I see that I have to find the best real estate search sites for each zip code, and they will probably be very different. There are more than 33,000 zip codes, so it's going to be a lot of work. Any advice on automating it a bit?
Also, how can I let users vote on which RE search sites are the best? Maybe put up/down arrows next to the links, or just track clicks on those links?
the MLS sites go not on zip, nor county, but based on MLS. Each MLS can overlap into multiple county,zip, probably not state though.
Then you have overlapping craiglist 'counties'.
Many sites ignore whole areas of the country (redfin).
In some small areas you almost have to use the MLS sites search engine - a few wont even let realtor.com display thier listings (even though THATS THIER SITE, they wanna hog listings/traffic).
Then there is FSBO - CL, local newspaper sites,plus ebay, plus 100 other 'sell it here' sites.
To get max value of your time, start in large metro areas in CA as that will iron out any issues - CA is so large - we have all the above issues. Some entire states have only one MLS, one zip, one county, and maybe only one local newspaper.
I am imaginging this works like Kayak.com ( a nice site, oddly weird in frames due to similar legal issues I suppose - its like stuck in 1995 internet)
I guess you could start by just coding to search ALL search sites that you can, THEN maybe only show pop ups that have >0 results. Order by importance the sites with the most results - you probably cant show more than 20 results - maybe you could.
Thus maybe little or no filters. Might need to do a pre search on the server, then only launch popup window/frame where result >0.
Craigslist has been actively suing websites that do any kind of filtering or mapping of Craigslist results, so I think I'm limited to creating only the search links that Craigslist uses, but I used to filter out mobile homes and could perhaps make some kind of software that lets you do the filtering in your own browser.
CL trys hard to make sure no one aggregates them. Really its an awsome site. Craig single handedly destroyed the newspaper classified industry. forever. Those guys had a monopoly for like 500 years. pretty amazing yet simple.
Yes, that search does indeed show some houses that are not in the Bay Area at all. It seems to be a flaw in Craigslist search, because they let anyone list any house on whichever part of Craigslist they want. I suspect brokers list far-away houses there just because there are lots of rich people in the Bay Area.
Also, got a no results at forsalebyowner, which might just be the accurate result.