Homes.com has been running in 4th position in the portal race, tucked in behind Zillow, Realtor, and Trulia. I thought that their old site was fine, but their new site adds in Artificial Intelligence in ways that make the consumer experience fantastic. In a world of sameness, Homes has changed the game.
The first experience for a visitor is incredible. The site is the first major portal to look at my machine’s IP address and make the site conform to what I probably am looking for. In this case, I run my Safari browser in Private Mode and I had not logged in, just visited the site. It knows that my IP address is in Arroyo Grande, CA and pulls up other criteria based upon the average home in my town – three bedrooms around $730,000. Yes, California Home Prices are outrageous, but that is for another day.
By clicking on any of the assumed values, I can change my price, rooms, city, or whatever. You will notice that Homes.com also has added “Count on the Fly.” There are only 45 homes available in my town. Again, inventory in California is shockingly low, but that is also for another day.
The Search Results page is attractive too. You will notice that they used larger fonts, larger buttons, and clear calls to action to generate leads – saving
a search and adding a listing to favorites. They even popped up a box for a few seconds that told me why I should register. For some reason, the map did not zoom to Arroyo Grande or show the outline of the area, which would be cool.
Listing detail pages are clean and they have the traditional three headed monster of advertisers on the right side of the page. The rest of the data on the page is pretty much what you would expect. Like others, it has market stats, public record references, etc.
Another interesting AI feature is “Match.” Here Homes.com tells the consumer that the home matches all or some of their search criteria – like a dating site. It is not exactly Tinder for real estate, but you get the feeling that Homes is trying to match the consumer to their home.
I also noticed Headline Creator, a new feature by Homes that uses AI to create headlines. It looks to me like they are writing “Remodeled 3-Bedroom House in Gated Community,” from keywords in the property remarks. This is pretty asymmetrical to what you see on other sites where they rely on the property address for the headline. I have seen some that say “1599 SqFt House in Arroyo Grande” and others that say “Luxurious 3-bedroom House in Pismo Heights.”
Lastly, the other AI features that I noticed is that they have implemented is photo recognition and probably Google Behavioral Workflow. As I used the site, I was able to search by architectural styles of interest and the site began to learn my preferences
All in All – Homes.com did a pretty darn good job on the redesign and introduced some advanced AI functionality that should make home search more interesting to the consumer. Like all AI powered sites, it should get better as the machines learn the behavior of consumers. I look forward to seeing how it works over time as I continue to use the site over time. Heck, I may even become a lead.