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Town proposes real estate web module

Could Farragut’s new website fill a need among commercial realtors?

That was the question associate Town administrator Gary Palmer asked Economic Development Committee members at the group’s July meeting..

“We spent about a year of very hard work putting this together,” Palmer said of the website, which launched July 1.

More modules and features will be rolling out in the coming year, he added, including one option of including a “Real Estate Locator” that could list available commercial properties within Town limits.

The listings would be posted and maintained by realtors, Palmer said, and those agents also would pay the listing fees that the Town’s website host, CivicPlus, requires. But, there is one exception to that — CivicPlus waives the fee for the first 25 sites listed.

“They recommended that we do that simply on a first come, first served basis,” Palmer said.

The Real Estate Locator isn’t up and running yet; the Town is still discussing the ramifications and requirements of including it on the website.

But R. Knick Myers, a developer and realtor, said a place to comprehensively list commercial sites was sorely needed. Residential real estate agents can use MLS, which is very comprehensive, Myers said. But commercial realtors don’t have such a system.

“Commercial is different. There’s definitely a hole. You can go to Craigslist right now and put in ‘Farragut commercial’ and look at how many agents are utilizing Craigslist to get it out there because there’s not a pool,” he said.

“When someone calls our office and says they want 2,000 square feet on Kingston Pike ... we literally get into the car and go around and write it all down,” he added.

Newly elected chair Ginny McLain-Tate said, “That sounds like a real need.”

Myers agreed, but cautioned Palmer that the module would need to be well maintained and constantly updated to be useful.

“If they go to it and see there’s only 10 properties on it and they’re standing there right in front of [a building] and it’s not on the list, then they’re going to say, ‘This is bad information and I’m not going to use this because it’s not inclusive,’” Myers said.

Palmer said that was one the biggest issues he was contemplating.

“I like the aspect of us being able to do this, but I don’t like the burden that it’s going to put on us to maintain private property,” Palmer said.

“The Town does not want to become a compliance officer for the state,” Myers agreed.

He mentioned websites that only keep commercial listings for 28 days, which ultimately requires that realtors update their listings monthly.

“Let’s not just limit it to the top 25 people that hear about it first and get on there and lock it up until the end of time,” he cautioned.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” he added.

The EDC recommended its business recruitment and retention subcommittee further study the issue with Town staff.

“At the end of the day, if we don’t get landlords and the agents that represent those people to use this, nobody is going to go to it,” Myers said.


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