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dsSearchAgent IDX

November 11 2009

dsSearchAgent is designed around Web 2.0 features that make connections and engagement between the consumer and the agent seamless. This product is built from the ground up to be a map-based search solution. Sliders and features that allow the consumer to narrow their search criteria are dressed along the left side of the map for ease of use. This design is not only very functional, but it allows the consumer to view more property information without scrolling down the page.

Like most IDX solutions, dsSearchAgent has many features that encourage consumers to register to the website to access helpful property search tools. For example, customers can save a search and get listing alerts. dsSearchAgent goes even further by allowing the consumer to get the information in the form of an RSS Feed as well as email. Customers can also register to add their own notes to property. The agent back office control panel allows for easy access to customer searches, favorites, and viewing patterns. There are also some nice features that allow agents to organize leads.

Ease of Use

Be sure to check with your MLS before assuming that Diverse Solutions is available in your market. An IDX license agreement is usually required by MLS, so you may need to complete that agreement before purchasing. Once the proper forms are in place, you may fax them along with your order to Diverse Solutions. This holds true of all IDX solutions. Once you have signed up and registered, you will be provided with your login and custom links to insert into your website.

The product itself is very easy to use. dsSearchAgent contains a comprehensive list of on screen tips that make navigation on the map and the narrowing of search preferences simple and easy. Intuitively the map view changes dynamically according to the consumer’s behavior. For example, when you mouseover a listing, a thumbnail of detail is presented. If you click on the listing, it pulls up the listing detail page. By clicking the map tab, it takes you back to your search results.

Key Features

dsSearchAgent is loaded with features. Map Search is offered standard with this product whereas many IDX vendors apply additional charges. They rely on Google Maps as the primary way for searching and displaying listing data, but also feature Google’s satellite and hybrid map options. You will notice that when the map is zoomed out, the group listings together, it is not until you refine your search that you begin to see properties. When you mouseover grouped listings, it displays the number of listings, along with average and median home prices.

Where available, dsSearchAgent also combines non-IDX listing information that is helpful for consumers. For example, foreclosure data, walkscore data and even zestimates are incorporated into the property search. A depth of neighborhood, shopping and restaurant information is provided through integration with Sperling’s Best Places. School information is provided by Great Schools.

Customers have the ability to save their search, save listings to their favorites folder with property notes, and receive automatic notifications of new listings that match their saved search by RSS and email. dsSearchAgent was among the first to offer the RSS feature in IDX. Other Web 2.0 features include the ability to bookmark a listing using the Dwellicious social bookmarking tool for real estate. There is also an integrated chat feature available for agents who want to make themselves available live to consumers while they search.

The listing detail page is very well presented and the information is easy to review. The listing photos play as a slideshow, and a larger image viewer can be accessed with a click. In many ways, this feature is like having a virtual tour on every listing.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This property search solution is definitely designed for the cool kids of real estate. It is deeply rooted in offering some of the most modern property search features available on the Internet. This may also be a weakness for some visitors – although RSS and social bookmarking are cutting edge, they may be confusing to unsophisticated Internet users. Be sure to try it out yourself. You will find the staff at Diverse Solutions very knowledgeable and helpful when you call.