Multiple list service now on the Web PC owners can shop for a new home from their current one; Site is www.marit.com; Agents and lenders among others expected to benefit

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Baltimore-area multiple listing service says its new World Wide Web site will do more than just make information on thousands of for-sale homes available to personal computer users.

Officials of Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Information Technologies Inc. (MARIT) say their site will also provide electronic gateways to real estate agents, mortgage lenders, title companies, new-home builders and a host of other services in the Baltimore region.

And MARIT is working with property management companies "that carry large volumes of rental units," said Warren Tunkel, MARIT's executive vice president. MARIT is also working to get listings of government-fore- closed properties on the site, he said.

The site's address is www.marit.com, and it is the latest in an explosion of real estate content on the Web -- the graphics-laden area of the global computer network called the Internet.

Information about homes for sale can be found on any number of World Wide Web sites already.

The National Association of Realtors has listings from a variety of multiple-listing databases across the country on its web site -- including MARIT's -- and many large brokers have their own home pages.

Some of the sites have links to mortgage companies and other services affiliated with particular brokers. The MARIT plan is to have a variety of companies in each category renting space on its Web site. So, for example, rather than just having one dTC mortgage lender to click to, there would -- if MARIT is successful -- be dozens.

The centerpiece of the site is a "search engine" that allows users to look for homes that fit a detailed, user-specified profile. A user can look for homes in a particular ZIP code or neighborhood at a specific price, with a certain number of bedrooms, acreage and other attributes. Many of the listings have color photos of the homes.

The site not only shows the name and telephone number of the listing agent, but is also designed to allow buyers to contact the agents through electronic mail. Precise street addresses are not included.

"We've really simplified the whole search process," said Wesley Shaffer, MARIT's vice president, marketing.

MARIT was created by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors in 1966 as the Central Maryland Multiple Listing Service.

The Web site is part of a larger MARIT strategy to survive the eventual arrival in the Baltimore market of the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS). This will eventually be a multiple listing service that will cover the entire Baltimore-Washington market. Larger regional brokers have pushed for MRIS so they wouldn't have to deal with a patchwork of local multiple lists.

Pub Date: 5/26/96

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