A housing problem

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a new project I’m currently working on. It’s a real estate listing website based essentialy on two ideas. Keep in mind this applies only to Portugal, where I’m based.

1. Location is king.
Here in Portugal, I can’t find a real estate search engine that gives me a house’s exact location. I’m not sure why. Maybe realtors prefer it if people are forced to enquire about a house before learning its exact location, so the realtor gets a change to persuade the punter. Perhaps it’s an effort to mask undesirable locations. Whatever the reason, it’s dated. People have come to expect complete information on whatever they’re interested in to be readily available online, so it’s only a matter of time before all real estate listings emulate Redfin and start disclosing full geolocation data.

2. Smartphones are here (and have been for a while).
Why can’t I use my iphone to run a quick search which automatically centers on my current location and displays results on a map? I’m not sure. But the fact is, I can’t. There’s no reason at all for this to be the case, especially in a country where iphones and androids sell like hot cookies.

As ever, the challenge lies not in the technology but in the marketing. With no API to readily consume, I’ll be forced to recruit realtors one by one in order to build enough of a database for the website to be worth the visitors’ time. Ideally, I’d get a few nation-wide real estate agencies to list their inventory with me – and then snowball from there. But that could prove tricky, since I’m only just starting out and have no traffic to show. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, as is the case with all classified ads websites.

Let’s see if I can crack this one.