Illinois’ largest independent brokerage launched the Windy City’s first continually updating comparative market analysis (CMA) platform to ensure finding comps is a seamless task for their sellers.
@properties — which boasted over 20 percent of the market’s sales in Chicago last year — officially launched the platform in December. It’s designed to give @properties agents and clients data that shows every factor that goes into comparable sale prices of homes in their area. The CMA is linked to the area’s multiple listing service and self-updates daily.
In the Chicago area, the multiple listing service (MLS) that brokerages use provide an antiquated CMA, according to @properties co-founder Thad Wong, so @properties viewed the development of its own proprietary system as a way to leap ahead of the competition.
“[The MLS CMA] is what almost every single listing agent uses,” Wong explained. “So when every single agent goes on a listing presentation, their CMA is formatted in the exact same way.”
“And they’re just bad,” he added. “The tools that the MLS provide should be market-leading but they’re not — they’re market-failing. Unless you build it yourself or find a market solution, you’re not going to get a very good product.”
For sellers, a CMA — an evaluative tool that compares properties based on a multitude of factors like location, property features, market times and price changes — is a crucial piece of data when it comes to selling a home.
“[They’re] looking for those properties that they feel are a better match to their home with higher prices,” Wong said.
After compiling the research, the seller then goes back to the agent with the comparables they found. Wong said he and @properties saw this an opportunity to keep potential clients on their platform.
Within @properties’ CMA — which can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet or computer — the seller’s behavior is tracked, logged and reported back to the agent directly.
“The beautiful thing about our CMA is that all of the answers to all of the questions are in one spot,” Wong said. “It’s 100 percent accurate and updating daily so the seller never feels like they have to go somewhere else to find something — the needle in the haystack or property they feel we’re not showing them.”
When a potential client reaches out to @properties, they’ll receive an initial CMA report before the first meeting. They’ll subsequently gain access to the platform themselves. It’s also completely customizable. The client can add bedrooms or bathrooms, or check out different size homes in different neighborhoods.
The creation of the CMA was an obvious step for @properties, which has been no stranger to proptech. The company was first founded in 2000 as a marketing firm for clients developing townhomes, lofts and high rises throughout Chicago. In marketing those projects, it built a brokerage firm centered on technology and marketing.
“As opposed to buying a lot of off-the-shelf products, we just started building them,” Wong said. “We built an IT arm and started adding engineers and coders to it so we could develop our own programming and software to make the backend systems for our brokers much easier.”
“It was expensive at the time,” Wong added, “But the benefits are that when we want to add customization we can make the modification quickly.”
The communication platform that @properties built was sold to brokerages around the county. But don’t expect the public launch of the company’s CMA anytime soon. Wong said right now it’s solely for their clients and agents.