Many people are impressed by the map searches at sites like www.redfin.com , www.trulia.com , www.homepages.com, www.zillow.com, www.realestateabc.com, . I do agree that these sites are fascinating and are generally a great tool for consumers. That said I have always found actually usability, at least with respect to browsing homes, leaves a lot to be desired.
So why am I bringing this up you might ask, well recently I ran across a UK site that I found rather amazing. It is amazing in the same way that Google is amazing. It has an extremely simple interface, is lighting fast, predictive and intuitive. The site http://www.extate.com gives you an extremely austere screen that simply asks “Where are you searching” Typing any letter instantly produces a drop down of relevant locations and the number of listings in each. This just isn’t simply the entire list though, if you type a second letter even more refined locations (with less listing) will appear. I am not overly familiar with the geography of the UK but a quick inspection seems to indicate a highly usable system.
Once you click through the link you will find you can refine your search by price, bedrooms and agents. The refinements are speedy and cool. There is a also a system of “Tags” that allow you to look for specific features of a target property. All in all, this site rocks!
Personally, for all the money that the first sites I mentioned have spent, I find http://www.extate.com far more enjoyable and practical to use.
I would love to hear what others think!
More about the guy that developed the site http://www.morewhite.com/archives/12