Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Location. Location. Location."

The cliché "Location. Location. Location." has been tossed around in the real estate industry quite often. There is a reason for that – Location is the single most important factor that determines the value of a piece of real estate. You can always change the house, but you can't change it's position. A seafront property is typically more expensive than a similar place upcountry. So the location mantra is really all about the vendor's price tag.

But what does location mean to the buyer?

Most of today's real estate websites seem to cut location down on some geographic position. The client is prompted to first select some county or parish before he can even see a list of properties for sale. Now what if the perfect match would sit just 10 meters outside of the selected administrative area? Can we expect the client to search the neighbouring parish next, and does he even know the parishes' name? Probably not. So reducing the "Location" aspect on locking the client into some administrative areas like counties is not always a purposeful and target oriented approach.

Granted, knowing that the client is looking for a property in the Lagos area is important information - but actually not much more than a starting point. It's just one aspect of location. What about lifestyle, neighbourhood, distance to the sea, etc.? How would you make such kinds of parameters findable?

With casa.keru we have developed a combination of different techniques to achieve a most flexible search path.

Location (in the literal sense)

Most importantly, casa.keru is displaying all properties on a map. The map view is way superiour to a list view because it frees the user from being caged in the boundaries of an administrative area. Navigation is fast and easy as the user can go straight to his starting point by typing the name of his favourite neighbourhood (e.g. "Lagos").

Neighbourhood analysis

From there, the neighbourhood can be explored on the map. The user walks along the coast line and sees all properties that match his budget and other criteria. Satellite imagery, Street View (where available) and photos of the surroundings give a solid impression of the area. Furthermore, statistics on average sales prices, the types of properties for sale etc. provide important social information on the current viewport.

Lifestyle segmentation

So called "tags" allow for narrowing your selection by as many different characteristics as you like. The possibilities go beyond flat filters like "pool" or "elevator": Geographic tags such as "nature reserve" combined with activities tags like or "watersports" allow for better property preselection. Adding some location tags like "golf course" and "Resort" on top will lead to perfect lifestyle segmentation.

Maps and "Location. Location. Location." seem very complimentary to us. Plus, at, we got "Location. Location. Location." to work for the buyer, too.

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