Most modern real estate listing websites host a web map that allow visitors to search for potential properties in the context of their location. If you’ve ever searched for a new home yourself, it is undeniably a tedious task, which is why it’s important to provide an intuitive and reliable search experience for visitors.
Most motivated home buyers will utilize websites such as Zillow or Realtor.ca in their search for a new home, alongside the help of an agent. All of these websites provide a map and allow for filtering by price range, location, and other important features such as number of bedrooms or property type, to help drill down on the various criteria a home buyer may have when considering the purchase of a new home.
One can only wonder how much does the map experience affect the decision to take the very crucial first step of the home buying experience, of actually going to view the home?
Although this may be a difficult question to answer, there’s undoubtedly a correlation between the user experience, and getting home buyers to take action. And, in the quest to making it as easy as possible for visitors to find the right property on a listing website, there are quite a few elements to solve for, to help nudge the website visitor to take the next step.
If a young family needs 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and requires a yard for their 7 dogs, and their total budget is $475,000, does the use of a map really assist in finding a home? Do they look where they want to live first, and look at homes for sale in that area, or do they look at what is for sale and then choose where to live? How important are commute times? Or are pictures of the property what hook a buyer to make that first click? When building a real estate website to compete for home owners attention, is it more important to focus on filters and having the most listings or is the map truly an important part of the value proposition?
How long do users spend on the map? Where do they view properties, which properties are actually clicked on and investigated? Are these properties selected through the map or from the pictures streaming down the side?
These unknowns cause a gap in understanding the user experience on the website. If the goal is to disrupt a market leader like Realtor.com then this information might be key in doing so. Or if a market leader is looking to maintain their position as the primary search tool for home buyers, the answers to these questions is even more important.
Luckily, there are applications that provide analytics to help track how users interact with a website. And with Maptiks web map analytics, real estate listing web maps can also be tracked with even greater detail. The goal being to help provide web map interaction insights. Viewing and understanding which areas a purchaser is looking, one could optimize the listings they show their potential client.
As a real estate agent the goal is to show a client their dream home, and as few other homes as necessary. By understanding their journey through their listing searches, an agent can suggest the right home sooner, shortening the sales cycle.
Moreover, by tracking aggregated visitor interactions a real estate brokerage can identify areas of interest and help clients get in new markets before the rest.