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First real-estate app launches in California

The California Association of Realtors has launched the My C.A.R. application, the first native app to be used by a United States realtor association.

The California Association of Realtors application is free to download for every member with an iPhone or iPod touch. The application provides necessary real-estate information such as market data on 21 regions in California and up-to-date loan information.

"Today's home-buying generation was raised with the smartphone as their communication device of choice and realtors spend their time in the field rather than in the office," said James Liptak, president at the California Association of Realtors, Beverly Hills, CA.

"In a business where access to information from multiple sources is critical, realtors need access to information beyond what the telephone can provide," he said. "The mobile channel is critical to the process."

Along with market data and loan information, the My C.A.R. app gives users the ability to search for license renewal and continuing education courses, highlights from C.A.R's "Market Matters" newsletter, association resources, hot item news alerts and links to information that may be of interest to C.A.R. directors.

The California Association of Realtors claims that the creation of this application was prompted by the industry's fundamental need for information in the field.

The My C.A.R. application can be found in the Apple App Store.

The association has also come out with a version of the application for BlackBerry and other Web-enabled devices.

Members of the California Association of Realtors can get a members-only access code by visiting http://www.car.org/tools/mycar.

When the user enters in their individual access code into the "realtor ID" field on the application's user profile page, the application automatically provides additional functionality.

"The strategy behind this application launch is to give realtors instant access to the information they are always asked for by their consumers," said Beth L. Peerce, president-elect of the California Association of Realtors.

"Our guiding principle is to give answers to the question of what information realtors will most regularly be asked if they're away from their workplace," she said.

The updates for the application will be distributed via iTunes for those with an iPhone or iPod touch and automatic notifications will be sent to the user when the updates are ready.

The California Association of Realtors claims that My C.A.R. will make a difference in the industry because it provides realtors with a new platform that will give their customers added value, which will eventually lead to a transaction.

The interface for the application is scalable and data-driven. The California Association of Realtors hopes to license the application to other realty associations to be branded and used elsewhere.

"There are big things in store for this application," Ms. Peerce said. "It can be licensed for a free to any realtor association and customized for their local market so that they can provide it to their members for free.

"We're even developing a framework so that large firms can use the application and put their logo on it," she said.