The race for 2nd place has begun

OK, I’m biased and I still believe that “Zearch” is currently King of the Hill of King County home searches. However, I’m willing to give credit where credit is due and say the distance between us and the rest of the pack got smaller today.

[photopress:NewJohnLScott.jpg,full,alignright]

Today, John L Scott and their solution provider, Bellevue based Real Tech, have quietly introducted what they call “Real-Maps 2.0“. Essentially, they are now using Microsoft Virtual Earth instead of the old school ESRI based solution. Additionally, it appears they’ve AJAX-ifed their search pane on their map page, so when you change search criteria it automatically updates the map and the matching results count (which is pretty slick). It also appears that Real Tech has gone all out, and at first glance, it appears they are using the not quite released Microsoft Atlas framework (a new development tool that makes “Web 2.0″ style applications easier to develop). It appears they are using JSON for the postbacks (most sites use XML, I currently send back Javascript source code). I haven’t spent much time reverse engineering it or learning Atlas yet, so it’s possible they are using a 3rd party AJAX framework. Regardless of the technical details, it does raise the bar for everybody else.

So what does this mean? Here’s my thoughts….

  • Me – Time to install and learn Atlas this weekend. If I’m going to remain competitive with the big boys, I gotta be using the same tools that the big boys are using. Besides doing complex AJAX with Asp.net 2.0 ICallbackEventHandler is bit tedious for my liking.
  • Galen – Wondering if he should rewrite ShackPrices so it uses Ruby on Rails instead of PHP?
  • ESRI – Between Google Maps & Microsoft Virtual Earth, this company won’t be serving the real estate mapping market much longer.
  • RedFin – That flash based satellite map, though very cool in it’s day, is increasingly looking like a liability. Better update it, do as Zillow did (partner with GlobeXplorer & Microsoft), or let one of the big boys handle your maps. Any map in which the Issaquah Highlands looks like polar bear eating vanilla ice cream during a snow storm, doesn’t cut it for me.
  • Zillow – Better do something cool with that MLS data you’ve been collecting. Otherwise, those eyeballs you were counting on, will be visiting the big brokers instead. Fortunately, for Zillow they could lose the local battle, but still win the national war. The NWMLS is releasing sold listing data in the near future and I’ll be shocked if the local big brokers don’t add “Zestimate” like features to their web sites in the next 6-12 months. Hell, Rain City Guide, already has one, but you already knew we’re ahead of the curve. ;)
  • Realtor.com / HomeStore / Move – Obi Won “Dustin Luther” Kenobi – Are you their only hope? Do something! Add an Rain City RSS feed, if you have to! Anything! :)
  • Coldwell Banker Bain – Since they are also Real Tech customers, I suspect they’ll be asking for Real-Maps real soon now.
  • Windermere – They can’t be far behind their arch-rivals, or can they?
  • Other local brokers/agents – Time to re-evaluate your MLS search/IDX vendor? Now that John L Scott’s web site has entered the 21st century, the pressure is building for you to join them.
  • John Q Home Buyer in Seattle/Eastside – The new John L Scott, is like RedFin but with better maps & aerial photos.
  • Everybody else, elsewhere – Consumer expectations are slowly being raised. I believe Seattle is ground zero of Real Estate 2.0. Those of you lucky enough to be living outside of the 206 & 425 area codes (aka the war zone), had better pay attention, because what’s happening here will happen in your neck of the woods, sooner than you think.

So what do our fair Rain City Guide readers think of this development?

Comments

  1. Hi,

    I read your comments on web2.0. I was wondering if you have visited Pageflakes (www.pageflakes.com) already? We are offering a similar service allowing you to read news feeds and setting up multiple pages that can be customized with local weather, address book, todo lists, event finders, TV guides. These pages can also be shared with family friends etc. Maybe you have some thoughts or suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks and best regards
    Tegan

  2. Kudos to John L. Scott on this one.

    Things I like best: new on market are green houses and the rest are blue, making it easy to spot ones you may not have seen, if it has been a few days since you last visited the site.

    The mini-descriptors show the status and mls # so you don’t have to click on the detail to find out that it is STI and can also tell by the mls # how long the active listing has been on market. (250XXXXX is 2005 – 2604xxxx on market longer than 2606xxxx and currently 2607xxxx is new on market)

    What I don’t like: When I click on the detail, it is hard to get back to the map feature and look at other houses in the same manner, without minimizing the search area. Hitting the back button after viewing a selected property, doesn’t take you back to where you were last, but to another house that you didn’t select to view.

    A pretty nifty site though, I agree. Thanks Robbie for bringing it to our attention. Score one for the “traditional” broker today.

  3. Kudos to John L. Scott on this one.

    Things I like best: new on market are green houses and the rest are blue, making it easy to spot ones you may not have seen, if it has been a few days since you last visited the site.

    The mini-descriptors show the status and mls # so you don’t have to click on the detail to find out that it is STI and can also tell by the mls # how long the active listing has been on market. (250XXXXX is 2005 – 2604xxxx on market longer than 2606xxxx and currently 2607xxxx is new on market)

    What I don’t like: When I click on the detail, it is hard to get back to the map feature and look at other houses in the same manner, without minimizing the search area. Hitting the back button after viewing a selected property, doesn’t take you back to where you were last, but to another house that you didn’t select to view.

    A pretty nifty site though, I agree. Thanks Robbie for bringing it to our attention. Score one for the “traditional” broker today.

  4. Robbie, I think you’re going to be pretty impressed when we release the next version of ShackPrices. Powered, yes, by Ruby on Rails. I would like to point out that you’re impressed by the functionality that we already have – automatic updating every time you pan, zoom or change the criteria. Yes, Ajax!

    This is a very nice implementation of real estate listings placed on a map, which is a good start, but it’s missing some features that would put it over the top. I’ll let you know what those features are soon…

  5. Robbie, The 404 is paying attention.

    John’s new search= Wow!

  6. John L. Scott has definitely put together a really clean map… very cool!

  7. Tegan – I think PageFlakes is very slick, but Google and Microsoft are hot on your trail. I think the real challenge is getting mindshare, with those two giants playing in your sandbox. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how you’d go about doing that. I have enough trouble trying to stay half a step ahead of Galen. ;)

    Galen – Although John L isn’t the first local broker to have dynamic maps, it’s fair to say it’s probably the first by a “large / traditional” broker. It may not be as “bleeding edge” as you and I would like, but it is a big wake up call for it’s rivals.

  8. trulia.com had done some pretty cool I think. Trulia will only work if agents will let it thought.

  9. Trulia and propsmart.com do a okay job. CribHits is going to put them to shame & will change the face of real estate FOR EVER.

  10. Deborah says:

    I also like how you can see the houses from four different angles by clicking on E, S, W, and N.

  11. Deborah,

    I agree…. the birdseye photos from 1 angle blows google away… no less the 4 different angles…

    Microsoft has sent google into the stone ages with this local.live

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The advent of Zillow, Trulia, RealestateABC, et. al. is pushing real estate technology innovation faster than it has ever been pushed. The news today that Cendant will be offering Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping on its websites is big news. (Don’t count MSFT out yet!) The mapping wars are just heating up. The guys at RCG are ahead of the curve – watch them. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will provide its Virtual Earth commercial online mapping solutions for Cendant’s real estate brand Web sites – Century21.com, ColdwellBanker.com, ColdwellBankerCommercial.com, ERA.com and SothebysRealty.com – and for the local operating company Web sites of NRT Incorporated. [...]

  2. [...] Along thees lines, Shelley Rossi, the Director of Public Relations for John L. Scott, emailed to let me know that John L. Scott added a comparable market analysis tool to their home search Robbie discussed last week… There are two ways to access comparable sold property information on JohnLScott.com. The first is by address, which can be refined by entering property characteristics, such as square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc., and the system will identify the ten closest “sold homes

  3. [...] – Listing/IDX integration, mapping, RSS of listings, email notifications. – High quality content and integration of this blog (I have sort of implemented this already) – CRM tools that will integrate with MS Entourage. – ROI tracking system for leads – Good traffic analysis – Pages/content/design specifically targeting buyers. – Pages/content/design specifically targeting sellers. – Take the best ideas here and integrate. – Will work on Macs, PCs, Linux boxes and all (or most) browsers – Will be easy to update with my Mac. [...]

  4. [...] Great Scott! Polygon Based Property Searching! June 7, 2007 About 13 months ago, John L. Scott & Real Tech introduced what they brand High Definition maps for their map based MLS search. Well today, they’ve gone from 720p to 1080p with the introduction of the “Neighborhood Wizard“. [...]

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