@properties’ Groundbreaking @gent App is Helping Firm’s Brokers Sell Homes Even Before they Hit the Market

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@gent mobile application is an efficient marketplace for @properties brokers to sell Chicago real estate and share information and advice.

@gent App

The @gent App.

We consider ourselves a pretty innovative company, but this might be our biggest innovation yet. Each day our brokers are finding new uses for the app and having new successes. It’s taking on a life of its own.

Last month Chris McComas, a residential broker with Chicago real estate firm @properties, posted a listing for a loft condominium in the city’s West Loop. Within minutes, McComas had requests for showings, and less than 24 hours later, the condo was under contract with multiple offers. The property never hit the local Multiple Listing Service, nor did McComas even need to send out an e-mail. Instead, the listing was posted in a new internal app known as @gent.

@gent was developed exclusively for @properties by Yapmo, a Chicago-based tech startup co-founded by Paul Everton and Jason Pritzker. It is only available to @properties’ brokers (i.e. there is no public access).

The technology is revolutionizing the way @properties communicates about and transacts real estate by enabling a number of functions:

  • It allows @properties’ brokers to match homebuyers with homes for sale and vice versa
  • It aggregates the knowledge base of the firm’s 1,100 brokers in a searchable database
  • It significantly reduces the amount of e-mail clogging corporate servers and broker in-boxes

“We consider ourselves a pretty innovative company, but this might be our biggest innovation yet,” said Thaddeus Wong, who co-founded @properties in 2000 with fellow broker Michael Golden. “Each day our brokers are finding new uses for the app and having new successes. It’s taking on a life of its own.”

@gent functions similarly to Twitter. Brokers post, reply to, and search for content, and specify topics of interest by using hash tags. They are alerted to new posts only when the content in that post matches a topic or person they are following. This functionality solves one of the biggest problems @properties – and a lot of other companies – have been grappling with, an overwhelming amount of e-mail.

According to Michael Golden, the @gent app has reduced @properties’ e-mail load by 30 percent.

“It used to be that a broker had to sift through a hundred e-mails to find the two or three that mattered to them. People just stopped reading e-mail, so there was always the potential for a communication breakdown,” said Golden. “Now, our brokers tell the app what information they want to receive, and the app delivers only that information. When they want info on another topic, they can search the app and find all past conversations on that topic.”

Conversations in the app revolve around pocket listings (homes that are for sale but are not listed in the Multiple Listing Service); vendor recommendations; advice, such as how to deal with a bank on a short sale; and client referral opportunities. If someone wants to sell a car or find tickets to a Blackhawks game, they can do that too. @gent works on all major mobile devices, tablets and desktops.

“Our 1,100 agents form a powerful ‘market within a market.’ The app makes that market incredibly efficient,” said Wong. “It has generated about a dozen off-market transactions since the launch. It’s a game changer for our brokers and a huge benefit to their clients,” Wong said.

About @properties
Established in 2000, @properties is the No. 1 Chicago real estate broker by market share and the third largest brokerage firm in Northern Illinois. @properties is also the Chicago area’s leading firm for the sales and marketing of new-construction and condominium conversion developments. @properties has offices in River North, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Lakeview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park, Lake Forest and New Buffalo, Mich. For more information, visit http://www.atproperties.com.

About Yapmo
Yapmo is a mobile software company based in Chicago, Ill. Yapmo’s mobile workflow tools are designed for the enterprise to help employees work more efficiently and communicate smarter by allowing them to draw upon the collective knowledge of the entire organization, anytime, anywhere. Yapmo’s social workflow tools boost productivity, increase sales and accelerate ideation. For more information, visit http://www.yapmo.com.

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Peter Olesker
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