Yahoo Pipes and Real Estate Search

Reggie Nicolay at Technology for Real Estate has an interesting post title about how Yahoo Pipes could be used to refine real estate search. The post itself does more to explain Yahoo Pipes than how it could be applied to real estate, so I’ll try to build upon the concept here.

A quick refresher on Yahoo Pipes: This is a service from Yahoo that makes it relatively easy to filter content from RSS feeds, combine content from multiple feeds into a new feeds, and many other interesting things that allow you to process information in fresh new and exciting ways. Examples include filtering a group blog’s RSS feed for posts by a specific author, combining a Netflix Feed with an Amazon Affiliate program to create recommendations with affiliate sales, or filter out posts from an author on topics that don’t interest you.

How could this be applied to real estate?

First, few real estate sites have RSS feeds today, to this is an explanation of how to make a technology that doesn’t yet exist in real estate better. Strange as that may sound, the technology itself isn’t new any more. It’s just that real estate is a bit behind when it comes to syndicating content on the web.

Now, imagine you run a search on your favorite real estate site. You’ll probably drill down to an area that interests you using either a map or a zip code query. Perhaps a neighborhood search if you know the names of neighborhoods in the area you’re searching. At that point, you may save that search and subscribe to an RSS feed so you can receive the most recent matching results in your favorite RSS reader.

The problem: You’ll probably receive some false positive results. While you can easily select appropriate specs for things like beds, bath, and price range, it’s tougher to nail down the geography on sites on the market today. For example, I’ve been searching for a home in a narrow North/South area of Minneapolis along the Mississippi River. No site makes it easy for me to select a narrow strip 3-4 blocks wide so I end up with receiving false positive results from properties East or West of my self-defined target area.

Yahoo Pipes to the Rescue

Yahoo Pipes could help clean things up by allowing me to filter out terms that are generating false positives. For example, I could filter out the street names outside of my area. And in my case, I’m interested in living on the Minneapolis side of the river, so I could filter out listings where the city equals “St. Paul.”

Now, I’ll receive new results less often, but when I do they’ll be more relevant to me. Signal to noise ratio improved. Higher satisfaction.

Over time, real estate sites will figure out how to provide more control over search criteria. But for now, Yahoo Pipes is a great way to fine tune your real estate RSS feeds.

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