Designing a real estate listing website
After over 8 years, we’re selling our condo in Kenmore, WA. Never one to rest on my laurels, I created a website to highlight the incredible photographs taken by our good—and extremely talented—friend Dylan Greene. What started out as a simple site to display some photos quickly grew into an opportunity to flex some web-development muscle.
Take a look a the site (and if you’re interested in buying, let me know!): http://scottbush.net/condo/
A few things about the project were worth discussing, in reverse order of interest:
- One-page design – I decided to put all the content—photo tour, building info, and neighborhood map—on a single, long page. While the content could be logically separated into pages to create a mini-site, there is a reason for this unified design. Used for many infomercial-style products, this “funnel” approach introduces a product and builds excitement with testimonials, images, hints at pricing, etc. as the reader progresses down the page, but the call-to-action is at the bottom.
- Interactive Google map – Maps on websites are nothing new, but a map that not only conveys a sense of place but also nearby amenities are not yet commonplace. I hope adding a map and populating it with icons representing schools, shopping, and other points of interest will build excitement for potential buyers. Our condo really is located in a great place: equally close to I-405 or I-5, plenty of services within walking distance, and in a good school district.
Location, location, location
The third item deserves a bit more discussion. In the “old days” maps on websites were static GIFs; directions could only be text. In Feb. 2005, Google introduced a game-changer: Google Maps. Since then, maps could be interactive and allow users to zoom or pan the map intuitively by dragging and scrolling. And it was instant; no more clicking cardinal direction arrows or magnification icon to load a new map section or to zoom, a la Mapquest’s old interface. Directions, too, became interactive: enter a starting point and customized, turn-by-turn directions appeared. That was a huge improvement.
Limiting myself to some simple marker icons and pop-up info windows was more difficult than coding them; I wanted to add interactive tools like walking directions with line overlays and pedometers, bus routes, and other cool things. Doing so would have been overkill for a simple real estate listing site. But those technologies are there, available to be played with and mashed-up with other data.
Why bother with all this?
Someone asked me why I would bother going through the trouble to build a site like this when it’s the real estate agent’s job to sell the house. The answer is simple: most things in life are improved/expedited/accomplished when one takes an active role in them. That’s especially true of trying to sell your home in a down market. I’m fortunate to possess a skill set that comes in handy to help publicize our listing on the web. Every bit of exposure helps, especially when that exposure puts the home in a positive light, as I hope this site does.
Oh, and the final reason? I really enjoy web development.
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