How cool is our home search? Ice Cold!

In case you haven’t dropped by our home search tool recently, we’ve made some improvementsicecube. Changes include…

Market Analysis Tool Improvements
We thought it would be helpful, if you could get a second opinion when you get an estimate. So, we’ve made arrangements with Zillow to use their Zestimate web services on our Market Analysis page. That way, when you type in a property address, we’ll give you our estimate, get your property’s Zestimate (and the link to it’s page on Zillow), and save you some typing.

Radius Search
Want to find the all houses, within 2 miles of your house or office? Now you can here! And yes, the search results pages are Bookmark-able, RSS-able, and Google Earth-able. (I wouldn’t have it any other way).

Improved Location Search
The list boxes on the location search page are multi-selectable. Big whoop, I hear you say? Well, ours doesn’t refresh the entire page when you change the city or download a big city / community list when you first navigate to the page. Yes, you are seeing AJAX in action. It’s not something most people are going notice, until they wonder “Gee how come your page is so much faster than all the other ones”?

As always, the results from the improved location search are Bookmark-able, RSS-able, and Google Earth-able.

What’s next
Well, it’s a given that at some point I’m going have to have Virtual Earth or Google Maps integration, instead of static Yahoo Maps. If I’m going to compete with the big boys of real estate search, I gotta do maps. I’m probably going to have to create profiles, so you can save your searches, favorite properties, favorite places and other stuff that requires server side persistence.

What features would consumers and realtors like to see next? I’m more interested in hearing what realtors would like to see next because they are the ones who’ll be writing the check, when I eventually decide to release this. I have a billion ideas for what I’m going to do, but I’d get to some more feedback to find out what features I should implement next. Otherwise, I’ll continue to make it up as I go along…


24 thoughts on “How cool is our home search? Ice Cold!

  1. I love the search tool. The direct comparison with Zillow is sweet. Is there a way to help the user tell which one is more accurate?

    Maybe blogging (or a comment field) fits there. If somebody carefully tracked that particular comparison (agent/DIYer), then applied human judgement to supplement the opaque, proprietary processes of the two software comparisons. Triangulation via blogging.

    The biz model is tough because so much variability exists. Knowing precisely what the market will bear, is key to cashing in. Agents, Zillow, Caffeinated are all trying to get paid for their contribution of this specialized, contextual info. How should they be compensated?

    I can imagine a space to comment on a direct comparison. Z: $310, C: $390, Agent/web commenter: Says “$450. These are the best comps and this is why…”

    Maybe an API? Adding blogging/comments field could produce a framework for “negotiating” price. I have done a couple websites for homes like this. People generally like the manually entered Google map MLS page. I think a “caffeinated/zillow/pick-yer-search-tool” comparison supplemented by agent price analysis would be really persuasive.

    I don’t know about the biz model. But it’s the discussion and interaction that are most interesting to me. Initiating dialog on price, based on crunched data and human judgement would be cool.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback: Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide » Real estate blogs spark key industry debate

  3. As a broker/owner of a small real estate firm in Woodstock, GA, I am interested in learning how to incorporate the residential data with the commercial data. As you can see on my site (, I subscribe to 2 different services and to integrate both property databases into my site.

    I am also interested in being able to SMS property data from a cell phone inquiry (similar to Google SMS, except to my website to search MLS data).

    Also, do you sell your search programming services?

  4. Robbie, great work on the home search. I do have a couple of suggestions. I’d love to see the ability to limit searches based on the age of the home. My wife and I are interested in old homes (1900-1930) in Seattle so being able to limit a search to those years would be great. Also, is there any way to email listings to someone? I’m usually the one who browses the search and being able to email listings to my wife would be great. Other than that, awesome tool and keep up the good work!

  5. Great search tool, however your most recent change seems to have broken the tool. If you click on crown hill you get search results from Beacon Hill. However, keep up the good work.

  6. My comment, like Bart’s, was for year built as well. Many of my clients want to see homes built in the last ten years. I add remodels as I come upon them, as those considering only newer homes, will also consider a fully remodeled home.

  7. Joe – As for which one is more accurate, I’d say it’s more likely we currently are (but your mileage will vary wildy). I think Zillow currently suffers from an abundance of old data. Most houses in King Co have probably gone up at least 15% in the past year. So the public records Zillow uses to compute it’s Zestimates are so old that the numbers it comes up with are just wrong. However, since Zillow is now a member of NWMLS, I’d be shocked if Zestimates for WA state don’t start getting much better.

    We suffer from a lack of data and a dumb evaluation model. Caffeinated estimates are like dumb realtors. We look at the houses that are for sale on the market (which is usually a much better gauge of what your house will sell for than public records), which houses are nearby and about the same size, and use their average price per sq ft. to determine our estimate. However, if the houses that are on the market and are close to your house are not directly comparable (like your neighbors are on the water, and you aren’t, or you have a new house and they don’t, etc.), then the my model falls apart.

    At any rate, we both have a lot work to do.

    Brad – If you can get the raw data from your MLS into a database server (or into anything stored on your machine), we can start talking. There’s usually a large amount of red tape involved with software consultants getting access to MLS data, however.

    Bart – Email listings are something I’ll get to eventually. Until I get around to it, you can try out to e-mail RSS feeds.

    Bart & Ardell – I’ll put age searching on my to-do this week list.

    Rian – Thanks for the bug. Resolved as fixed. Cause: Developer error (it helps to use the right variable in the SQL generation code. Doh!)

  8. I think that you need to update the variable in the SQL generation code as it looks as if the home search tool is searching all neighborhoods again.

  9. I absolutely think that allowing profile based services to buyers is going to be a big thing and should definitely be considered. The ability to save searches, have new listings emailed that meet the buyers criteria, and being able to define and save searches for “auto alerts”.

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