Montreal real estate board upgrades listing service

The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board is making it easy for some 600 commercial agents to evaluate the profitability of a building, get financial forecasts and determine the selling price of a property.

Using software from Magex Technologies called Zoom-Imm Web, the third-largest real estate board in Canada is providing data to buyers who want to know more about an investment or sellers who need hard data on the value of a property. Magex has integrated Zoom-Imm Web into the board’s SIA/MLS system – its commercial real estate database. While only commercial agents have access to Zoom-Imm Web, eventually residential agents will as well, for a total of 9,000 agents.

“It gives them the possibility to analyze one (property) versus another one, which they didn’t have before,” said Michel Beausejour, CEO of the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board. “It’s going to help them do their work better.” Agents can use tools they already have, such as handheld computers, to access data in near real time at a client site.

Magex rolled out the software to the eastern townships five months ago and has since expanded to Greater Montreal, which started using the software at the end of January. Magex has plans to expand across Canada and the U.S., but for now its focus is on the Quebec market.

“An agent can import all the information from the board to the Zoom-Imm Web so he doesn’t have to enter all the information again,” said Mary Eve Briere, executive care associate with Magex Technologies in Sherbrooke, Que.

This type of analytical technology is already being used by bankers and is now taking off with real estate investors who don’t want to make calculation mistakes.

Agents click on the Zoom-Imm icon of a rental property, which gives them access to a file containing profitability analysis, sales price evaluation, financial forecasts and photographs. It calculates and provides performance ratios of a property, allowing agents to better evaluate its profitability.

It takes less time to produce profitability analyses of rental properties, according to Magex, and there’s less risk of error due to miscalculations and transcription errors. It also gives the agent a more professional image.

“It’s fast for the agent and he can get reports that are reliable, professional and really neat,” said Briere. “If you have a buyer that wants to buy a property, the agent can import all the information into Zoom-Imm Web and he can see from sales price evaluations what should be the price to pay and see profitability, ratios, if the building is good or not.”

Aside from showing buyers the profitability of a commercial property, the software can also compare different properties to showcase their assets, offer different scenarios for mortgage payments and forecast calculations on the rate of return of a building when selling it.

Verification is also provided at the end of the data-gathering process to let agents know if the information should be verified or if data is missing.

The software is pay-as-you-go on a monthly basis, costing $40 a month. Subscribers can cancel the service at any time, but they still have access to the software (except for the ratios and sales price evaluations).

Briere said it’s always a challenge to get a new board online. “They don’t have all the same databases, so we have to deal with that,” she said. “We have to verify some information as well – some information that is not quite the same from one board to another.”

The next step for the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board is to bring residential agents online, according to Beausejour.

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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