Feb 032013
Looking for a real estate agent who loves dogs? You’ll find 314 results for “dog lover” on Corcoran’s redesigned Web site.

Want to know how locals rate the suburb you’re considering moving to? What if during Sunday brunch you get the sudden urge to go apartment hunting?

Warburgrealty.com now offers an app that offers up nearby listings based on your current location.

Recognizing that it’s no longer enough just to present real estate listings based on price, location and the number of bedrooms, many New York brokerage firms are redesigning their Web sites as glossy one-stop shops with new tools to help guide buyers and sellers through the deal.

Uncluttered pages with eye-catching full-screen photos that translate well to iPads and other mobile devices are now de rigueur. And on many sites, video walk-throughs of apartments are on the way out. They have made way for tours of neighborhoods and advice pieces on everything from timing the sale of a home to deciding whether it’s better to buy or rent.

Sites are also providing more comprehensive searches that make it easier for buyers to sort through new offerings and connect with agents through social media.

The idea is to give potential clients a reason to cleave to a particular site rather than shop the competition. After all, with apartment data made ubiquitous by sites like Trulia, ZillowNYTimes.com and more, brokerage firms can no longer rely on listings alone. And while agents are still featured prominently on most sites, they have generally been recast as neighborhood specialists as opposed to the listing gatekeepers they once were.

Online consultants say that what is happening to online brokerage firms is not unlike what happened to brick-and-mortar travel agencies.

“Once all flights were made available on Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak, what’s the travel agent’s unique value proposition?” said Marc Davison, a founder of 1000Watt Design, a creative digital agency for real estate in Portland, Ore., that worked with Houlihan Lawrence on its recent redesign. “Real estate brokers are grappling with that same problem. What compels you to come to my site, what else can I offer?”

Corcoran.com is betting that less is more. In November it unveiled a new site with streamlined searches designed to uncover a smaller but more relevant number of listings based on what the consumer is looking for.

Visitors to the site still select a neighborhood, a price range and a number of bedrooms and baths. But there is less of the clicking back and forth and redoing of searches that the site previously required. It now offers all results on one page and has turned its agent search into something of a matchmaking service, allowing customers to look up agents not just by the properties they represent, but by the languages they speak, hobbies or other interests. Signing in with Facebook or LinkedIn will turn up a list of agents who may be known to your friends or contacts.

Read more . . .

via The New York Times – 


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