Driving past some houses in North Augusta and Aiken, motorists tuned to the right AM frequency can hear a detailed report on the home for sale.
Old South Realty LLC in North Augusta is trying out new technology in real estate, the "talking house."
"It was such a great tool that he had two sales within the first 30 days," said Bert Ellis, Old South Realty's owner. "One of them was within three days."
"Talking house" is a digital radio that allows a potential home buyer to "tune in" to a home. The potential buyer pulls up to a "talking house" for sale sign, tunes in to a designated AM frequency and listens to a detailed report on the house -- without having to leave a vehicle.
The signs are paired with a radio transmitter the size of a VCR, which is placed inside the house. The transmitter can broadcast a five-minute, personalized message up to 300 feet.
The transmitters, made in Illinois, are approved by the Federal Communications Commission and use frequencies between 530 and 1700 AM.
In the Augusta-Aiken area, Mr. Ellis said, the average home stays on the market for 103 days. The technology can "sell a house more quickly and save time and money," he added.
His company has 30 devices in the area. Few people have tried them locally, but Mr. Ellis said his company "tries to think outside the box."
The technology has caught on across the United States, but many people aren't willing to spend the money, he said. They cost $350 per unit.
His company provides several devices, and individual realty agents have also bought them.
Shari Alexander, a marketing specialist at Old South Realty, was so impressed with the "talking house" technology that she purchased 10 for her own business use.
"I had been watching what other agents do, and I'm always looking to see how I can distinguish myself," Ms. Alexander said.
"I'm enjoying the success. I had a listing for one day that sold because of the talking house."
She also rents the boxes for $2 a day to people trying to sell their own home.
Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RANGE: 300 feet
FREQUENCY CHOICES: 530 to 1700 AM
MESSAGE LENGTH: Up to 5 minutes
MESSAGE STORAGE: Nonvolatile computer chips
DIMENSIONS: 8 inches by 14 inches by 2.5 inches
WEIGHT: 4 pounds
TALKING HOUSE TRANSMITTER
Range: 300 feet
Frequency choices: 530 to 1700 AM
Message length: Up to 5 minutes
Message storage: Non-volatile computer chips
Dimensions: 8 inches by 14 inches by 2.5 inches
Weight: 4 pounds