Listingbook

jane__nyFebruary 18, 2012

I am finding some Realtors do not use this service. Do they have to pay for this? As a house shopper, I like the information given on a listing. Wonder why it isn't used by every Realtor.

Jane

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c9pilot

Listingbook happens to be free with my membership (not sure if it's with my NAR organization or MLS region), and it's kind of a pain in the behind. The feature I like the best is that a buyer can differentiate between "must haves" and "like to haves" (ie 3BR min, but would like 4BR).
But, it takes a lot of time to set up, because it wants to be the main tool that the Realtor uses for contacts and messages and open houses and saved searches and all that, which nearly exactly echoes MLS, which is a service we pay an awful lot for, that also does all those things.
I offer it, but my buyers are usually looking for something unique that requires me to use my best skills at MLS search criteria, mapping, tax records, etc, and Lisitngbook is too generic for stuff like that.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Northlut

Does Listingbook give any info that Redfin doesn't (assuming Redfin covers your area)? My Realtor uses Listingbook, but I greatly prefer using Redfin for searching and daily alerts. I find it a lot easier to use. Half the time when I get an alert from Listingbook, I just copy and paste the MLS number into Redfin...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:12PM
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jane__ny

I never heard of Redfin but have used Listingbook in NY and with a Realtor in Florida. I like Listingbook because it shows the DOM and any price changes and the dates plus the search allows neighborhoods, post office and zip. The MLS sheet she sends me doesn't offer that. Zillow offers DOM, price changes and price history on the house.

Our new Realtor uses MLS and I copy the address and paste it in Zillow to find the DOM and price changes. Its a pain. Trulia doesn't offer room measurements either.

I find Listingbook offers the home buyer more features and better search items.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Northlut

Redfin is a brokerage (albeit an unusual one), and they only cover a relatively small list of areas. But if they cover your area, it's really worth checking out their website. It does all of the things you say you like about Listingbook, but I think it does most of them better and much more easily. You don't have to use their brokerage services (or even sign up for an account) to use their website to look for properties. We're working with a completely different brokerage, but find Redfin's site so much easier to work with it's no contest.

I promise I have no affiliation with Redfin, and I'm not actually even a customer. I just think they have the best MLS search interface around (again, for the areas they cover).

Here is a link that might be useful: Redfin

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:55PM
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terriks

I've been in the RE business in Oregon for over 10 years and have never heard of Listingbook.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:06PM
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c9pilot

I'm pretty sure most REAs hate Redfin because of their shady business practices. Some have had very bad experiences with them. I'll leave it at that so I don't get sued.

But my take is that if you're resorting to Redfin or Zillow, then your agent isn't doing his/her job very well.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 10:10AM
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ncrealestateguy

Same here C9... never even heard of it.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:32AM
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ncrealestateguy

I meant Terriks

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:46PM
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jane__ny

NC, you never heard of Listingbook?

Jane

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:45PM
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mpinto

NC, it's based in NC!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 11:36PM
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ncrealestateguy

After visiting the site, it sounds like it offers nothing more to buyers or agents than what our MLS already offers me and my clients.
Please list a few services that it provides to buyers.
(I asked a few agents in the office if they ever heard of it... not a one)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Scott.Feldman

Scott from Listingbook here with a little information. Listingbook is an agent controlled, consumer search tool. It is used by 60+ MLSs to help their members better service their clients and deal with the problems created with third party websites that have inaccurate information and are designed to generate leads for agents who pay them the most.

It is hard to explain in this short space, but the system is used by over 150,000 agents with over 2 million of their buyers, sellers and prospects.

There is a free version with an optional upgrade. The upgrade is less than $20/month. Agents who use Listingbook close an average of 1.5 more sides in the first year and it triples from there, over time.

If your MLS does not offer it, you should ask for it.

Please feel free to contact me or visit our website or Facebook pages for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Listingbook Website

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Scott.Feldman

For those who are interested....

Here is a link that might be useful: Inman article explaining Listingbbok

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Northlut

Scott, since you're here and paying attention, some feedback... As I said, I find it MUCH easier to use Redfin, especially when I want to quickly skim through a large number of properties. While there are a number of reasons for that, I think there is some pretty low hanging fruit that would make things a lot better. The bottom line is that it takes me 2-3 times as long to do what I want to do on Listingbook as it does on Redfin. There are a couple of features that Listingbook has that Redfin doesn't, like showing the Builder's Tract name, but they pale in comparison to the inefficiency.

The biggest discrepancy in my opinion is the map view. Just go to Redfin and compare their map experience with the one on Listingbook. The map is the central part of the experience (by default, it doesn't have to be) and in my opinion that's a very natural way to look for properties. For example:

  • The map takes up most of the screen, with a scrollable list of properties below it, and a brief detail of the given property on the right.

  • I can scroll through the searched properties by pushing the up and down arrows. I can scroll through the photos of the property in the preview area by pushing the left and right arrows. I can mark a property as a favorite by pressing the "F" key. All without ever leaving the map. I can scroll through 100 search results in a couple of minutes, very quickly seeing properties that can be ruled out, and others that are worth a further look.

  • It shows you quickly on the map which you have looked at and haven't, which are your favorites or excluded ("x-outs"), etc.

  • Changing the search criteria on the map is trivial with a drop down at the top of the screen, updating instantly. There's no need to go to another screen or refresh to change the criteria.

  • Dragging or zooming the map instantly updates the results to search that area.

  • Typing in the name of a city, county or neighborhood at the top of the screen instantly takes you to that area with the area outlined.

  • The map shows the outlines of the parcels, so you can see (roughly, at least) what is included in the property.

Beyond the mapping stuff there are lots of other things that I think could be improved. Some thoughts:

  • Make it remember my login for longer. This isn't super secure banking information. It's MLS data that's available online without logging in via numerous sources. Having to re-login every time I want to use it is a hassle.

  • Make efficient use of the screen. In most views, Redfin fits the most important information on the screen without scrolling. In the map view, it resizes to use the entire browser window without scrolling, no matter how big the window is. In Listingbook, I have to scroll all the time, and there's a ton of wasted space. White space on the right. Big logo and an AD at the top.

  • Make it easier to look at all the photos in a listing. On Redfin you get thumbnails of all of the photos (up to the first 15) on the main listing screen, and can scroll...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Northlut

You know, I just reread that and I have to apologize. That turned into far more of a screed than it should have. I've had a tough couple of days and got carried away. I won't let it happen again.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:35PM
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jane__ny

Don't apologize, very well written and so true. Even though I use Listingbook, as it was the only service I knew, I will try Redfin because it does sound more thorough.

I know there are versions of Listingbook which provide more info., as I was given an agents version by my agent who sold my house. She happily set it up for me so I could have the same info she did when looking at comps and history. The history is so important and the regular version of Listingbook doesn't offer it. I go to Zillow to find history.

You are correct, it takes me hours to do my own searches because no one service offers everything.
I use Listingbook because I thought it was the best available to non-professionals. Now I will give Redfin a try.

Thanks for a great rant...

Jane

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 5:56PM
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ncrealestateguy

Like I said, after going to the site's homepage, and after reading quite a bit, I still don't know what they are offering. I will read Scott's link above and then decide if LB offers me and/or my clients anything that I or my MLS does not offer already.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 6:55PM
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jane__ny

NC, when you send a listing to a client, what do you use? Can your client use your listing to do a further search on that property. Does it offer history and price changes?

My experience with Realtors has been that the listings they send are MLS and offer little information to the buyer except the standard stuff - sq ftg, #of beds/baths, property size.

I want doms, history, price the seller paid for the house, and the ability to search the neighborhood for recent sales.

I have only received that type of info one time from my previous agent who sold our house. I was able to find the info easily because she sent all listings using the professional version of Listingbook.

Without that information, a buyer is forced to ask the agent to send that info, or to run separate searches on various real estate websites.

So, back to the original question, how much information do you send to your clients?

Jane

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 7:08PM
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ncrealestateguy

I set all my clients (buyers and sellers) up on a listing search that sends them listings that match their criteria, the day the listings hit the MLS. This is an interactive format, where the user can make notes about the properties, I can correspond (make notes) with the buyer so that they can see my notes. The user can save the properties as favorites, possibilities, or delete them entirely. The user is alerted the day the propertie's status changes also. The user can map each property (no street view), but there are road, aerial, and bird's eye views. All listings that match your criteria are shown on the map too.
Probably the main item that is missing from this set up is that the user has no access to the tax records. But it is my experience that buyers do not want this level of detail until they have narrowed the search to a few homes. I then send them a report that blows them away... demographics, neighborhood statistics, trends, mortgage amount, neighborhood's income levels, breakdown of neighborhood occupations, percentage of rentals in neighborhoods, and a ton more info. I wish I could get a sample on here to show you.
The one thing I wish the mapping feature did have are the lot lines... it does not.
OK, I am off to check this LB out to see exactly what it is.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 10:09PM
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ncrealestateguy

From the article mentioned:
ListingBook also sells QuickFarm marketing lists, by ZIP code or street, that provide a prospect's full name, email address, and home address, and can be imported into Listingbook.

Does this mean that users of LB will be unknowingly spammed by agents who buy this list?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 10:28PM
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jane__ny

I have never been spammed as a user. I've never received any mail related to Listingbook. I have from Zillow and Trulia but nothing intrusive.

NC you wrote - "I set all my clients (buyers and sellers) up on a listing search that sends them listings that match their criteria, the day the listings hit the MLS. This is an interactive format,"

That's exactly what Realtors send to their clients. Although, I do not receive a demographics breakdown, which I would like for areas we are not familiar with.

The sheets you mention, do not offer history or past price paid. Does not offer dates of price changes.

There's just not enough information. I'm working with a Realtor now who just doesn't understand this and seems annoyed when I ask when the buyer purchased the house and for what amount. Getting comps is like pulling teeth. She just sends 'solds' rather than real comps. Its so frustrating especially when you are dealing with an area you are not familiar with.

I will have to find someone else to work with. We had a wonderful Realtor for a short time. Unfortunately, she had to take care of family problems and left the State.

Listingbook offers more information in one place. Because I've used it for both selling, renting and now buying, I find it comfortable to use. All Realtors in NY use it, but in Florida it is only used by a few.

Tomorrow, I'll give Redfin a try.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:01AM
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ncrealestateguy

Jane,
There is no reason to have to know the last sales date and price of every single listing that happens to match your criteria, when a buyer is starting their home search. When my clients are serious about a few properties, I then send them this info.
You say that when you ask your current agent for comps, all she sends you are recently "solds". Well, that is what comps are. What else do you want?
Maybe "Analysis Paralysis" is why it is taking you so long to pull the trigger.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Scott.Feldman

Wow. Lots of posts here. I'll make just a few comments.

1. Even though our existing product is very popular (over 50 million web pages/month) There is a new version of our system called Listingbook AI that is rolling out now. It addresses many of the mapping and search issues noted above. It has been built "from the ground up", and incorporates the best searching available on the web and hundreds of suggestions from our current users. BTW, it is tied to public records, school and demographic information as well and should a big time saver.

2. The QuickFarm service is totally independent of the contacts that an agent enters into the system. Those personal contacts stay that way and are completely private, always have been and always will be.

Through third party data providers we have very accurate lists of contact information, including e-mail addresses, for residents of specific areas. Many agents find this valuable to connect with and serve their local areas.

I hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:31AM
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ncrealestateguy

Scott,
Sounds like you are addressing some of the issues in the newer version.

OP wrote: "Through third party data providers we have very accurate lists of contact information, including e-mail addresses, for residents of specific areas. Many agents find this valuable to connect with and serve their local areas."

If I just started to receive emails from agents for no apparent reason, I would report that as Spamming. Aren't there laws against just randomly sending out emails to people that have not contacted you first? I would never do that. They have to contact me first, before I start sending emails to them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:56AM
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cmarlin20

I'm pretty sure most REAs hate Redfin because of their shady business practices. Some have had very bad experiences with them. I'll leave it at that so I don't get sued.
But my take is that if you're resorting to Redfin or Zillow, then your agent isn't doing his/her job very well.

Most agents hate Redfin because it is a discount company. I've read many happy reviews about the company, this of course threatens full commission agent's income.
I doubt I'd use a Redfin agent, but it is a great website for searching properties. Realtor.com is difficult and bulky in comparison. Who knows maybe Redfin will force Realtor.com to improve their product.
I get daily emails from Redfin with all the updates in my area. One easy email gives me lots of info.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:59AM
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