement this week.

With SMS/MLS, brokers provide buyers with access to property listings via a cell phone. As with CellSigns, buyers can schedule showings and request call-backs from real estate professionals. But unlike CellSigns, the sponsoring brokerage will get the call. “What broker reciprocity does for real estate websites, in that it allows competing brokers to post one another’s listings, SMS/MLS does for the mobile real estate market,” according to the announcement.

CellSigns and SMS/MLS both depend on a prospective buyer’s ownership of a cell phone. According to a USA Today poll, March 2005, 79 percent of U.S. residents own a cell phone. The median age of a text message user and the median age of an Internet home buyer are identical: 38-39 years, QWASI announced.

Dave Geipel of QWASI said, “We’ve created our mobile search tool to empower the home buyer while they are out driving around neighborhoods. We allow the broker to offer a powerful service for the buyers in a channel they could never reach before.

“You don’t need a special device (like a smart-phone) or special software and you don’t have to download anything,” Geipel also said.

And Mark Ford of QWASI added, “We have created the only real estate text messaging search tools available anywhere. These new tools put the Realtor and the real estate industry at the forefront.”

QWASI debuted the SMS/MLS this week at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in New York City.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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