Do We Need Another Real Estate Search Site?

Real estate market imageI’ve said it before … I am jealous of the fabulous sites that our American neighbours have for searching real estate. For example, I love Trulia.com.

I often find myself searching U.S. properties just because I enjoy being on the site.

We have nothing that compares in Canada … and every time I hear of a new application hitting the web waves I feel excited. Could this be the site that gives me a Trulia-like experience when I search for properties?

Today I had that same feeling when I learned of the newly launched Streetseed. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be much more than a simpler search engine. Granted, just about anything is going to be easier to use than Realtor.ca is …

Streetseed includes for rent and for sale properties. Even if you didn’t know an area well you’d be able to see very quickly that the for sale listings are very limited. And the ‘for rent’ side of the site barely exists. I didn’t find anything for rent in Medicine Hat. And there were only 2 properties for rent in Burnaby. With slim pickings like that the site has a long way to go before it’s useful. I exited the site disappointed.

So… my hope for a Trulia experience in Canada rests with zoocasa.com. I like the site… it’s simple to use and it has some very strong features like:

  • Search by neighbourhood,
  • It saves your searches so next time you are back on the site you’ll see updated search results,
  • It has a school search function – which includes that school’s ratings. This feature is very useful for home buyers and real estate investors who want to make sure their home is located near a good quality school.
  • It has a research tab which you can click for more information on the City you’re searching. It’s integrated with Wikipedia.

But, my go to site is still realtor.ca for the moment. It’s not that I enjoy my experience on realtor.ca, but it’s about the quality of results.

Zoocasa could make me a raving fan with a few improvements or integrations… for example, I’d love to see them:

  • Ramp up their listings … it’s still very weak … On Pender Street in Burnaby between Gilmore and Boundary there are 7 for sale signs … and they show zero listings. (Realtor.ca shows 6 listings).  Bottom line is that a big chunk of listings are still missing which means I still have to use realtor.ca to find listings.
  • Integrate with Walkscore!! Walk score is a fabulous application that tells you all about the area of the property. It goes beyond schools and tells you about the grocery stores, restaurants, recreation and other amenities in the area. It’s not perfect… when I search an address in Burnaby Heights on Pender Street it says the closest Hardware store is Home Depot 1.8km away but there is a Home Hardware about 50m away from the address so it’s not accurate. It also doesn’t say anything about Valley Bakery or Cioffi’s deli which are practically institutions in the Heights they are so famous … but as a general guide it’s good.
  • Integrate with What Customers Say – if this site expands beyond Edmonton, having the integration of this site would be great. Although, I do understand that there could be some challenges.
  • Provide area stats … this is my favourite part of Trulia. And while I realize the stats can be challenging to come by given the real estate board’s ownership of most of the numbers, I’m creating a wish list and it’s on it!
  • Include OPEN HOUSE listings!!
  • Include information about New Home developments in the area. This is probably realtor.ca’s biggest void. They only have new homes when a builder has listed them. To truly know what is in an area and get a complete real estate shopping experience you need to know what new projects are selling units (or about to sell units in an area).

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to search an area like ‘The Heights’ in Burnaby and learn what properties are listed, what amenities are in the area, the average sale price, days on market and other stats for the area, AND be able to find out what homes are open for viewing on the weekend??And then to also be able to see what options are in the area for new developments.

It’s progress… and I am thrilled to see some entrants into the space in Canada but for the moment I am still longing for realtor.ca to be more intuitive or for Trulia to come to Canada.

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3 Comments

Filed under real estate

3 responses to “Do We Need Another Real Estate Search Site?

  1. qmanrei

    Let’s just hope that MLS/Realtor Site doesn’t law suit these web sites out of existance.

  2. @qmanrei – Thanks for stopping in! Do you like the new sites that have come out recently?

  3. Great tips and several things I’ d not thought about.
    Thank you for posting about this…

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