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Realtor.com, the first real estate search site and official online arm of the National Association of Realtors, got a new look last week. The company says the redesign makes the site easier to navigate and prettier to look at, with bigger photos and a warmer color scheme.
Among the things frequent Realtor.com visitors may note is that you no longer have to type in a city name, state and zip like you would on an envelope. Instead you just type in the city or zip in one line and you can start searching.
Realtor.com says home buyers are now viewing 40% more properties and are 37% more likely to send a friend an email with the new look. More than 3.3 million folks have registered for home alerts since the beta version of the site was launched in May.
One thing I noticed is that the default on the searches now brings you a list of available homes from highest priced to lowest. That means if you live in a place like Los Angeles your first properties are going to be multi-million-dollar homes, unless you tailor your search accordingly. Lorna Borenstein, president of Move.com, Realtor.com’s parent, says the site was designed to do that because her main customers, real estate agents, want it that way. Realtors pay to advertise on the site. “What we find is that Realtors spend a lot more time on higher end homes,” she says.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.