A 21st Century Way To Search
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A 21st Century Way To Search

Photo by William Self from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
It seems like everyone in the city is looking for a new place to live. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition to find that oh-so-perfect abode, and you’ve only got a few (relatively meagre) resources at your disposal to help you in your search. Luckily for you, we have your back.

By now, you’re all probably pretty familiar with the debacle that is mls.ca, and we told you way back in the day about housing123.com, which we liked very much indeed. You can also get your search on at househunting.ca, ren.ca, and of course viewit.ca, for all you renters.
Well, a new player in the house-hunting game has entered the fray. Century 21 has recently revamped their website. Is this fresh-faced competitor ready to contend for the title of “Best Housing Search Website On The Internet In Canada For Canadians”?
housing_search_Mohindra_5Dec07.jpgTo their credit, Century 21 took some of the good stuff you liked about housing123.com (i.e. plotting their matching properties to a Google Map and not sucking as hard as mls.ca) and added a much more polished interface. Still missing in action, however, is the useful neighbourhood/cross-streets search function we love so dearly on housing123.com.
The site creators incorporated a couple of “value-added” features, such as an agent and agency directory search (right) that’s actually kind of nifty. You can also click on an agent’s picture to see a summary of the properties they’ve sold, which are also plotted to the map (the agents likely have to pay extra for that). This feature is a pretty good idea, but it didn’t work for most of the agents we clicked on, and getting back to your original search page was…well, we’ll let you know when we get back to our original search page. They also included a blog, which at this point looks to be more of a clearing house for official Century 21 press releases than anything else. They’re trying though, bless their hearts.
What you’re all really interested in, however, are search results. The unfortunate fact is that the new Century 21 site doesn’t list nearly as many hits as housing123…unless we were searching incorrectly. (That’s certainly not impossible, but if we got it wrong, who’s to say the average user won’t do the same?) Compare the following screenshots, both focused on King and Spadina; on the left—housing123.com, and on the right—century21.ca:
To be fair, it would make sense that Century 21 is only listing the properties they represent, making this site more useful for people who plan to be, or already are, Century 21 clients. So where does that leave the rest of us? When used in conjunction with the other resources available, this site still might help you find the place of your dreams. Too bad you still can’t afford it.