A North Carolina-based real estate technology company that offers online tools to home buyers, sellers and agents has plans to expand its business model to other real estate markets across the country.
ListingBook LLC has so far focused on real estate agents and consumers in North Carolina who are served by the Triad Multiple Listing Service. About 2,700 agents have active accounts through the system, and there are an estimated 25,000 prospective buyers and 5,000 sellers registered in the system at any point in time, said James H. Barry, CEO for Listingbook LLC.
Agents participating in Listingbook have activated about 160,000 accounts for their clients.
Buyers get up-to-date information on property listings in the Triad MLS, including information on changes to property pricing and sale status. Sellers can view information on how many buyers in the Listingbook network viewed and showed interest in their homes, and can view information about competitive properties in their market area. Agents can track their clients’ activity within Listingbook and can communicate with clients via instant-messaging or e-mail.
It’s an approach that seems to be catching on in the industry: Make MLS information more instantly accessible online for consumers and agents alike, and help to facilitate communications between agents and consumers.
Inman News reported earlier this month on a new offering by Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, for example, that allows agents to offer their clients some detailed Web traffic statistics about their clients’ homes and other neighborhood properties. And there are many Web sites, too, that are offering consumers improved tools to access MLS property listings information online.
Home buyers can enter a detailed set of criteria through Listingbook to narrow the list of available for-sale properties that they view online. They can select a price range, county and city area, particular subdivisions, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet, type of parking, age of the home, number of stories, acreage, and amenities that they either “like to have,” “must have,” or “don’t want.”
Individual property descriptions include property histories, such as the original listing date and price and a list of price changes. There are also lists of individual room dimensions and the annual tax rate for the property, as well as a list of homeowner’s association fees when applicable. Users can also choose to view individual properties on a Google-based interactive map. And consumers can view reports on the list price and selling price of properties in a particular area that have sold during a specified time period.
Buyers can also sort property lists online by acreage, age, area, basement, bathrooms, bedrooms, days on market, last change date of property status, levels, listing office, parking type, price, square footage, status, street or subdivision, among other choices. They can choose to reject specific property listings or add them to their list of favorites, and they can also add comments about properties they view at the site. Properties with upcoming open house events are marked with a special icon.
Sellers can use a CyberCMA tool at Listingbook to help understand the value of their homes and to view comparable active and sold properties and graphs with market data.
Agents have the option to pay to promote specific listings at Listingbook through open house and featured listings notifications that go out to other site users.
“Agents here tell us that they (visit) the site a lot – seven, 12, 15 times a day,” he said. It’s common for Listingbook to get about 61 million or 62 million page views in a month, he added. “There is a lot of activity.”
Agents who subscribe to Listingbook can set up accounts for their clients to use the system, and consumers who are not working with an agent who is a member of the Triad MLS cannot join the Listingbook.com system.
Listingbook is agent-centric while catering to consumers, Barry explained. “It’s providing a 24-7 system for the agents that’s doing a phenomenal amount of work. It’s meaningful for everyone.”
The system uses technology to help improve agents’ relationships with clients and to make agents more efficient, Barry said. “It’s a tough business and it’s a time-intensive and labor-intensive business. (The service) allows … agents the ability to manage more clients more efficiently, with greater quality, and to have a life themselves.”
In the past two months the company has aggressively sought new MLS partners, Barry said. “We have significant interest in dealing with the largest MLS providers. Critical mass is important to us,” he said, adding that the company will promote its services at upcoming real estate conferences.
The MLS information in the Listingbook system is updated once an hour, Barry said, and the system is designed to be user-friendly even to those who are not tech savvy.
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