Century 21 Real Estate LLC today launches a redesigned website and a series of mobile apps, including a new version of its iPhone app and its first apps for Android, BlackBerry and Palm devices.

The site relaunch, the first since 2008, adds rental properties that are represented by Century 21 real estate professionals and those featured in multiple listing services.

The new site also offers an auto-suggest option that provides a list of suggested locations as users type a property search query.

For example, a partial search for the letters "arkan" displays a list that includes Arkansaw, Wis.; Arkansas City, Kan.; and Arkansas state — and the site displays the number of for-sale listings, rental listings, Century 21 agents and offices in that market area, and a link to area information that includes demographic data and charts provided by Onboard Informatics and an interactive map by Bing.

The relaunched Century21.com website also features additional school data, said Michael Callaghan, Century 21’s senior vice president for digital and strategic marketing.

In January, Century 21, a subsidiary of global real estate brokerage and franchise company Realogy Corp., became the first national franchise company to take advantage of a National Association of Realtors-approved policy allowing national franchisors to pool IDX listings from across their brokerage networks to display on the initial search results pages of their real estate search sites.

That functionality, which brings a broader set of properties to initial search results at Century21.com — including those listed by other brokers who share listings with Century 21 brokers via Internet Data Exchange agreements at MLSs across the country — has contributed to a 33 percent increase in the conversion rate of visitors to the Century21.com site, Callaghan said, and that functionality continues with the new site.

Borrowing from the Bing.com search site’s design, the new Century21.com site features a large background image. Additionally, the site now features brighter colors and the site is incorporating information from Wikipedia and images from Panoramio.com.

The focus of the new site is definitely on the property search tool, said Callaghan. "That’s why the consumer is there." Tools to customize the search are featured at the left side of the page. There are plans to add neighborhood-based search to the site, Callaghan said.

Century 21 has invested in a set of automated image filters that are intended to enhance the appearance of digital property photos for all Century 21 listings that appear at its website, Callaghan said, and there is a mandate for each property to have a minimum six property photos to be displayed at the site, with no upper limit.

"We also take those images and automatically generate a video," Callaghan said, which features music. Those videos are syndicated to YouTube and DailyMotion.com.

The additional of rental properties at the site is a response to a surge in consumer inquiries about rental properties, Callaghan said.

Century 21 partnered with Smarter Agent to adapt and customize its mobile apps. "The partnership will continue with additional customized versions going forward," Callaghan said.

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