published Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Chattanooga area realtors revamp MLS site to compete with rivals

Chattanooga area home owners, sellers and Realtors are getting a quicker and more mobile way to identify the best properties and buyers through a new web and mobile platform offered by local Realtors.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors this week introduced a renamed and revamped web site, dubbed homes.gcar.net, to display information about more than 5,300 residential listings.

Local Realtors also debuted a similar site and app for nearly 1,400 commercial real estate listings in the region at commercial.gcar.net.

The new sites are part of the biggest change in local Realtors' Internet display of multiple listing services since 2001 and, for the first time, integrate what were previously separate consumer and Realtor sites.

Realtor officials said the new platform is designed to help the Chattanooga Realtors' multiple listing service compete against national real estate website competitors like Trulia and Zillow and allow agents and buyers to access information from both their personal computers and their mobile phones and tablets.

"To keep up with the trends in the market today, we realized we had to change our way of communicating to our members and to consumers because of third party websites that are gaining much attention now," said Mark Blazek, president of the local Realtors association. "Those other web sites are not as current or accurate as the information we have."

The Chattanooga Realtors group is the first of two dozen associations planning to implement the new technology, which was developed in cooperation with Huntsville-based real estate technology vendor Solid Earth.

"We did some initial testing in May, but we fully rolled out the new sites on Monday," said Carol Seal, executive director for the Chattanooga Realtors group.

Using distinct consumer and Realtor logins, homes.gcar.net offers Realtors the same proprietary access to information, analytics and features they currently have but within the same navigation experience as their clients. The new site also helps Realtors connect with those searching the site for information.

"The mission of the new residential MLS platform is to give Realtors the tools needed to engage clients and keep them on an all-inclusive interface that seamlessly navigates them through the entire real estate transaction," Blazek said. "One of the things we're most excited about is that this is a very responsive site so if you are on your iPhone, your Droid or notebook, we'll be able to provide you the information you need."

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, which conducts its annual meeting today, includes more than 1,400 members. The local Realtors group is one of 1,800 local associations that comprise the National Association of Realtors.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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