Search

Buyers Can Get The Latest Word on Listing From `Talking House'

scwis's picture

Buyers Can Get The Latest Word On Listing From `Talking House' -- Transmitters In The Home Let Listeners Tune In For Details;
Suzanne Monson
Seattle Times. Seattle, Wash.: Mar 10, 1991. pg. G.1

Abstract (Document Summary)
When a nearby Ballard house started talking to Bob Evans, he didn't call Ghost Busters. He called a real-estate agent to find out how to buy it.

Far from haunted, the house was equipped with a low-power radio transmitter - one of the real-estate industry's newest marketing techniques.

With a ``talking house'' system, a prospective buyer can drive up, tune the car radio to the AM or FM spot indicated on the sign and listen to a 90-second message describing the property.

Full Text (529 words)
Copyright Seattle Times Mar 10, 1991
When a nearby Ballard house started talking to Bob Evans, he didn't call Ghost Busters. He called a real-estate agent to find out how to buy it.

Far from haunted, the house was equipped with a low-power radio transmitter - one of the real-estate industry's newest marketing techniques.

With a ``talking house'' system, a prospective buyer can drive up, tune the car radio to the AM or FM spot indicated on the sign and listen to a 90-second message describing the property.

``It's great just to get the basic elements,'' Evans said. ``After that, if you like it, you can pursue it with more calls.''

Windermere Real Estate agent Dorothy Ellis agrees.

``I would say only serious buyers call me and that's a better use of my time,'' said Ellis, who has two transmitters.

Nearly 43 percent of home buyers cruise around their preferred neighborhoods to spot ``for sale'' signs, says the National Association of Home Builders.

With that in mind, agents use the systems on homes that have features that set them apart from other houses on the market in the neighborhood, such as remodeled rooms or spacious yards.

``I highly recommend the system,'' said Valerie Schwarzwalder, a home seller in Richmond Beach. ``We constantly had people pulling up to the side of our road and into our driveway to listen.

``We think there was so much more possibility of people looking at the house . . . they heard that we sat on a third of an acre and had a lot more rooms in our house than it appears from the street.''

John C.W. Shoop of Everett began marketing the ``Talking House Concept'' machines last fall between Olympia and Blaine. He said they were first used on the East Coast and in California.

He's sold nearly 200 AM transmitters, which retail for $225 to $800. Shoop's equipment uses audiotape, and the units are about the size of a telephone answering machine.

Other systems, like ``Digi-Talkers'' by Audio-One in Seattle, are about the same size, but use the FM radio band and record messages on computer chips.

Maurice Brooks, an agent with Green Stone Properties Inc. in Seattle, distributes the Digi-Talker.

He said it is being used by realtors in Seattle and Bellevue. And while he couldn't cite a house sale directly tied to the use of a recording, he said, ``We've had substantially more calls.''

Properly operated, the transmitters aren't strong enough to interfere with commercial radio stations or the neighbors' TV reception.

No license is needed to operate a talking-house system.

As for the amount of information on the tape, that's up to the real estate agent. Some tell all; others hold back details like price to encourage follow-up phone calls.

``It used to be the most an agent could do for a seller was put a house in the multiple listings, list it in the newspaper, put up a yard sign and hold an open house,'' Shoop said. ``This adds a whole new dimension.''

Posted as Good Faith Fair Use: Transformative, educational, nonprofit use of articles, stories, or essays less than 2,500 words, factual in nature, not for use as entertainment or reward, the use is instructional, the place is non-profit multimedia and the use will not negatively affect the value of the copyrighted material.