|By Kyle Schliesman|
Small real estate agencies in Arizona soon
will acquire online capabilities to keep up with the larger
Vision7, a local software development firm, is
launching RealtyHosts.com. The customizable Web site template
includes a built-in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) function.
Maintained by independent organizations, MLS databases
provide listings of available real estate properties. To
provide online access to these, real estate companies must
have specialized Web sites, which can access and sort the
data, a service smaller companies can’t afford to have
RealtyHost.com was born through a project for a
larger company, Phoenix’s Dan Schwartz Realty Inc., which
employs hundreds of agents throughout the Phoenix metro area.
The company wanted a generic Web site template so each agent
could have his or her own Web site connected to the main Dan
Schwartz site and the Phoenix-area MLS. Vision7 started the
project about a year ago and expects to launch it this
“They built our Web site for us. It looks very
nice,” said Jill Fouts, a spokeswoman for Dan Schwartz Realty.
“They finished it in July. They’ve been working out all the
little details as we’ve gone along.”
The intention now
is to provide this service to small- to medium-size real
estate agencies. Larger companies can typically spend
thousands of dollars for custom Web sites.
With a generic
template, Vision7 can offer the same type of service at a much
lower cost to smaller agencies.
Internet real estate
listings have reached popular usage in home buying. About 70
percent of home buyers shop online before they buy, Miner
At first, the database will incorporate MLS
property listings for Tucson, Phoenix, Sierra Vista and Green
Valley. After the product is established locally, Vision7 may
spread its sales to other areas outside the state. About 150
to 200 cities around the country have MLS
“We’re testing the waters now,” Miner said.
“We really want to cover Arizona first.”
Phoenix seem to have a large market for this type of product,
Miner said. About 450 real estate businesses call Tucson home,
while Phoenix hosts more than 1,800.
The product is
very close to being market ready, Miner said. The company
still needs to complete a demo-site for the product, as well
as a couple other minor adjustments.
One of the issues
is updating the MLS data. Right now, the system is
semi-automatic, meaning Vision7 has to upload the new
information on a daily basis. The company plans to fully
automate this process, though.
The project took a
little longer because it stretched Vision7’s technical
capabilities. To make this product, Vision7 needed to work
with software that it did not previously use. Miner called
this a good excuse to upgrade the company’s
While the product is a new venture for
Vision7, the company has plenty of competitors. Some companies
provide MLS listings on a separate frame. This means that the
Web page will include a smaller Web page on it, which shows an
MLS listing from somewhere else. The only problem with this is
that the imported MLS listings may have different contact
information than the main site.
“There is a lot of
technology out there already,” Miner said. “But for lower-end
people, it’s hard to find a solution like this.”
RealtyHost.com Web pages will be customizable for the clients.
Vision7 will offer a growing variety of looks for the pages,
and customers will be able to input their own information and
preferences. Some of the personalization functions will be
available in both HTML and a more broadly user-friendly
“It’s a more interactive Web site than one they
just slap together,” Miner said.
allows clients to change the appearance of their
RealtyHost.com Web pages, the functions of each page will
remain the same. Every page will include links to information
such as property listings or contact information. The
customers can use their own URLs, but the page will still be
hosted by Vision7 with access to the search engines and
content. From any RealtyHost.com Web page, clients and their
customers can search the MLS system for properties by
location, agent, price, etc.
At this point, the
technology is strong, while some of the features are still
thin. Vision7 plans to launch the program on the strength of
the technology, while continually adding new features to
strengthen the overall product. For example, the company is
working on a database for open houses.
Communications will host the servers for Vision7’s product and
provide the backend infrastructure. Gain, which provides
high-speed Internet access and other information technology
services, worked with Vision7 in the past to provide services
for real estate clients.
“We are pretty involved with
the realty community,” said David Brenner, president and chief
executive officer of Gain. “A lot of them work from home. They
like to have a good, high-speed connection.”
called RealtyHost.com a natural extension of the services the
company already offers these clients.
Schliesman may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or