IsaBell K. Horsley Real Estate (Horsley) has been helping homebuyers find their waterfront dream homes in the beautiful Chesapeake Bay area since 1975. More than 40 years after IsaBell Horsley opened her first real estate office in an old two-room gas station, the family-owned agency has expanded to include four locations strategically placed to provide exceptional service throughout the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Horsley’s expertise encompasses more than just the ins and outs of real estate: Each agent understands the joy of life on the waterways and is eager to share the charms of the lifestyle with their buyers, while also working hard to make the sales process as seamless as possible for their sellers. Horsley provides full-service real estate solutions with a local’s touch, and that makes all the difference.
Horsley approached COLAB with the goal of making their website a more efficient, user-friendly tool to direct visitors to the right place to answer their real estate questions. The primary purpose for redesigning the site was to guide prospective home buyers to listings that met the specific features they were interested in when searching for a new home. Our first challenge was to understand all the variables that home buyers consider during their search, and to present those options in a clear, concise manner to allow them to hone in on the right result.
Creating a comprehensive listing search tool was vital, but equally as important to Horsley was ensuring in-house staff would have the capability to easily manage their listings and other site content through a user-friendly content management system. Making this process as simple as possible would ensure the site could reflect the most recent status of each home and allow staff to focus more of their energy on building relationships.
Finally, Horsley engaged us to bring their website up to speed with modern design and development trends. The site needed to reflect the professionalism and quality associated with the Horsley name without taking attention away from the beauty and sophistication of the listed properties.
With guidance from Horsley on how they managed their listings, we set out to create a robust property search tool to allow users to filter by multiple variables including location, price, agent name, or even the address or MLS number of specific properties for visitors further along in the search process.
To bring more attention to the visual aspect of a home search, we included a “Photo View” snapshot of listing results with property photography, while also offering a “List View” to users looking for a faster way to compare multiple properties at a glance.
Once visitors arrive at their desired listing, they have a wealth of property information at their disposal. In addition to a featured photo and an overview of the listing, property pages include information and galleries for the interior and exterior of the home, a map and description of the surrounding area, and contact information for the agent(s) managing the listing. We included a “sticky” menu for users to quickly navigate to their desired section of the listing, and also anchored the agent details to make reaching out as easy as possible no matter where they are on the page.
The site’s key features are simple to use on tablet and mobile devices as well, so home searches can be conducted on the go. From a content management perspective, we created a custom post type to allow Horsley staff to create, update and remove listings all in one place, without needing to use any code so listings can evolve online as quickly as they do in the field.
Agent bios and noteworthy information for buyers and sellers has also taken a prominent place in the site’s navigation, as well as a blog focused on the lifestyle and events that make the Chesapeake Bay area so appealing.
The redesigned website has been a major success for Horsley. Not only can visitors to the site more easily find the information that is most valuable to them, staff can also manage changes on the site quickly to provide the most up-to-date information to their audience.