There’s always something to howl about

Why Are We Wasting Our Time?

Over the past few days, Redfin got into it with a bunch of other real estate websites. What else is new?

In an argument about who has the most homes for sale, which began on TechCrunch and continued on Redfin’s blog, one participant argued that what consumers really care about is advanced filtering options, not inventory.

Which got us thinking. We spend a fair bit of time on advanced filtering options. And we’ve always thought we need to spend more: every week, we get requests for filters on parking, townhouses, waterfront location (Seattle), historic designation (DC), pool (LA).

So Redfin’s Jim Lamb just analyzed 70,000 Redfin searches from Thursday, August 21 to find out which of’s search filters people really use. It’s an analysis we’ve done before, to figure out whether a listing gets seen more if it’s priced to be included in web searches, like at $449,500 rather than $450,100.

What we learned last night was a little demoralizing. People filter on price, beds, baths, sometimes square feet, and new (or very old) listings, but not much else:

Redfin\'s Search Options

  • Price: Min 24.8%; Max 53.9%
  • Beds: Min 32.8%
  • Baths: Min 21.4%
  • Square Feet: Min 15.1%; Max 2.4%
  • Days on Redfin: 12.7% (this would include requests for new listings, listing on Redfin more than 45 days, or filters on on a specific number of days on Redfin; I suspect that almost all the volume comes from request for new listings)

On looking at this, Matt Goyer said, “Who doesn’t filter on square footage?” I could only sadly shake my head. Consumers completely skip the fancy stuff:

  • Lot Size: Min 5.5%; Max 0.55%
  • Year Built: Min 5.4%; Max 1.1%
  • Has view: 1.1%
  • New construction: 0.24%
  • Fixer-uppers: 0.36%
  • Open houses: 0.7%

So even as we argued that filtering options aren’t as important as inventory, we didn’t really believe it: our engineers have been hard at work on… you guessed it, more filtering options. Just now, it’s parking & townhouse filters. (Every week, I get a crazy screed from a consumer about how much people hate townhouses… which I read… from my townhouse.)

What do you think? Are we wasting our time? Confusing our consumers? As it is, we worry that the search options — pictured above — are over the top. If you leave a comment, I promise that a dozen insecure Redfin people will read it and argue over it.

PS: Greg, sorry it took me so long to post on Bloodhound. I kept waiting for something as good as the rest of this blog, and finally just decided to go with whatever was nearest at hand.

PPS: has anyone checked out what you can do with Animoto for a listing? Animoto let’s you turn your photos into a music video. It’s kind of cheesy, but easy and fun.

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