San Diego County’s regional MLS service just launched a new consumer website. So what’s it like? What value does it offer for SoCal home buyers and real estate investors? Where does it fail?
Sandicormls.com is the new consumer facing portal of the San Diego County regional Multiple Listing Service. The site appears designed to enable Southern California home buyers to search active area real estate listings in San Diego County, and find real estate agents. The new site is likely a push back against the new Zillow and Trulia monster, and an effort to add more value and retain loyalty amongst local members. So what does the new real estate website offer in terms of design and features? Where might it be letting users down?
Real Estate Website Design
The new Sandicor MLS website appears to be embracing the latest mobile responsive design concepts. How beautiful the design is, is probably a matter of personal opinion. However, all would agree that it is certainly simplistic. The real estate website was clearly created with two main goals in mind:
- Provide access to San Diego real estate listings
- Find San Diego real estate agents
However, one thing that does immediately stand out on the home page is that the site says there are 8,800 property listings, but 21,100 real estate agents. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to deduce that there might be a lot of agents going hungry, even if each of those 8,800 properties are divvied up to one agent each (which is unlikely). So does San Diego have too many real estate agents? Or have the bulk of properties gone to SoCal real estate investment companies?
Real Estate Website Features
The main features from the new SandicorMLS website offer the ability to:
- Sign in or register
- Search for homes for sale
- Find open houses
- Find real estate agents
The agent search feature might actually be a useful tool for real estate investors looking to connect with local Realtors. However, again, it might be difficult to pinpoint any Realtors that are actually doing business. Most agents had only one listing. The others, including an agent for Berkshire Hathaway, had zero listings. Perhaps they are all buyers’ agents. It might help their personal branding if that was explained upfront.
Agent and broker phone numbers are also displayed next to home listings. As is a standard contact form. The home search feature appears very basic and easy to use, though could load faster. Users can search by price, bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet, dates, and features.
Confusion vs. Simplicity in Real Estate Websites Today
Launching a real estate website can appear extremely confusing. While Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com keep battling for dominance, there are many debates over accuracy and where the best resources are to be found. The general consensus is split between pros feeling they should be on the big sites in order to get visibility, but knowing they are only hurting themselves, and perhaps pricing themselves out of the business by doing so.
It is also believed that while the big online real estate portals might generate a lot of traffic, the majority of serious home buyers and sellers ultimately gravitate to local real estate websites in order to hone in on the most accurate info, and connect with local experts.
The challenge of creating a new real estate website appears to have been complicated even further by new mobile responsive sites, HTML 5 designs, and an ever growing list of internet domain extensions. Now in addition to numerous local extensions there is now “dot real estate” and “dot Realtor” domains. Reportedly, those agents that have looked into them and commented online so far haven’t found the value they hoped for. Sandicor MLS opted to go with the traditional “dot com” extension.
Access to the House Deals and Solutions Home Buyers and Real Estate Investors Want
Data from Sandicor suggest that there are potentially a significant number of San Diego County properties not available through the MLS. This is particularly true of the value deals that many Southern California home buyers and real estate investors are looking for. Those seeking off-market deals with less competition, wholesale properties, and even freshly rehabbed turnkey properties may still need to turn to local San Diego real estate investment firms.
While Sandicormls.com is certainly worth investigating in for local real estate investors, other sources are still critical for sourcing the best deals and income producing real estate.