Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 30, 2010

Buying or selling your home? New listings cover 21 counties

The Bay East Association of Realtors has completed an agreement that makes the coveted and previously private multiple listings of other similar organizations in the Bay Area now available to Realtors throughout the greater Bay Area. By signing on to Metrolist Services, Bay Area Real Estate Services, San Francisco's Quattro Group and MLSListings, Bay East member agents, including those serving the Tri-Valley, now can access data at no additional charge through the Multiple Organization Reciprocal Exchange. This is good news for home buyers and sellers and the agents who represent them who can now provide immediate data on properties throughout 21 counties that have agreed with Bay East to allow full access to real estate multiple listings data. The move also comes at a time when the housing market is starting to see some advances in both sales and prices after two years of market disruptions and turmoil.

Many homeowners will remember the days not long ago when buying and selling a home involved an agent leafing through multiple printed pages in a large binder trying to find recent sales in that neighborhood or searching for data on available homes on the market. Those MLS books which served a specific area were up-to-date only at the time they were printed. By the time they were in a Realtor's hands, much of the information was already out of date with some of the homes being shown to prospects already sold or with pending sales. Today, armed with continually upgraded tool boxes at their disposal, agents can search for information on a laptop, iPhone or Blackberry with a client in the car. Now, with multiple listings information available from anywhere on the Peninsula, in San Francisco, and cities as far as Sacramento, Tri-Valley agents and their clients can get a quick snapshot of where the good buys are while sellers can have their homes available in all of these markets, too, adding to the range of prospects searching for properties in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore.

Tricia Thomas, who has been executive director of Bay East for the last 21 years, gets credit for making these expanded multiple listings available to Realtors in the region her organization covers, which includes an area from Fremont north along the I-680 corridor, and from Hayward to Livermore. Up to now, these agents had to join other similar associations at a steep fee to participate in their multiple listings service, including the Tracy area where Tri-Valley agents often find their best prospects for Pleasanton homes that are for sale. That's true, also, for commuters who are tired of the long travel times between their homes and their workplaces on the Peninsula or here and want to relocate. With both the housing and credit markets improving, Realtors on both side of the Bay have new and exciting opportunities to serve these clients.

Bay East also has expanded the public services it offers, including up-to-the-minute listings on its "Property Search" menu that can plug prospective buyers into most areas and cities as well as another document that lists all member Realtors. Anyone with a real estate license can handle transactions anywhere in California, but only Realtors - with a capital "R" - who have passed rigorous exams by an official organization, such as the California Association of Realtors, can join Bay East. That entitles them to the organization's continuing education programs and regular updates of real estate law, which in this state is complicated and frequently changes. Adding multiple listings in 21 counties now gives local Realtors an edge in a rapidly improving market.

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