The company’s slogan is correct: showing is better than telling. Sometimes, even granite-hard market data isn’t enough to convince a seller they should list for $10,000 less.

  • Sellers are hard to convince their home isn't worth what they think it is. This tool helps you change that.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Focus 1st’s Visual Pricing System is an Excel-based tool that translates MLS data into visual market reports.

Platform(s): PC Windows; Mac OS
Ideal for: Excel-savvy agents and brokerages wanting better ways to communicate market data to customers

Top selling points

  • Accuracy of reports
  • Easy to install
  • Ideal for spreadsheet lovers

Things to consider

This isn’t a contemporary Web-based software package or mobile solution. It’s a traditional desktop-accessed Excel Macro.

Full review

The company’s slogan is correct: showing is better than telling.

Sometimes, even granite-hard market data isn’t enough to convince a seller they should list for $10,000 less. But if you use Focus 1st’s Visual Pricing System (VPS), you may stand a better chance of convincing them than other agents who struggle with this problem.

The concept is simple: the software turns MLS data into graphs.

Its value lies in the execution.

Focus1st_Odds

I don’t agree with the VPS developer who states no Excel knowledge is needed. That’s not true.

You may not be plugging in formulas or creating spreadsheets, but you need to be familiar with an Excel interface to properly engage with the system in order to get the most of it.

However, in real estate, that’s not a problem. It’s still a widely used product. I’m not sure why they worry about that aspect of it.

The VPS generates four standard reports to help agents arrive at a listing price:

  • Neighborhood buying patterns
  • Odds of a sale
  • Expected time on market
  • Best time to sell

The report package starts with the initial search for comps within one or more of the currently 350 connected MLSs.

Users then export that report in the file format of their choice for importing to VPS.

Once loaded, a tabbed navigation on the bottom of the window, like an Excel sheet, allows users to sort through a series of bar graphs or scattergrams.

Focus1st_BuyingPattern

The scattergrams do a good job of communicating a great deal of data in a succinct visual. Users can choose to include customizable text boxes next to each point that will summarize a property’s information.

The Best Time to Sell report uses a practical “zone” chart that clearly shows what months are most active.

Smart agents will share this with their clients, as it proves how market activity ebbs and flows through the year and that now may not be the best time to list their property.

Smart agents will share this with their clients, as it proves how market activity ebbs and flows through the year

Every VPS is specific to a seller’s property, not the entire market. This eliminates an agent having to manually sort comps to build into these kinds of reports.

There’s a very unique chart included in this product. The Pricing Pond is a graphic that uses a pond illustration — yes, the aquatic ecosystem — as a metaphor for home sales.

Focus1st_Pond

The visual is a bit jarring when juxtaposed with the system’s status quo and graphically basic, but very effective. It makes perfect sense, and is built specifically for your seller’s situation. It’s neat.

Ultimately, this isn’t great-looking software or anything that will appeal to app-savvy agents.

It is, however, accurate, easy and effective.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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