Terabitz — the Silicon Valley company that helps real estate brokers build sophisticated Web sites with beefed-up content — has launched a search application that allows iPhone users to access property listings and neighborhood information.
The iPhone search application will eventually be available to the public wherever Terabitz has broker partners that provide access to the local MLS.
For now, iPhone access to MLS data is limited to about 100,000 active listings in northern California, where the first client to buy into the new capability — Intero Real Estate Services — is located.
The application will give iPhone users access to the same enhanced information they’d see if they visited a broker’s Terabitz-powered Web site — such as local neighborhood and schools information, recent sales, and driving directions, said the company’s chief executive officer, Ashfaq Munshi.
The application "takes what we do on the Web, and makes it available in a way that’s consistent with the paradigm of the iPhone," Munshi said. "It’s not a toy application to demonstrate that there is technology — it’s user-friendly, and provides you with real data" — including ratings on particular schools — "right on your iPhone."
The search application will allow any iPhone user to access MLS data and neighborhood information through an interface carrying the participating broker’s brand.
"Our intent is that wherever we have a broker partner, this should be available," Munshi said. "The information is free, and anybody can use it."
While consumers can use the iPhone search application to search for properties or neighborhood information before contacting an agent, Munshi said it will also be a useful tool for agents in the field, enabling them to instantly call up information on properties they happen to come across with clients while looking at other homes.
Information for properties includes data sheets with information on details such as heating and air conditioning, appliances, landscaping, and architecture.
The iPhone search application uses digital map data and content from Tele Atlas for querying places and points of interest such as restaurants and schools, showing their location in relation to a specific property.
The search application works by pointing the iPhone browser — or any computer running Apple’s Safari operating system — to http://intero.terabitz.com/iphone.
Munshi said that while the new application is targeted at more than 10 million iPhone users expected by the end of 2008, the company intends to develop similar tools for other Web-enabled cell phone platforms.
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