A real estate agent and their client send a slew of text messages over the day, play phone tag and shoot some emails to talk about houses that piqued their interest online.

A real estate agent and her client send a slew of text messages over the day, play phone tag and shoot some emails to talk about houses that piqued the client’s interest online.

According to the National Association of Realtors, this isn’t an uncommon situation — 51 percent of buyers found the home they eventually purchased online, and 88 percent said they looked to an agent to help them conduct online searches.

That tidbit of intel was one of the many reasons Compass created Compass Collections, an interactive collaborative search tool (both desktop-friendly and and accessible via the Compass Real Estate app) that enables buyers to “organize, monitor, discuss and collaborate” with their agents on a number of properties they’ve picked.

“Collections is the real estate industry’s answer to the modern way people like to shop. Today, everything is about curation and personalization. With that in mind, we set out to build an intuitive and visually compelling way for clients and consumers to search for a home and interact with our agents,” said Leonard Steinberg, the country’s top-rated real estate agent and President of Compass in a statement.

“Collections helps the homebuyer feel in control of the process and makes searching for or selling a home less cumbersome and more enjoyable.”

So far, Compass says they’ve reached 90 percent adoption with their network of offices and agents, and 10,000 clients have begun using the tool as well, something they expect to rise with the official launch today.

How Collections works

To create a “collection,” buyers must create an account on Compass’ website. From there, they can begin looking through listings and save them to be shared with a spouse or friend, or with an agent when they’re ready to officially begin the homebuying process.

To share a property, buyers must send an email invite to their agent who will need to create a Compass account if they’re from another brokerage.

“We have a lot of buy side clients who, if they looking at non-Compass exclusives our agents will add the sell side agent so that we can have an informed conversation about a property of interest,” Steinberg said.

After the collection has been created, buyers and their agents can begin adding (or removing) homes, monitor home price changes and availability, chat with each other through the platform’s messaging feature about a specific property or the collection as a whole, and begin inviting family, friends and spouses to chime in.

The concept of a collaborative search process is picking up speed with portals such as Trulia and Zillow integrating with iMessage to make contact between a buyer and agent more seamless.

But Compass says what makes Collections different is that it’s the first and only collaborative search tool powered by a brokerage that consolidates all of the communication streams into one, sleek platform.

“It takes everything an agent and client are used to doing over email, phone, text and consolidates that communication into one tool,” Steinberg said. “It also considers that real estate decisions are rarely made alone.”

“The ability to have anyone participate in the search, from wherever and whenever they can, can be especially helpful for working couples whose schedules might not sync, for overseas and frequently traveling buyers, for multi-generational decision makers, say a parent financing the purchase of their sons’ home from a different zip code,” he added.

User experience for both agents and clients

Furthermore, Steinberg believes Collections has a leg up on the MLSs when it comes to putting the consumer’s experience first.

“An MLS is agent-driven only,” he said. “What makes Collections a better experience for the consumer is the ability it gives them to drive the search process and really feel as though they have a place in the process alongside their agent.”

Moreover, Steinberg says Collections offers the same experience for consumers across the nation — something that can’t be said for MLSs whose listings vary from region to region and whose mobile capabilities may not always be there.

“Collections powers faster decision-making through a consistent and intuitive interface, easy to use for all consumers across the country,” he said.

Steinberg says the price alert tool allows agents to quickly compare and negotiate prices, and the messaging features on the platform allow agents to better communicate with overseas or hard-to-reach buyers.

Compass will continue adding capabilities to Collections over time, he noted.

Email Marian McPherson

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