The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors has launched a consumer-facing residential property search website with tools designed to help local Realtors in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia compete with national portals.

GCAR’s “Spring” platform features responsive design compatible with mobile devices and a common interface for real estate professionals and consumers.

Instead of providing separate search environments for consumers and Realtors, each user will get access to functionality that’s appropriate to them.

Separate logins will allow real estate professionals to access the same proprietary information, analytics and features they currently have, but within the same navigation experience as their clients.

Spring was created through a partnership with Huntsville, Ala.-based real estate technology vendor Solid Earth. The new software platform will roll out in phases to give GCAR members and consumers time to adjust before the association’s old public-facing search portal, mlsarealistings.com, is replaced.

The new public-facing search portal, homes.gcar.net, is live, with the new back end for Realtors set to launch later this year.

The new back end will provide agents with analytics that shed light on their clients’ preferences and search behavior, for a more interactive agent-client experience.

“Spring provides a locally branded, national-level look and feel equipped with a range of analytic, lead-generating and social media tools all focused on maintaining the broker and agent position as expert,” GCAR said today in announcing the launch of homes.gcar.net.

For consumers, GCAR said Spring “represents a new level of access to current and accurate MLS information based on their wants and needs during the home shopping or selling process.”

The National Association of Realtors adopted a policy Saturday intended to allow MLSs to operate and promote public-facing websites as a “basic” service paid for by all members. Some large brokerages objected to the change, saying they would rather not compete with MLS-run websites or be forced to pay for MLS-provided services that they can provide to their agents themselves.

“We made the investment in Spring, which has been under development for the past several years, as a way of securing our place as an industry leader and standing out among the ever-increasing competition,” said GCAR President Mark Blazek in a statement.

What’s your take? Should MLSs operate public-facing websites? Leave your comment below.

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