A new tool from New York City-based discount brokerage RealDirect Inc. gives homebuyers the inside scoop on which homes might be the best deals in The Empire City.

Based on a custom algorithm designed to suss out and analyze comparable homes, RealBargain serves up bargains customized to a buyer’s home search with an emphasis on those with low prices-per-square-feet relative to "comparable" homes.

The tool mines property descriptions for key words like "bright" and "renovated" that allow it to filter out and find comparable homes, said Doug Perlson, co-founder and CEO of RealDirect. For example, properties described as "light" and "dark" will have very different prices and thus wouldn’t be compared, he said.

The tool surfaces "properties that we consider to be highly desirable" that fall in the bottom 20th percentile of the homes compared in terms of price, Perlson said.

Screen shot showing RealDirect home search with RealBargain homes (seen with red tag in search results list).

RealDirect, which currently operates in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, so its homebuying bargain tool has access to most of the city’s listings, which it culls daily.

Bargain doesn’t mean cheap, RealDirect points out. The algorithm only considers homes that rise above a certain threshold of quality — like newly remodeled units and those that feature amenities like a doorman, elevator and average maintenance fees.

Clients working with RealDirect — which introduced buyer services last summer to augment its established business catering to sellers — pay limited commissions based on more streamlined services. Buyers, for example, receive up to a 1 percent rebate when they purchase a home using the RealDirect system.

Sellers, who have access to the firm’s listing management and marketing platform and receive data on their listings from the firm’s hallmark analytics tool, can choose to manage their listings themselves and pay either a $395 monthly fee, or a 1 percent commission fee at closing.

Or they can choose to work more closely with a RealDirect agent and pay a 2 percent commission fee. Sellers choose what commission they will pay a buyer’s agent.

The company says it has plans to expand into all of New York City’s boroughs.

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