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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 backup system in place to prevent this from happening.

That's something Nancy Emek 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.

Sellers can implement the free Advanced Offer Notification 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"

"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.-- KRISTIN TAVEIRA


Fewer New Yorkers were late on their mortgages in the last three months of 2010, the Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported.

The delinquency rate, which does not cover loans in the foreclosure process, was almost 8.7 percent, down from 9 percent in the third quarter of last year and from 9.5 percent in the same period a year earlier, data show.

But it was a different story for loans already in the foreclosure process, which usually starts once the borrowers are 90 days late.

In New York, 5.2 percent of mortgages were in the foreclosure process during the fourth quarter, up from 4.7 percent in the preceding quarter and 4.2 percent a year earlier, according to association figures. -- ELLEN YAN

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