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Royal LePage’s new website: giving Canadians a better way to find real estate

Posted by Phil Soper, Royal LePage Real Estate Services

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Phil Soper, President & CEO, Royal LePage.

Buying a home is typically the largest purchase a family will make in their lifetime. It is no wonder that prospective buyers approach the task of finding their perfect place with such fervour. Today’s house-shoppers seek detailed, current and useful information on prospective properties and neighbourhoods. They are sophisticated users of search technology, but have traditionally been frustrated by the tools available to them. It is with this as a challenge in mind that we tackled a major redesign and rebuild of our popular real estate website, www.royallepage.ca, using Google technology.

The website integrates a new service from the Canadian Real Estate Association called Data Distribution Facility or DDF. Utilizing DDF, which our firm played a significant role in bringing to market, we will more than double the number of home-sale listings on www.royallepage.ca. For the first time, our website will showcase home listings from multiple property brokerage companies, not just Royal LePage, providing consumers with their one-stop real estate resource.

A good part of the magic behind the new www.royallepage.ca is hidden in the site’s architecture. While many real estate websites use Google Maps and Google Places, Royal LePage went a step further by constructing the website with Google Cloud Platform using Google App Engine and Google Cloud Storage. Real estate websites tend to store a large number of property records and photos, and require a large amount of location-based processing to render consumer search results. Utilizing Google Cloud Platform allows us to deliver that critical consumer information quickly and accurately. It will also allow us to scale our performance and our costs effectively as our real estate data and consumer base grows.

Uniquely, the site also employs cutting edge search technology from Google Cloud Platform, which enables consumers to go beyond traditional search to hunt for homes near local landmarks. For example, consumers can search for homes near the CN Tower, near Stanley Park or near Olympic Stadium. This innovative technology brings industry-leading search to the real estate consumer.

Relying heavily on a number of Google technologies, we were able to create an online experience unlike anything previously seen in Canadian real estate. The revamped website utilizes Google Maps and Street View for map-based search with visual assist. Many properties will display a Walkscore® ranking, which helps families understand what can be easily accomplished on foot in the area they are investigating. Additionally, tailored information is available for property listings, including Wikipedia neighbourhood photos and information, agent-produced video and descriptions, an overview of local amenities via Google Places and a list of other properties for sale in the area.

We are thrilled to unveil the new www.royallepage.ca in this, Royal LePage’s centennial year. Our website, powered by Google tools, will enable Canadians to explore their real estate dreams as never before. It will provide quick and efficient delivery of more listings, fresh neighbourhood insights, and extensive property details. It’s all there. Happy home searching!