A real estate technology company is borrowing from the playbook of consumer-facing real estate search sites in bringing a new look, feel and functionality to multiple listing service software.

Roseville, Calif.-based Concentric Software LLC features a range of Web-based search tools for agent and broker members of MLSs that allow users to specify property search areas on an interactive map, for example.

The company’s Evolution MLS product also allows users to enter an unlimited amount of property photos, and users can embed video links related to property listings.

Richard Igou, president and CEO of Concentric and a former employee of MLS vendor Rapattoni Corp., said the software "has that Web 2.0 feel," as there is no need for the Web page to refresh when users jump from one module to another in the application.

"We’re pretty heavy on multimedia. When you’re buying a house it is a very visual process. If you can’t see the listing and see the photos tied to it, it really doesn’t do any good," Igou said. Some MLS software programs, he said, are text-heavy and not visually impressive.

Consumer-facing real estate Web sites are already incorporating a wide range of interactive mapping tools and multimedia property displays, and Igou said that agents "have to step up their game — ultimately it’s the MLS that is going to have to provide these services" to members.

Evolution MLS was developed around Flash, a programming technology that brings animation and interactivity to Web sites. Because of this programming approach, the MLS platform works on a variety of operating systems.

Igou launched Concentric in 2006 and the Evolution MLS product is still in testing. The company has not announced any MLS clients yet.

He said that while there are some very established players and products in the MLS software arena, such as Rapattoni, First American and Fidelity National Information Solutions, the downturn in the housing market may actually work to the company’s advantage.

"We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here," said Igou, but rather to make MLS tools "more efficient, faster and easier for agents to use."

In addition to the core Evolution MLS product, Concentric plans to roll out Evolution CMA, a comparative market analysis product, in July that can be purchased as a standalone package for agents and brokers or made accessible through MLS that use Evolution MLS.

The CMA product will allow users to incorporate real-time MLS data into charts and graphs that they can share with clients.


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