Internet Technologies Aid Home Auctions

Internet Technologies Aid Home Auctions

The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs have auctioned 110,000 foreclosed homes in the last year using Internet and telecommunications technologies, according to Tower Communications, the company that built the system.

The transaction volume represented $7 billion of real estate sale value and approximately 2 percent of the 6 million homes sold in the United States last year.

The Los Angeles company creates and operates digital technologies to optimize communications and transactions among federal, state and local housing officials, as well as among governments and businesses and constituents.

Its system eliminates the traditional labor-, paper- and cost-intensive process by which officials previously advertised properties and opened and sorted bids.

"This milestone marks a shift in how governments are using technology to streamline entire public functions," said Keith Bass, Tower's president and chief executive officer. "The next generation of e-government is about more than simply placing a Web front on existing services. Governments can exploit digital technologies to be more effective, more accessible, more accountable and more responsive."

Tower's system allows 80,000 real estate brokers to place bids 24 hours a day via the Internet, an automated interactive voice response phone system and a live customer service center.

"A multichannel approach simply is good business," said Tower Vice President Joy Chen. "Through technology, governments have the opportunity to become as customer-service oriented and as efficient as the best private companies."

In 2001, the company plans develop new systems to help state and local governments provide financing and other assistance to first-time home buyers, a segment which industry experts estimate at 42 percent of all home buyers.

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