A common scenario we see in real estate search is what I call “neighborhood discussions.” This is where people recommend neighborhoods to their friends that they think would fit their friend’s interests. For example, a friend may tell you that they’re looking to purchase a home near trails and dog parks to make Fido happy. Wherever you happen to live, you can probably think of areas of town that fit your friend’s needs.
To assist friends in their search for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, people often send links to what they believe are ideal homes or neighborhoods. However, this doesn’t always work out as planned.
The Search Results URL Problem
Sending people a link to a search result is often much more difficult than it should be on real estate websites. A common problem people run into is broken URLs. They drill down on a real estate site to create the perfect set of results for their friend, email the link, then hear back from their frustrated friend that the link didn’t work.
At WhereToLive.com, we’ve worked to address this issue by creating custom URL shorteners for our clients’ websites. Here is an example of how this works:
I visited Coldwell Banker Hunter’s website then drilled down to city of Shaker Heights, OH. I also filtered the results for luxury homes (in this case $750,000+) and filtered for 4+ bedrooms, and 3+ bathrooms. The map of the left updated every time I made a change to the search criteria.
After creating a search result I’d like to share, I click the “Link to Search” icon on the upper-right hand part of the page to generate a unique shortened URL for this custom search result:
I can now email this URL to friends, bookmark it so I can check back from time to time, or blog about it (that link will take you to homes matching that search result. Or, if I was an agent with Coldwell Banker Hunter, I could build a series of links like this for the neighborhoods I commonly serve, then publish them to my CBHunter.com website. Then I could tell prospective clients to, “go to my website and click on the Shaker Heights $750,000+ link” if they’re looking for high-end homes in the area.
Persistent Search Results
It’s worth noting that the URL shortener is not taking a snapshot in time, but capturing only the search criteria. Clicking the same shortened URL a month from now will show the current results matching the same geography, price point, and bed/bath filters. Properties will come and go but the search criteria at that custom link remains the same.
Small Things Add Up
I don’t have to worry about disappointing my friends with broken links. I don’t have to visit a 3rd party URL shortening service like tinyurl.com. Instead, I have a branded integrated solution to this common neighborhoods discussion problem.