Online real estate search tools are reaching levels of sophistication that are surely enough to make some first-time buyers’ heads spin.
On Zillow, for example, users may search for listings based not only on price and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but also on sale, rent or foreclosure status; property type; home size; lot size; age; days on the market; school attendance boundaries; Zestimates and even keywords.
Against this backdrop, Doorsteps, an online tool owned by realtor.com operator Move that guides first-time homebuyers through the homebuying process, has unveiled a mobile search app that strips house hunting down to its essentials by prompting users to browse for homes based simply on what they look like.
Instead of asking buyers to input criteria like their desired school quality and lot size, Doorsteps Swipe nudges users into the search process by showing exterior shots and addresses of listings and asking them to either “like” or dismiss the listings based on that content alone.
Users may swipe right or click a thumbs-up icon to “like” a listing, and may swipe left or click a thumbs-down icon to dismiss it. After a user likes five listings, the app then offers the option to view reports that show the average price, number of bedrooms and year built of the listings they liked.
The goal is to make online real estate search very approachable, and help would-be buyers get a bead on the type of home they’re after.
“The online home search for someone very early in their search is more fun when there’s a whole lot less to decide,” said Michele Serro, founder of Doorsteps. “The homes each user collects might not necessarily represent the homes they will actually buy, but rather the ones that will help them make the best decision for tomorrow.”
Users may search for listings, which are sourced from Doorsteps’ sister company, realtor.com, in their immediate surroundings or in specified areas. If that’s too much to think about, they can even just tap “surprise me” to search in random locations.
The app also lets users obtain more detailed information on properties by tapping on photos to view listing pages.
On listing pages, users may tap an inquire option that pulls up a listing’s MLS ID number, brokerage name, listing agent and the contact information of the listing agent. From that page, users can immediately contact the agent by tapping an email or call option.
Swipe also lets users conduct more advanced searches using some filter options, “but part of the learning and discovery process with Swipe is not using those filters in the beginning,” said Doorsteps spokesperson Lindsey Palmer.