The following story was written by Stewart Lytle and appeared on the front page of the DFW Real Estate Finder section of The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, Aug. 26:
With an estimated 95 percent of all homebuyers starting their home search online, Ebby Halliday Realtors considers a strong website a very high priority. The redesigned ebby.com features numerous innovative new home-search features sure to please even the most-discerning buyers.
Like the vast majority of today s house hunters, Cathy Elster started looking for her and her husband s dream home online. After searching through several of the many real estate websites available at her fingertips, she decided to use ebby.com, although she was not working with an Ebby Halliday agent.
When visiting other websites, Elster had become frustrated when she spotted the perfect home, only to have it go under contract before she and her husband could make an offer. They felt even worse after finding out that a home presented as an active listing had, in fact, been under contract for weeks.
The Ebby site is very good at updating, particularly in getting photos posted quickly, Elster says.
The Elsters want to live in Plano or McKinney. They re looking for a three-bedroom home in the $300,000-range, ideally with a pool and a backyard large enough for their two sizable dogs.
I am very picky, Elster, a kindergarten teacher, says.
The Ebby site allows her to view listings by satellite and check out the size of the yard. She also likes the Advanced Search features, which let her input criteria and see only the homes that fit her choices. Elster signed up for daily email alerts one for Plano and the other for McKinney which provide details on new listings and indicate which homes are off the market or have been reduced in price. She hasn t found the perfect home yet. But she keeps looking daily.
Elster is one of approximately 7,200 individuals who visit ebby.com about 17,000 times each day, June Feltman, vice president for special projects, says.
Long before the Internet became essential to the homebuying business, Ebby Halliday Realtors had positioned itself as a technology leader. The 67-year-old company launched its first website in 1996, placing it at the forefront of Internet commerce.
Feltman and Randall Graham, vice president and marketing director, have made vast improvements to the Ebby site over the past 15 years. This year, they undertook a total redesign, using a respected website-building company that specializes in constantly improving technology for an invited few real estate brokerages.
Feltman is very excited about the new ebby.com.
It s wonderful, she says, adding that one of her favorite features is the Proximity Search, which identifies homes within a specific distance of work, schools, parks, medical care, friends and family. There is also a Map Search that employs a tool to draw boundaries around the desired location, as well as a design-your-own Open House Tour.
At Ebby Halliday Realtors, we are actively pursuing online features that will continue to make ebby.com the go-to source for North Texas real estate, Feltman says. Try it for yourself. You ll discover why so many buyers and sellers are so excited about the new ebby.com.