Manhattan Beach Real Estate: Search Manhattan Beach MLS w/map IDX

We have recently relaunched http://www.90266realestate.com/. The URL and much of the content is the same but the property search engine used to find homes has been replaced with what we believe is the aboslute best real estate search tool you will see anywhere, guaranteed. We're so excited about it, we want to add a few words to help you maximize your search experience.

This software was created out of a need to have a superior public-facing property location system. Previous technology attempted to address such a desire for real estate search, but different shortcomings in each solution were apparent. Given the radically changing web landscape and the massive increase in buyers turning to the Internet to find homes, we took on the tremendous task of finding an application to serve the needs of everyone involved.

What we came up with is unique in so many ways. We were able to produce something that addresses every issue that other IDX real estate search programs have and create a feature set that overcomes even the largest real-estate search sites on the Internet today. Our IDX solution, which makes an interactive map onto which properties are plotted the central focus point, is blazingly fast, incredibly flexible, and extremely simple to use.

Our forward facing search for home buyers (and even real estate agents) leaves nothing to be desired. Visitors can search for homes for sale by just dragging and dropping different elements on the web page and by interacting with the map. Every search that a visitor makes is returned instantly, and the matching results are displayed on that same page without reloading; essentially, there's just no need to wait. Each individual property for sale, whether on the map or listed in the search results section, can be clicked on to instantly switch the program from the map tab to a full-featured property details tab. On it, the visitor will find all of the information about that property for sale as well as a contact form, a mortgage calculator, a Zillow Zestimate (when desired by the agent or broker), a Google Street View of the property, a mini-map, school and community information, and so much more.

 Cutting Edge Interface
We have used the most advanced programming techniques to date to ensure that everything a visitor does is responded to instantly. In fact, we were able to speed things up so much compared to other web sites that we were able to combine the entire property search experience seamlessly onto a single page. While it is still a web page in nature, it performs very much like a desktop application that is already on your computer. dsSearchAgent uses a multi-tab interface to allow visitors to quickly flip back and forth between the search panel and the results panel and the map panel and property details panel. This approach entirely eliminates the cumbersome multi-page search interface that all other web sites have

Search Criteria Input
Instead of overwhelming visitors with a sea of textboxes, checkboxes, and city selection dropdowns, we choose to keep things simple yet powerful. By default, dsSearchAgent presents visitors with a number of different "sliders" that visitors can drag and drop with their mouse to narrow down their search. Visitors are also given the option to instead use textboxes to input their search information if they so choose.

Auto-Complete Locations
While other we sites use clunky drop down menus and large multi-select boxes to let visitors select the cities, we implemented a location search box that will instantly show the matching cities, communities, tracts, neighborhoods, and zip codes as soon as a visitor begins to type. Visitors can then continue typing while looking at the suggestions, or they can use their mouse or keyboard to select one of the locations in the auto-complete box. This approach allows visitors to find properties in certain areas very quickly.

Search Within Map Area
It's often more convenient to search for properties for sale within a map area instead of searching within the confines of a certain city, neighborhood, or other location. Visitors can create their search criteria and then place a check in the checkbox to search only within their current map view. Visitors can also search within certain parts of cities, tracts, neighborhoods, communities, or zips by specifying that criteria in addition to this option. Using this feature is especially helpful with larger cities, cities with differing tax rates, or when visitors want to search for properties close to a certain school or employer. This is the feature that will allow you to search for MLS listings of homes for sale not only in Manhattan Beach but the various neighborhoods of 90266 such as the Hill Section, the Sand Section, the Tree Section, as well as Manhattan Village etc. This is the ultimate in real estate search to find homes for sale.

"Quick Find" Search Box
Sometimes visitors just want to quickly jump to a particular city or zip code within the map, or they already know the MLS number of a listing that they liked before. Using the "quick find" search box at the top-right of the map, a visitor can simply start typing the name of a city or zip code or the start of an MLS number, find what they are looking for in the auto complete drop down box, and hit enter. Without leaving the page, the visitors map will instantly zoom into the desired city or zip; if they entered an MLS number, the property will be instantly loaded in the "Details" tab.

City Markers
Utilizing advanced mathematics and the standard property data that every MLS provides us with, we are able to calculate the centers and general bounds of each city. Using this data, dsSearchAgent intelligently places a certain number of city markers on the map at the center of each city. When the visitor hovers over one of these markers, the city name will appear along with the total number of listings for that city, the median home price, and the mean home price. Upon clicking on one of the markers, the visitor's map is instantly changed to focus on that city.

Mapped Results
Once the number of properties that match the search criteria (if any) is low enough and the visitor has zoomed in enough, the properties will be placed on the map for visitors to either hover over for a quick preview or click on to take them to the full details page. The color and style of each property's marker indicates whether they have clicked on it visited before (dark green), whether the agent or office holds the listing (red or dark red), whether they have added the listing to their favorites (a star), whether the property was recently sold (dollar sign), or whether it is the currently selected property (purple). Listings that have multiple results at the same point on the map (condos in a high-rise, properties that are listed as both leases and for-sale, etc) are given a special marker that shows A full legend and help system is available to describe how the map works and what the different markers mean.


Returned Results
After a visitor specifies the criteria they are looking for in a home search and clicks the "Search" button, they are, instantly, taken to the results of their search on the results tab. The results are cleanly laid out with each listing displaying a thumbnail photo and the property's primary information. Viewing the next page of results is quick and easy; clicking on the "Next" or "Previous" links makes the results smoothly scroll to the desired page. This should make it much easier to find homes for sale in the MLS and see the listings you are most interested in.

Instant Sorting
Once a search has been performed and the results displayed, the visitor can quickly change the ordering of their results. By changing the "Sort by" drop down box, they can reorder the properties so that those with the largest lots are first, the newest properties come first, the most recently updated properties come first, or any number of additional sort options. Sorting, similar to everything else, is performed in real-time and is completed instantly.

Email Updates
On every search that a visitor makes, they are given the option to subscribe to daily or weekly email updates for that search. Each email is richly formatted and contains extensive details about each property that matched their search. Clicking on any of the properties in the email will bring the visitor back to the branded dsSearchAgent page where they can view even more details.

RSS Feeds
Unlike any other IDX solution on the market, dsSearchAgent allows visitors to create their own RSS feeds for any search they perform. Similar to email updates, an RSS feed can provide visitors with updates on a particular search or on a particular property. However, the benefit of using an RSS feeds over receiving email updates is that RSS feeds allow visitors to receive the updates on their own time instead of sending them emails that they may be more likely to delete. If you want to learn more about the basics of RSS, you can watch a YouTube video here. You can also find out more about RSS feeds by searching Google for "RSS," or by going to www.google.com/reader.

Map Statistics
Another first for the industry is www.90266realestate.com slide out map statistics panel. Once the page loads, and whenever the map is dragged, zoomed, or otherwise changed, property statistics for the new map view and selected property types are automatically loaded in the background. Once loaded, a quick mouse-over on the "Map Statistics" tab on the right side of the map will reveal the median, mean, high, and low property prices for that area. It will also show the price-per-square-foot as well as matching statistics for the lot sizes and home sizes for that area.

Photo Slideshow
For every property that has more than one photo, a Flash® photo slideshow is displayed. The speed and transition at which photos are shown is perfect for visitors, and its automatic play and pause functionality allows them to effortlessly view all of the photos without touching anything. Additionally, visitors can click the "View Full Size Photos" link to view the original photos provided by the MLS.

Property Notes
Every home has a small area directly beneath the photo slideshow that allows registered website visitors to enter in and save their own free-form text notes specific to that property.

All of the standard property information is well organized and easily available as soon as a property is loaded. Not only can visitors quickly find what they are looking for, but they can also print the listing (along with a small map), view a PDF for the listing, contact the agent about the listing, share the property with a friend via email, and bookmark the property in their browser's favorites. They can also view any virtual tours available for the property or add the property to their dsSearchAgent favorites.


Mini-Map with Local Place Finder
The mini-map module and local place finder provides powerful functionality for your visitors to keep them engaged. The map allows visitors to explore the property in more detail without flipping back to the map tab or losing their search, and the local place finder allows them to find places to eat, parks to explore, places to meet friends, and anything else that would be useful to locate.

Google Street View
Google's Street View technology gives your visitors a chance to explore the neighborhood surrounding the listing without ever leaving their chair. By clicking and dragging on the initial picture, they can zoom, pan, and move the street view imagery to get a comprehensive understanding of the surrounding neighborhood on their own time.

Mortgage Calculator
The mortgage calculator is automatically set up for each property to calculate a mortgage payment based on a 20% down payment and a fixed mortgage rate that is easily adjustable in the admin area. The calculator itself works instantly, meaning that visitors don't have to wait even a little bit before they find the result.

Zillow® Zestimates
When the data is available, the Zillow panel built into each property displays the Zestimate®, value range, 30 day change, and the data-last-updated date for each property. Additionally, visitors are shown an appealing chart that details the changes in that property's Zestimate over the past year. Visitors are also given a link that opens in a new window to Zillow's information about the property. Like any of the other details panels, this panel can easily be turned on or off by the agent, broker, or MLS executive.

School and Community Information
With relevant community information being so important to prospective buyers, school and community information is paramount to the sale of any property. www.90266realestate.com satisfies this need by providing a wealth of information on the local schools, demographics, crime, housing stats, family facts, education, economy, health, climate, and even local stores and restaurants. Visitors get everything they need to know from a single spot.

The "Map" module can be used to place all of the properties that the link's search returns onto a map. Up to 25 of the results that match the link that was set up will be displayed. Hovering over the properties will bring up a small box that will show some quick information about the property. When a visitor clicks on any of the properties, the fully-features IDX solution will open up in a new window and will instantly load that property.

The "Map Search" module is a scaled-down version of the full IDX search and allows visitors to search for properties in a more condensed fashion. Visitors will be able to search for properties by price, beds, baths, and size (sq ft), and the top 25 properties that were found will be displayed on the map. When a visitor hovers over a property, some quick stats are displayed along with a picture. If a visitor wishes to see different properties according to a custom sort order, they can easily change it. Finally, visitors can click on the link showing the total number of results displayed to go to the main IDX.

Conclusion
Built with the continuous input of many clients, http://www.90266realestate.com/  IDX program is distinctive in far more ways than any IDX program before it. It exudes professionalism on many levels and excels at the ultimate goal of pleasing web site visitors and converting them into lifetime clients. It is intuitive and simple enough for novices, yet powerful enough for even the most advanced and demanding users. With so much to offer, you'll see why it's different the moment you start using it.

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