Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that only Professional and Premium users are listed in RES.net’s agent directory. RES.net offers trial Professional memberships that are free for 30 days.  

RES.net, a real estate transaction communication and listing platform that once focused only on distressed properties, now allows homebuyers search for properties not yet listed for sale in a multiple listing service (MLS).

About 20 percent of the 85,000 listings in the RES.net network are exclusively "prelisted" on the site by its 200,000 users, said Todd Mobraten, president and chief operating officer of RES.net.

"By adding prelist inventory to our Buyer Portal we are giving homebuyers the opportunity to easily view properties not available on other buyer or real estate websites, allowing them to get a head start contacting agents and preparing offers," Mobraten said in a statement. 

All of the roughly 17,000 prelisted properties on the site — those that may have a sales agreement, but aren’t necessarily ready for market — are exclusive to RES.net, and are advertised and marketed by agents Mobraten said.

About half of the site’s users are agents, and the rest are mortgage servicers, settlement service companies, valuation groups and other real estate players, Mobraten said.

As soon as the prelisted properties — which are categorized as bank-owned (REO), short sale or resale — enter an MLS, they are listed on RES.net with their full addresses and other information, like other MLS-listed homes in the system, he said.

For an annual fee of $700, agents can sign up as "Professional" users, which gives them access to the site’s transaction management platform and deeper access to its inventory, about two-thirds of which is made up of distressed properties. A more limited set of tools is available to "Premium" subscribers for $300 a year.

Only Professional and Premium users are listed in the site’s agent directory. RES.net offers trial Professional memberships that are free for 30 days. 

The site also caters to consumers, both buyers and sellers. Homeowners can list homes as short sales or traditional re-sales, and choose an agent. Buyers can search for homes and agents for free, but must pay $29.95 a month to access the addresses of prelisted homes.

Critics of off-market listings say sellers’ listings may not receive as much visibility as they would if they were listed in an MLS. Some brokers oppose the practice, saying it increases the likelihood that a brokerage will close both sides of a deal and win associated work, like mortgage and title business.

Last month, some Ohio agents called attention to the increasing practice of agents in their area keeping listings in their "pocket" and selling homes without listing them in the local MLS.

In October, Zillow rolled out free detailed listing information, including addresses, on 1.2 million U.S. homes that are in some stage of the foreclosure process or have been repossessed by lenders but not yet listed for sale.

RES.net might give some of these homes an off-market outlet. However, the company is focusing on growing in the traditional real estate transaction space, Mobraten said, and is touting its transaction management system that’s designed to streamline a sale from start to finish and was forged in the complicated distressed home transaction space.

RES.net was founded in 2003 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary U.S. Real Estate Services Inc., which provides REO valuation and other REO-related services.

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