The Quest for the Perfect Home Search

Robin Fenchel February 22, 2012

We all search for perfection in the real world. We look for the perfect person with whom we can bond. We look for the perfect culinary or wine-tasting experience. We look to catch the perfect wave. We look to achieve the perfect SAT scores; well, you get the picture. We all strive toward that elusive dream of perfection in whatever it is that we deem important in our lives.

Fast forward to the way in which buyers/consumers search for the perfect place to call home versus the way in which real estate web developers construct a real estate site. In his funny and illuminating article entitled Rethink Real Estate Search, in Inman News, Marc Davison, of 1000 Watt Consulting points out that real estate internet sites are engineered by programmers–“guys and gals with 180 IQ’s–guided by folks who get their kicks from Excel.”

A programmer might construct a search by zip code, or create an application that includes home-value estimates that “can never be accurate, no matter how many Ph.D.s are thrown at them;” or create searches that are “cluttered by advertising;” or provide maps that are either “hybrid,” “satellite” or “list” views (“humans don’t search from space”), instead of speaking to what real people are looking for when they search for the perfect place to live.

And while it is true that statistical data has demonstrated that over 80% of buyers/consumers begin their search for the perfect home online, their home search continues off line, on the ground, and at the local level in conjunction with a real estate professional

A real person–a “human,” if you will, pursues their search for a home by actually driving through neighborhoods, by talking with neighbors, by “test-driving” the commute from work to a prospective home, by asking about the neighborhood schools and test performance, by checking the proximity of schools to the home under consideration; real people ask about whether the home or condo has a yard large enough for a pet or a garden, whether the house has a home office, a main floor bedroom, a hobby room, a media room, a living room in addition to a family room, a master suite downstairs, a chef’s kitchen, a finished garage; whether the garage is attached or detached, a two or three car garage, where the neighborhood shopping centers, parks, fitness center, bike paths, movie theatres, restaurants, local pharmacy, cleaners, barber shop are located–you get the picture: the things/stuff/features that make a home the fulfillment of a buyer/consumer’s dream home and a neighborhood that is a perfect fit for their lifestyle.

The buyer/consumer wants to have a dialogue, a conversation, with their real estate agent about what the buyer considers to be the most important features in their search for the perfect home. This then, as Marc Davison suggests, can be formatted in an innovative way by programmers who would create a “natural search paradigm” that would describe homes in a manner that reflects how people really think.

And by the way, buyers/consumers want to see pictures, lots of them, and not crummy, blurry pictures, and not three pictures of toilet bowls with the seat raised, as Lynne Pope illustrated in her recent post. Imagine buyers finding an unlimited number of pictures, say 50 photos–more than enough to capture the essence of the room’s space and with descriptions that stir the imagination and paint a picture of what it would be like to live the lifestyle that this home evokes.

And what about creating and sharing a video of the neighborhood amenities–a journey into the heart of the community, highlighting the nearby pools, spas, tennis/sports courts, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, and schools.

Now I’m sure that you get the picture–in focus, evocative, and enlightening–and so will the buyers if you dialogue with them about what they would like to see in their search for the perfect home. And maybe the conversation will inspire changeCB”C”bB,C”b,Bmoving the discourse toward a more perfect home-buying experience on-line through a human centric search algorithm, and off-line, through the human contact with your local real estate professional.

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