OH YOU MEAN THAT HOUSE…

If you’ve ever been interested in the price of a house that wasn’t for sale, head over to Reply.com , a new real estate service that lets you click on just about any address to find out what it might cost.

This is a brand-new site and has lots of holes, but we’re guessing it’s the beginning of a service that can eventually be the Amazon.com of real estate. The initial attraction is for buyers who might want to make an unsolicited offer. Real estate brokers know that many houses that aren’t listed for sale are in fact for sale if someone comes along with a good offer.  Reply.com

For $25 per unsolicited offer, Reply will mail it off with a packet of info to the homeowner. The homeowner either goes online or calls a toll-free number to find out the details of the offer. You could also just send them a note on your own.

The site provides maps, aerial views and lots of other information. You type in an address and up pops the property, its neighborhood and a probable price. You get the square footage of the lot and house, the last sale price, plus background on the demographics and how long the average resident has lived there. You get crime statistics, typical household income and school spending per pupil. (You can often get this kind of information from a community’s official Web site.)

There’s a lot of information here, and while it looks like the beginning of something big, it is very much a work in progress. Almost every other address we typed in gave information that the area had 50 percent vacant houses, but we knew there were close to no vacancies. The site has a lot of bugs and many missing addresses. Still, it’s an interesting business idea, and a way to find out what your house, or your friend’s, is worth.

You can post anonymous comments about houses, but you have to fill out a form rating the floor plan, interior condition, etc. This is more than a little annoying if you know some useful information abut an address, as we did, but never saw the inside of the house. The restriction of having to fill out every check box in the comments section makes it almost useless. We put our comments in anyway, but gave fake ratings to satisfy all the boxes to be checked. You could also comment on the neighbors you know, and that should be interesting as all get out, especially when the lawsuits for defmation of character start up.

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