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Fighting Houston’s Commuter Horror Stories: New Real Estate Tool Ranks Houses Based on Commute Times


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HAR commute map

A brand new feature on the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) revamped website allows apartment, condo and house hunters to search by job commute length (how many minutes it will take to get from the new place to their workplace).  This is an important consideration for buyers, HAR learned in a recent consumer survey.

Call the “Drive Time Search,” the filter also includes additional commute search options such as by school, neighborhood place of worship and other important destinations with results based on typical traffic in each area.  The tools are part of HAR’s multiple listing service database expansion to statewide and use technology from logistic company INRIX-which, by the way, now ranks Houston as the 50th most traffic congested city out of 200 large metropolitan areas worldwide.  (Austin stands at No. 10 in that same “Traffic Scorecard.”)

You can take an active commute feature test drive using the beta test now offered as the HAR site is completely overhauled and find out how easy it is to navigate.  Visitors are welcomed with the message:  “We constantly strive to stay ahead of the cur and provide the best online experience and resources for real estate consumers.  With that in mind, we have been developing a “new” HAR.com with new features, data and real estate listings from across the state of Texas.”

The “Drive Time Search” button, complete with a photograph of heavy traffic, appears right away, along with other illustrated buttons such as “Open House,” “Commercial Real Estate,” “International Real Estate” and “Find a Pro.”  Click the drive search to open the next step and actually enter your preferences, with commute options of 15, 30 and 45 minutes and a range of arrival times.  Also listed on the page are the commonly listed variables:  Status (for sale vs. for rent), minimum and maximum price ranges, square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  Hit “Search,” and you’ve arrived to a Google map outlining the area and pinpointing the different properties available within the selected drive time.  Click on a specific property to view a general description and link to the full listing,

“This information is so valuable that we not only placed the functionality on the front page of our site but also on every detailed listing page, school page, apartment detailed page, home value page and sold detailed page,” Nancy Furst, HAR Chairwoman, said in a statement.  “Texans are so dependent on their cars that it only makes sense that consumers should be able to conduct a real estate search based on their commute time.”

Info courtesy of Houston Association of Realtors and Culture Map Houston

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