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A new tool to help you sell your house

Someone may be trying to make an offer on your home right now -- and you may never find out. That’s because when your home is listed on the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, all communications must go through one person: your listing agent. That’s as it should be -- it protects the seller from unsolicited contact and ensures the agent receives appropriate compensation for marketing your listing.

But if there’s a miscommunication -- say, a co-agent with a buyer can’t get through to your agent, or the message falls through the cracks and never reaches you -- you could miss out on an offer. There’s no back-up system in place to prevent this from happening.

That’s something Nancy Emek of Syossett wants to change. Emek, a real estate agent with Charles Rutenberg Realty in Plainview, came up with an idea: a notification system that alerts home sellers and agents simultaneously when there is interest in the home. Her son Tanner Emek, a computer science major at Stony Brook University, developed the program.

“I’m an agent, and I’ve had quite a few deals that fell apart because of communication,” says Emek.

So she designed a free program called the Advanced Offer Notification System to improve transparency. Sellers can implement the system by asking their agent to enter their listing into the website and including a message in their MLS listing description, such as, “To send an automated notification to the homeowner and listing agent, enter the MLS number at www.aonsystem.com.”

The program checks the agent’s license number against the New York State database to ensure only licensed agents can access the listing information.

“If there is an offer from a different agent than the listing agent, they can go in the program and it will e-mail directly to the listing agent and the property owner, so the owner knows there was interest,” she explains.

Other agents aren’t allowed to contact you directly, so the program leaves an electronic calling card of sorts: It includes the agent’s contact information and one of two pre-typed messages stating that someone would like to see the property or make an offer. A text-messaging version of the service is in the works, Emek says.

Emek says she would like to see her program linked to the Multiple Listing Service, so she has written to the Long Island office as well as the National Association of Realtors.

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