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Real Estate Partnership Transforms Michigan Housing Market


DETROIT - Real estate leaders from two companies say that home buyers and sellers across Southeastern Michigan already have benefited from a new interactive real estate system that provides comprehensive housing data over a nine-county region.

The agreement, reached in January between MiRealSource, Michigan’s largest broker-owned Multiple Listing Service, and Listingbook™, a leading real estate information services company based in Greensboro, N.C., gives consumers access to thousands of housing listings that are more complete than any listings available on the Internet today.

The partnership covers Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston, Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron, St. Clair and Tuscola counties.

“There is no question that Michigan’s housing market is struggling right now,” said Virginia Bratt, CEO of MiRealSource. “But MiRealSource’s partnership with Listingbook has already given consumers hope of buying or selling homes more quickly.”

Mark Ouellette, a Virginia resident considering a move to Michigan, sees benefits with the system. “I have used other realty web tools but Listingbook is superior to all of them,” said Ouellette. “I’m very impressed with the functionality of the system.”

In particular, Ouellette says he enjoys seeing up to nine photos of homes, the ability to identify a favorite property or reject a property, the availability of a “My Favorites” page to capture top properties of interest, and a “Notes” window on each listing.

Another prospective buyer, Jessica Diskin of Michigan, likes many of the features. “First and foremost, it is great to have listings sent to me daily that I can look at,” said Diskin, an elementary school teacher. “I also like how you can do your own search if you want, in all different areas. The weather feature and message feature are all a bonus. I cannot find any negatives about this service and I am grateful for having the chance to explore and utilize it.”

The companies say that dozens of homebuyers and sellers have opened accounts using the patent-pending Listingbook technology. In addition, more than 1,000 real estate agents have been trained on the Listingbook system.

Listingbook’s technologically-advanced Intranet database captures and delivers real estate data from MiRealSource and forwards it to buyers and sellers instantly in a simple format. Previously, MiRealSource agents culled through real estate listings by searching through its vast database in what was a cumbersome, laborious process.

Longtime Michigan real estate agents say the frequency of housing updates coupled with the overall quality of information offered by Listingbook is unrivaled by any other real estate technology offering today.

“The Listingbook search engine is more intuitive than any other real estate web site I’ve ever seen,” said Tom Roncelli, an associate broker for Real Estate One in Fraser, Mich., who has been in the real estate business for nearly 40 years.

Prior to using the Listingbook system, Roncelli says consumers constantly had to call him to receive information on house listings. He added that prospects were equally frustrated about the level of unreliable listings posted on various web sites. With this system, though, housing data provides consumers with a targeted snapshot of housing listings.

Among the attractive features include automated morning reports, which inform buyers about specified properties for sale while giving sellers an overview of potential buyer interest. Other services available to agents include a home finder section, listing and showing packages, and “anytime appointment” requests.

“We are very pleased with the significant strides we’re making in terms of agent training,” said James Barry, president and CEO of Listingbook. “We’re making solid progress and have a tremendous partner in Virginia Bratt and her team at MiRealSource.”

Bratt pointed out that the system makes agents even more valuable than ever. “The system takes the agents’ knowledge and expertise with leading technology and allows them to have a window into a targeted housing market,” said Bratt.

Bratt expects up to 80 percent of the 6,500 MiRealSource agents will use the Listingbook system. “I have not seen [agents] react to a system like this in a long time,” she said.


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