Industry NewsTechnology

Web site provides a new forum to market open houses links directly to MLS data

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A Realtor association in the San Francisco Bay Area is using technology to promote a very low-tech real estate marketing tool: the open house. The Contra Costa Association of Realtors has launched as a new venue for members to advertise open houses to the public. Real estate professionals may debate the usefulness of open houses in selling homes, though surveys have shown that they are still popular among home shoppers. The National Association of Realtors' 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that 47 percent of buyers visited open houses during their home search. "The open house, I'm told repeatedly, is a dead phenomenon -- a dead form of lead generation. Yet people still hold them," said Michael Seguin, director of technology for the Contra Costa Association of Realtors who created the Web site. Most prospective home buyers are starting their property searches online these days, he added, and the site may help real estate professionals reach a broader audi...