Well I’m excited to announce that the new search feature of the Ultimate Website has been a huge success! Our objective was to give our agents another option — not to replace the IDX search that many offer their visitors, but rather to enhance it. After all, nearly every home search website out there pulls from the same central database using a RETS feed.
RETS is an acronym which stands for Real Estate Transaction Standard created to overcome the difficulties presented by the existence of a large number of organizations desiring to share and distribute real estate information with others. RETS addressed this need by providing a common standard for the exchange of real estate data. So in other words, everyone is singing from the same hymnal, so to speak.
So since all of the searches are pulling from the same standardized data feed, there are really only small differences in presentation, but the data remains the same for everyone. Well, nearly everyone. Zillow had added tax record and historical sales data to the mix to provide additional value in calculating their “Zestimates”.
It’s much like the TV show “Chopped” where there are different chefs competing but all of them have the same judges and the same ingredients. Just because their ingredients are the same doesn’t mean that the recipes are the same. And even if they happened to use the same recipe the presentation would not be the same so the judge experience would be different too.
We decided that since there were many cooks and all just had the same ingredients, and that since our cook was probably the worst cook of all (nearly every IDX we’ve seen is light years behind Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com) that we would use the strengths of these massive national aggregators to our advantage.
We decided to build a one-stop mega-search. We decided to put all the various home searches in one easy to use location. Then we decided to tie in some other data as well — other data that those big companies don’t or can’t offer. We added Craigslist, Rent.com, Great Schools, and the National Sex Offender Registry databases.
We’ve only had our new search feature live for a short time, but we’ve been very surprised with one particular feature. Almost every single lead is clicking on the Sex Offender Registry. Think about it — nobody wants to find out after the fact that their dream home is right next door to a pedophile. What’s even better is that not another national home search site offers this information!
Now our agents can put the power of all these databases in one location — on their own website. Best of all it doesn’t cost them a dime. They can replace their local IDX if they want, or if they prefer they can keep on using it, with or without the new comprehensive search option.
I believe when agents see how valuable this Sex Offender Registry is to their customers, they will be amazed. I am cautiously optimistic, but early results look like we might have stumbled onto the next big thing! The funny thing is that any of these national companies could offer this information if they wanted to, but none do. I wonder how long it will be before they all jump on the bandwagon. We’ve consistently led the way with new innovations, from our very first LCM to our most recent autoblog.
So whether you’re a long time user or you’ve been sitting on the fence wondering about my Ultimate Website, today is the day to try out this new comprehensive search. Your customers are going to love it, and you are going to love being able to step in front of the major players with your LCM and capture those leads.