Our first Real Estate IDX website for the Charleston, SC area has gone live -- MarshallWalker.com
Marshall Walker, of MarshallWalker.com has been a true champ to us this past week by submitting quality bug reports and many product improvement ideas while we built his site. The process from start to finish took roughly a week and involved a complete conversion of his old site's table layout to CSS, creating a custom RETS parser, geocoder, and a ton of other stuff. It would of went alot smoother had we had the ftp data feed, but since CTAR is moving to RETS only in January, we figured we would get a headstart and dive right in.
The major goal for marshallwalker.com was to have features that benefits Marshall's clients more than focusing on "pretty" tools for the agent. We know that with most Real Estate boards the agent is provided with a number of tools they can use but when it comes to advertising for their clients and gaining the trust of new clients the agents are left to their own creativity. Luckily, our product doesn't require a degree in computer science to use -- It's not complicated, and most of all its not a bloated piece of software.
One of the other difficulties was grabbing pictures through RETS. The process literally takes days when grabbing a full feed. This made updates a nightmare and unmanagable. An alternative was to grab the "Media" type through RETS and create custom parsers to parse picture names into our main properties table. This way we know how many images each property has without having to search a database of 500,000+ records each time.
Another major roadblock we encountered was that the feed lacked fields we desperately needed such as listing date, latitiude and longitude. We had to create some custom code during the feed parsing process to check for previous properties to update or new properties to give a listing date to. For the Search By Map, we needed lat/lon to map properties on the google maps. So once again, we had to create a geocode system to handle the geocoding of addresses.
The good news by doing all this is, that we've got our data feed processing down to a science and should be able to move into new boards alot easier than we thought.
So with that said,
Welcome aboard, Charleston, SC
Welcome aboard, Marshall Walker