There are numerous ways to search for properties on the internet today. It’s almost overwhelming! Sites like realtor.com, zillow.com, trulia.com, as well as the numerous agent websites, are a dime a dozen. Most buyers and sellers I speak with tell me they perform searches on 3-4 different sites on average. Going to that many sites can only cause confusion. In today’s blog post, I’m going to talk about my own site (http://www.atlantaSKYrise.com – what a surprise) and how you can use it to keep track of what’s going on in the market without a lot of difficulty.
My site is updated throughout each and every day with the newest properties to hit the market, so it will show every single property available in Atlanta and the surrounding areas – provided they are listed in the MLS. For newer condo buildings, please contact me to find out what is available. Sometimes the developer will only put a handful of listings in the MLS, while there are still a good number available to purchase.
Highlight updates include: You can now enter in an actual street address when performing a search, making it super easy to locate the property you are trying to locate. You can receive results for properties that are currently in pending, back-up or contingent status. Infinite scrolling of properties without reloading!
To follow along, simple click on “Property Search” in my dark grey menu bar (next to Home).
Search Criteria Input
Instead of overwhelming visitors with a sea of textboxes, checkboxes, and city selection dropdowns, I choose to keep things simple yet powerful. By default, my site presents visitors with a number of different “sliders” that you can drag and drop with your mouse to narrow down the search. Visitors are also given the option to instead use textboxes to input their search information if you so choose.
My MLS provider implemented a location search box that will instantly show the matching cities, communities, tracts, neighborhoods, counties, and zip codes as soon as you begins to type. You can even type in specific street addresses or MLS numbers, all using a simple single location box. You can continue typing while looking at the suggestions, or you can use their mouse or keyboard to select one of the locations in the auto-complete box. This approach allows visitors to find properties in certain areas or specific listings very quickly.
Search Within Map Area
It’s often more convenient to search for properties within a map area instead of searching within the confines of a certain city, neighborhood, or other location. On my site, as soon as visitors zoom in the map to any location, the search will automatically filter for listings only in area shown on the map. This feature is especially helpful with larger cities, cities with differing tax rates, or when visitors want to search for properties close to a certain school or employer.
Utilizing advanced mathematics and the standard property data that every MLS provides us with, we are able to calculate the centers and general bounds of each city. Using this data, dsSearchAgent intelligently places a certain number of city markers on the map at the center of each city. When the visitor hovers over one of these markers (shown in green or red), the city name will appear along with the total number of listings for that city, the median home price, and the mean home price. Upon clicking on one of the markers, the visitor’s map is instantly changed to focus on that city and dsSearchAgent adds the city to their search criteria.
In an effort to curb the clutter that practically defines every other MLS search solution, mine allows you to completely customize the search panel with whatever criteria options you feel is most important. Any of the search criteria boxes can be added, completely removed, or simply stored under the “Add Additional Criteria” area by default. This fine-grained control over the search interface is just one of the many unique features that catapults my MLS search ahead of all of the other IDX solutions out there. Even though my site is geared specifically towards condos, you do have the option of selecting Single Family Residential, Rentals for Single Family and Condos, Multi-Family, Land and Lot. I do a huge business in the single-family residential market as well, so contact me if you need a knowledgeable agent!
As soon as you click “View Results” or even just zoom the map into a specific area, the properties will be placed on the map for you to either hover over for a quick preview or to click on to take you to the full details page. The color and style of each property’s marker indicates whether you have clicked on it visited before (dark green), whether the agent or office is featuring the listing (gold), whether you have added the listing to your favorites (a star), or whether it is the last selected property (purple). Listings that have multiple results at the same point on the map (condos in a high-rise, properties that are listed as both leases and for-sale, etc) are given a special marker that you can hover over to view all properties at that location. A full legend and help system is available to describe how the map works and what the different markers mean.
Below my penthouse listing at The Peachtree Residences #1904 is shown with a star (for Featured Listing).
After you specify the criteria you are looking for in a home and click the “Search” button, you are instantly taken to the results of your search on the results tab. The results are cleanly laid out with each listing displaying a thumbnail photo and the property’s primary information. My provider’s exclusive “infinite results” technology allows you to scroll through hundreds of listings without any loading time, using the on-screen scroll bar or arrow buttons, your scrolling mouse, or even your keyboard keys.
Once a search has been performed and the results displayed, you can quickly change the ordering of your results. By changing the “Sort by” drop down box, you can reorder the properties so that those with the largest lots are first, the newest properties come first, the most recently updated properties come first, or any number of additional sort options. Sorting, similar to everything else, is performed in real-time and is completed instantly. Try selecting “Largest Price Drop” if you are trying to see who has had the largest price adjustment within your search criteria.
On every search that you makes, you are given the option to subscribe to daily or weekly email updates for that search. Each email is richly formatted and contains extensive details about each property that matched your search. Clicking on any of the properties in the email will bring the you back to my site and your results page where you can view even more details. You can set up a search for a particular building and when new listings are added, you would be automatically emailed.
Photos look amazing. Every property page has an oversized main listing photo along with large thumbnails of any additional photos for the listing. You can click on any thumbnail to see a larger version, or you can click my “View Large Photos” button to open a full-screen photo viewer with the all available listing photos.
Property Notes, Print & Share
At the top of every listing is a “Notes” button that allows registered website visitors to enter in and save their own free-form text notes specific to that property. All of the standard property information is well organized and easily available as soon as a property is loaded. Not only can you quickly find what you are looking for, but you can also print the listing (along with a small map), view a PDF for the listing, contact me about the listing, share the property with a friend via email, and bookmark the property in your browser’s favorites. You can also view any virtual tours available for the property or add the property to your favorites. If we are working together to find you a new or second home, making notes is a handy way for me to see what your thoughts are on a particular property (whether you like it or not!).
Google Hybrid View
The mini hybrid view Google Map on every listing provides powerful mapping functionality for you. The map allows you to explore the property and the surrounding area in more detail without flipping back to the map tab or losing your search.
Google Street View
Google’s Street View technology gives you a chance to explore the neighborhood surrounding the listing without ever leaving your chair. By clicking and dragging on the initial picture, you can zoom, pan, and move the street view imagery to get a comprehensive understanding of the surrounding neighborhood on your own time.
The mortgage calculator is automatically set up for each property to calculate a mortgage payment based on a 20% down payment and a fixed mortgage rate that is easily adjustable. The calculator itself works instantly, meaning you don’t have to wait even a little bit before you find the result.
School and Community Information
With relevant community information being so important to prospective buyers, school and local information is paramount to the sale of any property. Each property listing provides a wealth of information on the local schools, shopping and dining. Visitors get everything they need to know from a single spot. Click on the icon to the right of “School Info” or “Community Info” and a new page will open up with detailed information.
A contact form is built into each property detail page. In just a few quick seconds and without leaving the page, you can put in your email address and any other information you wish and instantly let me know that you are interested in a particular property. Once the submission is complete (less than a second), you are notified that I will get back to you as soon as possible; you can then continue uninterrupted with your search. If you fill out the contact form, you MUST put your best contact number and email address so we can speak on the phone!
Be sure to contact me with any questions or simply comment below!