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West Bloomfield

November 14, 2012

WB man uses radio waves to give homes a voice

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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West Bloomfield Realtor Paul Schwartz stands beside a Talking House sign. Talking House is a short-range radio system that Schwartz uses to inform people about a home’s details.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — If your house could talk, Paul Schwartz might have an idea of what it would say.

Schwartz, a West Bloomfield Realtor, is not a radio star known by millions. But he says his voice has helped him sell homes at any hour of the day or night, thanks to a radio device called Talking House that lets him broadcast home listings and information across short distances.

“It made a lot of sense back when I started doing it,” he said. “By giving properties greater exposure, I increase the likelihood of selling the house.”

Schwartz said he learned about the Talking House equipment around 15 or 20 years ago, though he estimates that few Realtors use the same type of technology in this region.

According to Schwartz, the Talking House setup is simple. Using a built-in microphone on the device, he is able to record short messages that describe a house’s details. A small transmitter and indoor antenna air Schwartz’s recorded messages, and Talking House signs alert outdoor drivers to tune in to the correct radio station, such as 1610 AM or 1620 AM.

And unlike a human Realtor, customers may listen to the radio messages 24 hours a day.

“If you’ve ever gone by a home that has a little box, it’s a brochure box,” he said. “The brochure boxes are virtually always empty. This is a way to get around that.”

Although the Federal Communications Commission regulates the radio waves, the Talking House technology is legal as a low-power unlicensed broadcast application, according to Daniel Braverman, president of the New Jersey-based company Radio Systems. According to the company, it acquired the Talking House technology around two years ago.

Braverman said Talking House is one of the few completely legal unlicensed applications in the commercial AM broadcast band because its power is limited to one-tenth of a watt. “And that generally limits it to 500 feet of broadcast coverage, which is plenty to cover the front yard of a house for sale,” he said.

Braverman called Talking House popular and successful, despite competition from other ways to convey housing information, such as 1-800 numbers, texting or smart phone applications. He added that the radio brings a coolness factor that outshines a text message.

“It remains very popular,” he said. “While not everybody has a smart phone with them when you’re running around looking for houses, everyone has AM radio in the car.”

Learn more about Radio Systems and Talking House at www.talking house.com. Find out more about Paul Schwartz at www.paul4realtor.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.