In the United States relying on Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, or a maze of cookie cutter agency sites like Coldwell Banker or Century 21, the search for online property is pretty much a pat operation. At least for now, that is. Looking around the world for property is a whole different ballgame though.
Below you will find some of the online players in the International real estate market. These are the good, bad, and even ugly of world property portals. Part I of the series will be European sites ranked high in the various search engine rankings.
If you search for international property online chances are one of the first real estate portals you'll come across will be World Properties. And if you look for Europe homes etc. the EU contingent will certainly appear.
Not the pretties website ever launced, World Properties is however complete and loaded with listings. Five language versions, a lot of decent video and images, and property search powered by Proxio that is adequate, we found some good listings right here in Rhineland Pfalz in Germany where are offices are located. The company has some social media engagement, fair at best, but better than most US local agents. Ease of use and no frills, we rate this site 5 of 10.
There's room for improvement.
The name kind of says it all, even if the design says Web 1.0. Planet Pads is an International property portal. Sort of. A visitor can actually find a place to buy here, but as to the accuracy of the listings, or the quality of the data, this aspect is anyone's guess. This is the problem with really bad websites, the credibility of the information is suspect no matter how accurate the info is. Planet Pads offers two listings with 3 beds and 2 baths in Germany. One, it so happens, is in Crete.
For the record Elounda is a town on the extreme Eastern coast of this Mediterranean Island. No social media effort at all, not optimized for the most recent browsers (Chrome in my case), a slow server (site loads like molassis), and just down home ugliness equals... This portal scored 2 of 10.
This domain deserves a complete site revamp.
Only in Italian, and only for Italians we guess, this real estate portal is none the less superb compared to many competitors. Not cutting edge, so to speak, the site does allow for easy search and discover of a vast number of properties. We elected to look for some Rome villas and homes. A meta-search portal in reality, house hunts end up at places like www.idealista.it and etc. The point is though, users can get what they are looking for, and pretty fast and accurately too.
Despite numerous flaws, the Italian Immobilmente portal works nicely. No social buttons or engagement is apparent on the search aspect, but a visit to the news segment reveals connectivity. I suggest those looking for property here hit the city tag cloud and go. As for their rating, it is taken down by not being multilingual and for a sluggish UI. Rating is 6 of 10.
A bit of refinement and this would be Europe's best property site.
In the absence of any real European niche competitor to Zillow etc. Netherlands property portal Funda is a sure bet to help peeps looking for houses in Holland and there about. If simple and minimalism is your bag, for only €289,000 euro you too can own a bit of Amsterdam lushness. Search is quick, painless, and meaningful here. Funda, run by the biggest Dutch broker organization NVM, is on a par with almost any US organization portal.
Hook up with Funda's Twitter feed here, Facebook too, map search, all the simplicity and function you need, Funda has it. As for depth and advise? Well, the site is not multilingual that we can tell, so. Rating is 6.5 of 10.
Expand to France and Germany, French and German, and make more friends.
This is the best European property portal we have found thus far. Big images, quick and slick UI, and best of all properties to get all fuzzy about, The Move Channel does a good job where others fail miserably. Sharing of properties via vitrually any sane social network shows the company knows its business. So do a lot of other features too. While the design could be prettier, to each his own is a good way to look at that aspect.
I particularly like the use of Pinterest and video via their own channel on YouTube. Embedding of the property videos could be made easier, but in total these guys make property hunting Italy or anywhere in Europe a breeze. Easy filtering produces just what any looker is looking for. The image below shows most elements plus a nice penthouse we might even afford. These guys would be a 9.5 but their social presence is hidden. Their rating is 8 of 10, for obvious reasons.
Catch these guys if you can world.
Next up we'll bring you online property portals of Latin America, but for now if you can think of any European ones we missed, please let us know.
Image credit: Europe real estate via © samott - Fotolia.com