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Choosing a CMA

June 03 2013

If you've ever felt lost when researching real estate programs or apps--good news. We're publishing a series of "Buyer's Guides" that feature important questions to ask and options to consider before making a new purchase. These are mini versions of our 2013 Technology Guide, each focused on a specific category of product. Today, we're kicking things off with a guide to CMAs. Read on to learn more.

home chartWhat is a CMA?

CMA stands for Competitive Market Analysis. Traditionally, these reports for seller clients provide recent comparable sales and allow agents to craft their own recommendation for listing price. However, as a product category, it is quickly expanding to include a variety of other reports for both buyers and sellers, often automated to require minimal input from the agent.

Questions to Ask

There are some important questions to ask when buying any real estate technology product and some that are unique to choosing a CMA.

First, let's look at general questions you'll want to ask.

  • What are my objectives for this piece of technology and will this product help me achieve those objectives?
  • What is my budget?
  • Does my broker, MLS, or Association have any agreements with any vendors that might help me obtain this product at a discount or for free?
  • Does this product work with my current computer operating system?
  • What kind of customer service and training programs are available? Are there webinars and, if so, are they recorded so you can view them at any time? Is the vendor's online help sufficient?
  • Is this technology Web-based? If it is, how much functionality will be available when the tool is being used offline.

After you've asked and answered these questions, you can get down to the CMA-specific questions:

  • Does this product have data access in your market? If not, can you download comps from the MLS and easily upload them to the CMA tool?
  • How much flexibility/functionality is built-in for branding?
  • Is there a WYSIWYG editor that will allow you to add text about your services as a listing agent?
  • Can you embed images, photos, videos, or other media to make the CMA more attractive when viewed in a Web browser? Which leads us to our next question. . .
  • Can the CMA be viewed in a Web browser? If so, is it mobile-friendly? Ask the vendor whether it just appears as a .pdf on mobile or whether it is actually interactive.
  • Can you plug-in an AVM to the CMA product? If you're unfamiliar with the term, AVM stands for Automated Valuation Model. To understand AVMs and CMAs better, you may want to read this article: Choosing a Valuation Tool: CMA vs. AVM
  • Can you access public records data and pull it into the CMA?

Your Options

For more information on these options, download this educational packeteducational packet from our 2013 Technology Guide.

  • Cloud CMA: With this mobile-friendly, Web-based tool, real estate professionals can create attractive reports for buyers and sellers including – CMA, Buyer Tour, Property Report, and Flyers.
  • realtor.com – Featured CMA®: From the real estate experts at realtor.com, Featured CMA® assists both online and offline marketing efforts.
  • RealtyTools – ToolkitCMA: This cloud-based tool offers a variety of branded reports for buyers and sellers, helping agents set themselves apart as the local experts.
  • Listingbook: A powerful online toolset that includes features such as a CRM, drip marketing, property promotion, and reports (such as CMAs).

Next Steps