Chief among all requests James Mabey receives from clients is finding a home near a reputable school.
As of last week, Realtor.ca started offering users information on school catchment areas, beginning the roll out in major centres before it services the entire country next month.
“This is the number one request for enhancements we’ve had for Realtor.ca,” said the broker-owner of Century 21 Masters in Edmonton. “It’s important for realtors to bring this information to the marketplace because people don’t just pick a house. Being in the right catchment areas for schools that people would want their children to go to is quite a high priority. We’re really happy we were able to respond to consumers’ desire for this feature.”
Homebuyers typically research schools by their boards and then provide sales agents with MLS numbers and addresses, hoping they line up with the right catchments.
“There was no single source of information for this kind of thing,” said Mabey. “Providing that, and integrating it with the actual listing data, is what they actually need and want on a house-by-house basis. As a realtor, you’re researching that for them, which is, of course, part of the job, but this makes it so much more integrated and seamless with their natural way of searching the MLS that I think they’re going to love the ability to see it on the listing data.”
According to Marc Lafrance, director of product management and member services at the Canadian Real Estate Association, which owns Realtor.ca, consumers have long pined for school catchment information.
“This is something consumers have been asking for the longest time and we can finally roll it out, and hopefully it draws more leads to realtors because that’s what Realtor.ca is all about,” he said. “I know that the realtors I’ve spoken to so far think it’s a great thing because it helps them with daily interactions with customers.”
The Canadian Real Estate Association recently launched a neighbourhood feature on Realtor.ca that lets consumers search lifestyle amenities to paint a fuller picture of what living in a home entails. According to Lafrance, it has proven to be reliable lead generation tool for sales agents, and he expects the school catchment feature to go even further.
“Ever since we introduced the neighbourhood information, leads to realtors have gone up, and now with the catchment areas it’s interesting to see the number of leads that are going to our realtors,” said Lafrance.
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