This post will give you more information on how to use the home search tool to do what you want it to do. It is a very powerful bit of technology and the most user friendly one we could find, and there are ways to make it even easier to use. Below are a few tips.
Search Criteria Input:
Instead of overwhelming visitors with a sea of text-boxes, check boxes, and city selection drop downs, we choose to keep things simple yet powerful. By default, our search tool presents visitors with a number of different "sliders" that visitors can drag and drop with their mouse to narrow down their search. Visitors are also given the option to instead use text boxes to input their search information if they so choose.
While other search tools use clunky drop down menus and large multi-select boxes to let visitors select the cities, we implemented a location search box that will instantly show the matching cities, communities, tracts, neighborhoods, and zip codes as soon as a visitor begins to type. Visitors can then continue typing while looking at the suggestions, or they can use their mouse or keyboard to select one of the locations in the auto-complete box. This approach allows visitors to find properties in certain areas very quickly.
Search Within Map Area:
It's often more convenient to search for properties within a map area instead of searching within the confines of a certain city, neighborhood, or other location. Here, visitors can create their search criteria and then place a check in the check box to search only within their current map view. Visitors can also search within certain parts of cities, tracts, neighborhoods, communities, or zips by specifying that criteria in addition to this option. Using this feature is especially helpful with larger cities like Phoenix, cities with differing tax rates, or when visitors want to search for properties close to a certain school or employer.
"Quick Find" Search Box:
Sometimes visitors just want to quickly jump to a particular city or zip code within the map, or they already know the MLS number of a listing that they liked before. Using the "quick find" search box at the top-right of the map, a visitor can simply start typing the name of a city or zip code or the start of an MLS number, find what they are looking for in the auto complete drop down box, and hit enter. Without leaving the page, the visitors map will instantly zoom into the desired city or zip; if they entered an MLS number, the property will be instantly loaded in the "Details" tab.
Utilizing advanced mathematics and the standard property data that ARMLS provides us with, we are able to calculate the centers and general bounds of each city. Using this data, our search tool intelligently places a certain number of city markers on the map at the center of each city. When the visitor hovers over one of these markers, the city name will appear along with the total number of listings for that city, the median home price, and the mean home price. Upon clicking on one of the markers, the visitor's map is instantly changed to focus on that city.
You will find even more help on the search site too. We hope this info helps and have fun searching for your new place.