We’ve been busy. Very busy.
We’ve been working behind the scenes nearly nonstop for the past few months, and today is the day that we finally get to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve done. We made an infinity-plus-one number of changes to our dsSearchAgent Pro IDX solution, and we think you’re going to love what we have to show you right now (unless you’re one of ours competitors!).
We’ve actually have so much to share with you that we’re going to break all of this up into a number of blog posts over the next couple of days. In this post, I’m going to cover the changes to our search panel and some other minor changes.
If you want to follow along with me as I discuss the first group of changes, here is our standard demo link so you can see all of the pretty new features. Also, if you’re a client of ours and you want to participate in a webinar to discuss the new changes, we’ve set up a special one tomorrow at 10 AM PST – you can register for it in your control panel. If you’re not a client of ours, what the heck are you waiting for?? Hop into our sales webinar tomorrow at 2 PM PST and, after you’ve stopped drooling over everything we have to offer, buy! Ok, here we go….
We’ve 100% re-engineered our search panel!
Our old search panel was great, but our new one completely trounces the old one.
Our first order of business was to move each search criteria item into its own expandable search box. We felt that the old search panel layout didn’t properly accommodate all of the unique needs of our customers and the different areas they serviced. We also felt that it would be better to show ALL of the available search options at first, even if you can’t adjust them until you click on them, rather than hide a bunch of them until the user expanded an “advanced search” area.
With this release, our clients can remove, add, and rearrange the search boxes however they see fit and expand any or all of them by default when the page first loads. The boxes can be removed and rearranged for each account by default, and they can also be removed and rearranged for each link that the our clients in our control panel area.
We have also changed the way the sliders and text boxes work. After going back and forth on this for weeks and trying out a number of different ideas on our focus groups (drop downs, drop down / text box hybrids, hidden text boxes, etc), we ultimately decided to go with simple text boxes that are tied to the sliders, and vice versa. We found that this allows for the best balance between people who like to quickly explore using the sliders and people who like to be precise with the textboxes.
We’ve added new search options!
The new search panel gave us the breathing room to implement a few more of our most highly requested search features.
The first option we added is something I’m especially proud of. You can now search for pre-foreclosures and bank owned listings in EVERY SINGLE MARKET WE SERVICE! We can do this by looking at two sets of data, both of which are provided by the MLS. First, we look at all of the features that are provided by the MLS for each property. If there’s a feature that denotes that the property is a short sale, is in pre-foreclosure, has had a notice of default filed against the owner, etc, then we mark it as a pre-foreclosure. If there’s a feature that says that the property has been foreclosed upon, is a lender / bank owned listing, is an REO, etc, then we mark it as bank owned.
If the MLS doesn’t provide features that say whether or not a property is distress, or if the agent just forgot to say that it’s in distress, we do something super special. We spent a very long time developing a proprietary algorithm to analyze the descriptions of each property, and for each of the literally millions of active listings in our database, we’ve run the descriptions through our algorithm to find out if it’s a pre-foreclosure or bank owned listing. We’ve run extensive tests, and our positive rate for matching these descriptions is near 99.5%! We toss out properties where the listing agent says things like “this house is not a preforeclosure” or “this house is better than a bank-owned listing.” The result is something we’re really proud of, and it’s something that we can confidently say that no one else has.
We know that there are still going to be small issues with this though, so we set up an email address that you can send property descriptions to so that our system will get better. That’s right – it’s ALIIIIVE! We will be continually training and refining our algorithm, so the more listings you send in that it either should have matched but didn’t or shouldn’t have matched but did, the better our system will get! We will manually review and classify each submission that comes through to ensure that our pre-foreclosure / foreclosure description analyzer is the very best there is! Anyway, if you do find a property description that should be classified as a (pre-)foreclosure or one that shouldn’t have been classified as a (pre-)foreclosure that was, send the description and perhaps a link to the property to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve also added the ability to search by price drops. This isn’t just any ol’ price drop search though – you can customize EXACTLY what you’re looking for. It’s pretty self explanatory we think, so go ahead and try it out. We’ve found some listings in our area (SoCal) that have legitimately had price drops of > 60%…. Incidentally, you can now also sort by the price drop percentage (largest drops first) once you get to the search results tab.
You can now search by school districts too! We’ve had a lot of requests for that one. Note that some MLS’s let agents type in the school in free-form, so if a visitor in one of those areas is looking for listings in an individual school area or overall school district, they may have to type in a couple of different schools and / or districts to get what they’re looking for. Don’t worry though – all of our text boxes magically try to complete the visitors thoughts so they will always know exactly what’s available.
Additionally, you can now search for FSBO listings and Make Me Move properties that are on Zillow.com. We know this may be controversial to some, but at the same time we’ve had a lot of requests for it, so we made the decision to implement it for those that want to use it. The value offered here is that visitors may be able to find FSBO listings and properties that may be for sale (Zillow’s Make Me Move listings) that they might not otherwise be able to find in the MLS search. Please note that this option is disabled by default – it can be easily enabled in our clients’ control panel area.
Finally, we’ve added the option for agents to remove property types from the search that they don’t deal with. This was another popular request, and the super-slick interface for it is now available in the control panel.
We’ve focused even more on speed!
We made significant enhancements to our infrastructure and used advanced loading techniques in our front-end code to really get things moving! Both subjectively and objectively, this latest release loads wayyyyy quicker than our old version and is much more responsive to all interactions. Try it out and see!
… and so much more!
There is so much more to share, but again, we’re instead going to break out our changes into smaller blog posts over the next couple of days. Stay tuned!
P.S. Incidentally, and quite humorously, our friends in Seattle, Redfin, had their own big news to share with the world today. Although they took a slightly different approach than us, a nice handful of their new features ended up being the same as ours. We swear we didn’t plan that out! Anyway, kudos to Redfin!!