Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Is There Room For DotHomes?

Already a two-time top award-winner, a new, British-made home listing search engine for The States has been dubbed "The Google Of Property."

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - Is there room for yet another real estate listings Web site?

You bet, if it's packing a search engine as powerful as Google's.

That's what Douglas de Jager was counting on when he launched an American-version of DotHomes .

DotHomes uses super-powered search algorithms to pump out listings of homes as fast as you can type in a ZIP code.

And the real estate industry won't have to lift a finger or pay a dime to add listings.

Instead of relying upon brokers, agents and multiple listing services to supply listings, often for a fee, DotHomes has its own search machine to reach out and grab listings from wherever they appear online.

Just type in a city, ZIP code, street name, price range or other search terms and the listings, as well as rental units, pop up in an instant. The search is amazingly fast. You can narrow your search by the number of bedrooms, baths, how long the home has been for sale and other factors.

Each listing comes with a photo, a brief description, a Google locator map and a link directly to the original listing on the real estate agent's or broker's Web site.

The site has been dubbed "The Google Of Property" because it appears to be the property of Google.

It isn't, but there actually is a nod to Google in DotHomes' "I'm Feeling Wealthy" button. Click it and you get the most expensive listing in a city or neighborhood.

London-based BytePlay launched DotHomes in the U.S. after successes with other DotHomes sites in Great Britain and South Africa.

With approximately 1.5 million U.S. listings, DotHomes competes with Web sites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com and other alternatives to Realtor.com.

So how will DotHomes pay the dotbills?

De Jager hopes to persuade the real estate industry -- recently suffering declining commissions -- to advertise with Dot-Homes. He says a new business model is just what the market needs.

Last summer Brit newspaper The Guardian said DotHomes was one of its Top 10 dotcoms to watch. Late last year, Esquire magazine gave DotHomes the nod as a Best New Idea at its Man at the Top Awards.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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