So, obviously I've become a bit addicted to Yahoo Pipes. This free tool lets you aggregate, organize, and filter data from an unlimited number of RSS feeds and databases and present it in almost any kind of electronic form you can imagine.
I've found a really good use for it, one which is - amazingly - missing from the vast majority of real estate listing sites. Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com and all the others: you are really letting the entire industry down by not having raw MLS data available as an RSS feed! I just could not believe that in an age when so many of us get our data on mobile devices and from feed readers that these firms wouldn't have easily-configurable custom RSS feeds of their listings, but sure enough they don't. Ziprealty is one of the very few to have such a useful feature, and more power to them for it.
Using Ziprealty's listings, house-for-sale posts on Craigslists in a dozen markets and a few other small sites here and there, I've created a Yahoo Pipe that includes only listings self-described as "Craftsman," "Mission," "Prairie," or "bungalow." Now, if I can only figure out how to include photos of each property...
If you are an agent, a broker or an MLS firm, please publish your data as a configurable / custom RSS feed. This way, searches that could take hours can be finished in just a minute or two, and users don't need to revisit the sites every single day - using a service like feedburner or one of the many rss-to-email services, we can be notified only when our search criteria pop up in a market we are interested in, in our price range.
And if you know of any listings services that do issue their data as an RSS feed, please share that info in the comments section below - I'd love to add them to the pipe. Also, let me know if you'd like me to include other cities' Craigslist posts, I can do that pretty easily.
If this tool is useful to you and if you think other folks might find it interesting, please digg it: