Homefinder site wins award | SteamboatToday.com
Tamera Manzanares

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Homefinder site wins award

Pilot & Today real estate Web page recognized as nation's best shopping site

SteamboatHomefinder.com, the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s real estate Web site, is a key resource for buyers looking for Routt County properties.

But homebuyers aren’t alone in realizing the site’s convenience and value.

Earlier this month, Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek magazines awarded the site an EPpy Award for Best Internet Shopping service.

The award was presented to the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s parent company, WorldWest LLC based in Lawrence, Kan., at the Interactive Media Conference and Trade Show in New Orleans.

Although the site has long provided information about local properties to prospective buyers, the newspaper widened the site’s scope in 2003 through a partnership with the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors.

The result was a new site with updated information on every property listed with the board’s Multiple Listing Service. That helped garner the site a Digital Edge Award for Best Real Estate Site from the Newspaper Association of America earlier this year.

“It’s nice to be recognized for the hard work we put into the site,” said Suzanne Schlicht, publisher of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. “I think it shows the unique partnership between the Board of Realtors and the newspaper in bringing a good product to the consumer.”

SteamboatHomefinder.com gets an average of 16,000 visitor hits on properties each month. That does not include visits from people accessing maps, community and neighborhood information, loan and financing tips and other helpful resources on the site.

To make searching for properties as easy as possible, the site allows visitors to set preferences for price range, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, proximity to schools and Realtors.

Searchers also can keep track of desirable properties in portfolios and arrange to receive e-mails about new listings fitting their parameters.

“I’ve had clients just rave about the information on the Homefinder site,” said Wendy Fisher, owner and broker of Anchor Realty. “They love the maps, community information and virtual tours.”

SteamboatHomefinder.com competed with two other media-affiliated shopping Web sites — PalmBeachPost.com and phillyBurbs.com — for Best Internet Shopping Service with fewer than 1 million unique monthly readers.

“With three entries, this is the stand-out winner by a long shot,” one contest judge wrote. “There is … everything a homebuyer would want to know before buying a house in Steamboat.”

The site also benefits second-home owners and other residents who visit the site regularly to review real estate sales, building permits, property profiles and real estate news from the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

“People are very interested in real estate,” Fisher said.

With direct links to Realtors and company Web sites, the site has been a valuable tool for the local real estate industry. In addition to connecting Realtors with prospective clients, the site also provides useful statistics about visitor hits on each property.

“It really gives us information on where we are in the market,” Fisher said.