Local Real Estate Search Consolidates and Expands

Couple of interesting developments in local real estate search this week.

First up, local discount brokerage Findwell (a Seattle Bubble advertiser) announced today that they are partnering with Estately to provide a more user-friendly search experience. Sounds like it should be a good match for both parties. A good search tool was the one (big) thing that the Findwell site lacked in its competition with Redfin. I think they could attract more people to use it if they put it more prominently on the front page, but this definitely seems like a step in the right direction to me.

Secondly, Seattle’s all-industry real estate blog continues to evolve beyond its pure blogging roots. Yesterday founder Dustin Luther unveiled a newly polished, more commercial site design as well as their very own home search tool. Personally, their new search feels clunkly to me compared to the offerings that have been available for years from Redfin and Estately. With the real estate search market as saturated as it is (especially here in Seattle), I think Dustin’s got a pretty difficult uphill battle on this one.

So what’s your opinion of the Findwell / Estately partnership and Rain City Guide’s new look and search tool?


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

7 comments:

  1. 1
    Joel says:

    I tried to comment on RCGs new look, but their site blocked me because my work uses a proxy. I agree with others that the redesign looks slick, but very “commercial”. I immediately thought I had mistyped the url and then I thought that maybe someone else got control of the domain. Maybe they sold it or forgot to renew it, but no, its still RCG but looking more like spam blog.

  2. 2
    ray pepper says:

    I love Rain City Guide. Dustin accepted me as a contributor and printed my” Tales From The Darkside 1″. Tales from the Darkside 2 was just emailed to RCG.

    http://raincityguide.com/2009/07/09/tales-from-the-dark-side-1/

    No charts just invigorating Real Life stories of a friendly Agent and his encounters………

    For printing my stories he will receive a 500 Realty shirt and a free hot dog at The Seattle Home Show!

    http://www.seattlehomeshow.com/

  3. 3
    ray pepper says:

    I also love the pictures they choose for their homepage at Findwell. I’m not too crazy about the current green one but really liked the last green house. Is it a coincidence both green? Like Cash? Or??

    Is the more user friendly search experience really going to help Findwell? If so I will bag our IDX search engine. Its 30.00 a month but I just tell everyone to use the one they like. Seems most like Red Fin’s and John L Scott.

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 3

    The conclusion I came to years ago was the search function was best left to redfin and John L Scott. An IDX vendor can be any yahoo. It takes money to keep a search function going, probably more than $30 a month. The feild doesn’t seem to be improving judging from the search function Dustin has now on his site. He could probably attract the best there is.

    RCG also went up in my estimation when they published your article. Then they changed the format to give more people an opportunity to express themselves on the site. It reads much cleaner now and the information is clearer.

  5. 5
    ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 4

    Agreed…………..the point they went up a notch for publishing my article…lol……….Also, I can’t imagine how Estately will help Findwell in the bottomline. Findwell must do as we do and grind it out with advertising, customer service, and maybe getting a booth at the Seattle Home Show.

    I pound the table and say the bigger Red Fin gets the bigger Findwell, Handspring, ShopProp, and 500 Realty will get! They paved the way for 1000’s more coming down the pike.

    Keep the dollars flowing into RedFin and we are proud to ride the coat tails. The only way 500 Realty will make the News is if someone picks me off……Even then it will NOT be 60 minutes…..NWCN News Channel 2 at best…

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 5 – The help to the bottom line is not spending money doing it yourself. In one of my comments to my own piece, before learning of this deal, I said:

    “Finally, that third party sites want to do this [provide search functions] is good for real estate firms. It means that large brokerage firms can quit spending money developing their own websites, and thus make more money. Yahoo just figured that out, and now Microsoft will be doing their searches. The big firms could do the same thing, where say hypothetically Winderemere could frame Trulia’s property search within it’s [sic] site.”

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestate/archives/175243.asp

    I think it makes a lot of sense.

  7. 7
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6

    But, Kary it is my opinion it will do nothing measureable. Nothing against Galen. I will monitor. I say get the message out there like they do with Seattle Bubble, Yahoo message boards, CraigsList, Home Shows, Comcast, Radio, Gorilla Marketing (like Clearwire)etc.

    However, all our time is limited including Red Fin, Zip, and MLS 4 Owners. I don’t see any of us with these models much longer then 5 years out. Listen to what Google said nearly 10 years ago and you will see why the collapse of the MLS system and the NAR is inevitable.

    A far better form of real estate will be conducted by 2018 and we will all look back and laugh at this insanity that was.

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