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Know the Neighborhood Before You Buy

Tune in to an Open House on the Radio

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Tune In to an Open House on Radio

The next time you're surfing radio stations in your car, you might be shocked to find a "talking home listing." Eager agents will do anything to get an edge. Yes, in the age of web surfing via the cellular phone and other electronic wonders, it had to happen. Some real estate agents have now installed short-range, AM radio transmitters into homes that broadcast a sales pitch right into your car radio.

Sure, it's not exactly easy listening, but to the intrepid homebuyer cruising around the neighborhood, it's a rather amusing twist on the familiar for-sale sign. Al Galperin is a real estate broker who has installed AM radio transmitters in 20 or more homes in the Denver metropolitan area. They transmit on their own special frequency, sending out a detailed description of the home for a one-block radius or about 300 feet. A sign on the lawn or the corner invites you to tune in. Soon Al is taking you on an audio tour of your dream home.

Home sellers say why not? If it attracts more buyers or somehow distinguishes their homes from others on the market, then crank up the radio. This gizmo is a gimmick that gets included in the sales commission. The transmitters cost about $300 apiece as part of the broker's markup. Of course, Al's smooth tones notwithstanding, nothing qualifies a broker to be a deejay, and what you hear is what you get. To audiophiles, this might be the ultimate nightmare, closer to noise pollution in the hands of an amateur. But it's safe to say that brokers aren't exactly polluting the airwaves. These messages only reach the ears they're intended for, on a short-range frequency.

Not every broker is convinced of the idea, either, so the "talking listing" isn't yet a nationwide trend, especially in today's hot real estate market. If selling a home is easy these days, then why bother with gimmicks and gizmos, they say. But some home sellers really like the idea. It takes the Sunday TV home tour one step further. Bicyclists and joggers with headphones, or motorists passing by can tune in to a customized home tour and later visit the open house at their own leisure.

Sources used to create this article include the Denver Post and writer Michael Booth.