Real Estate Search is an evil hard problem

google evilOne of my pet peeves about most real estate search sites is that I can’t search on what I want. All of them, ask the same 4 or 5 questions. Where is your house located? How much can you afford? How many bedrooms? Blah, blah, blah..

Well, I’m going to attempt to change that. I want to find houses with CAT-5 wiring built in! I want to find houses with home theaters & wine cellars. I want to find a home with air conditioning (believe it or not, summer is coming). And now, I can. I proudly present our new search remarks feature.

Using the power of SQL Server‘s Full-Text Indexing features, this is now possible. Granted, our search is a long long ways away from being Google good, but it’s a start. If somebody wants to throw a lot of money at me so I can turn around and buy a copy of Endeca In Front or a Google Search Appliance, I suspect we’d get a lot better.

For example, when I looked for “cat 5” and found a house that doesn’t have a black cat. I looked for “home theater” and found a lot of homes (but not lot of homes with home theaters). Do a search for “media rooms” and you’ll find a lot rooms (but not as many media rooms). Obviously, you need to pick your words carefully to get what you want. Also, I need to start adding words like “home” & “room” to SQL’s noise word list since those words appear on nearly every listing’s remarks section. But, let’s face it, writing a search engine is hard. Eventually, I’ll tweak things so I can get Google or Microsoft to do my dirty work.

In the mean time, I hope finding your dream home got a little easier.

Caffeinated Software

22 thoughts on “Real Estate Search is an evil hard problem

  1. Hey Robbie, you might want to look at the code for the next/previous buttons on photo displays for the listing photos using Mozilla. The script is firing a page refresh and reloading the page rather than displaying the next photo. Might need to add a return false to the JS code.

  2. Now if you could just add FMLS (there are two competing MLS systems in Atlanta–MLS and FMLS) listings from Atlanta! Therein lies the rub: no good site exists which aggregates MLS content nationwide… yet!

  3. Hey Robbie, let’s do Dueling Systems. (like dueling banjos in Deliverance).

    Give me a word, any word, and we’ll see if my remarks section search in the mls comes up with the same homes as yours 🙂

  4. Ardell…for a sec. there I thought you were messing with my folks from Georgia !!

    And call me crazy but cant you just put a %in front of the word in a remarks search with NWMLS?

    either way… the search is looking great robbie! keep up the good work.

  5. There’s a reason most sites don’t enourage this type of fine-grain searching. Usually buyers are getting serious when they are at this level of search and realtors would rather be working one-on-one with them at this point.
    From a buyers perspective, if you find a house you like online and then call the listing agent, you also get a much lower standard of representation that if you were working through an experienced buyers agent. As the buyers agent’s commission is nearly always paid by the listing broker, there is no cost and nothing to lose.
    I’ve written a piece on buyer’s agency. If you’d like a copy, contact me.

  6. Yes, I would like a copy, Osman. I tried to loop around the link and got lost 🙂 Please consider yourself “contacted” as in “tag…you’re it”.

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