Henry Ford was a leader of American innovation, in both product and production, every bit as much as Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos have been of late. But unlike the two modern day innovators, Ford was slow to adapt, as evidenced by his fossilizing comment “People can have a Ford in any color they want, so long as it is black.” That failure to continue to grow and nurture an innovative and market-sensitive culture almost caused Ford to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Long before the pandemic, consumers worldwide have been impacted by what has been termed the “Amazon Effect,” which is the influence online, e-commerce or the digital marketplace has had on traditional business, shopping patterns and customer expectations. The sheltering and shutdowns of 2020 have only accelerated this trend. And, the businesses that were savvy enough to invest time and resources to catch and take advantage of this tsunami are now reaping the benefits.
Realizing the need to adapt and respond to consumer trends, in 2019, Greg Ellingson, founder of Ellingson Properties in Rockledge, invested over $50,000 along with thousands of programming and testing hours to complete a reinvention of the company’s website, www.gregellingson.com.
Originally launched in 2009, the company’s website – at the time – was considered state- of-the-art. Much has changed in the decade since, and trying to continually update an aging platform was not what Ellingson saw as being market responsive, nor would live up to his company mantra of “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Results.”
Classic Design, Cutting Edge
“I liked our old website, it was like a beautiful home,” Ellingson said. “But we needed to take that estate home, built say in the 1970’s, and turn it into a state of the art, ‘smart home.’ We found that the best way to accomplish that goal was to start from scratch and build a completely new website.”
Also, rather than build their website on preexisting templates, Ellingson decided to start anew and build a new website from the ground up. There were a number of challenges to consider: the site needed to be as user friendly as possible – regardless of the platform and device being used, speed and security issues needed to be maximized so clients would not waste time dealing with frustrating delays, hackers or viruses.
To address this last point, Ellingson opted for a dedicated server to house the site, which increases speed and efficiency while reducing the potential virus spread, and built the entire platform using proprietary code, making it extremely difficult to hack.
The upgrades and adaptation came at a heavy investment cost, but there’s no denying the results when you visit the site, which is robust, responsive and beautifully designed.
As the market and Ellingson Properties has evolved, the new site is an unmatched tool for buyers and sellers. Another growing group of clients Ellingson is working with includes people looking for assistance with property management. Mary McCarthy, who leads the Business Analysis efforts at Ellingson Properties, employed her background as an engineer to guide the web site project and was particularly excited about the property management features.
According to McCarthy, a growing number of home buyers are not selling their old properties but are maintaining them as rentals to provide an income stream and anchor investment opportunities.
Rather than deal with particulars themselves, many are searching for assistance to manage these properties. That’s where Ellingson steps up. “We currently manage over 150 properties, so we studied some of the most interactive, user-friendly property management sites in the country,” she said.
“We selected an online platform that makes things such as making payments and scheduling repairs and maintenance with vendors efficient and painless, for tenants, owners and managers. Everything is handled [virtually], from scheduling to billing, with a kind of built in ‘Angie’s List’ to ensure we execute to our owner’s requirements. Also, all the consuming monthly and annually reporting is as easy as a simple push of a button.”
The primary purpose of the new website is to empower buyers and sellers with the knowledge they need to make real estate transactions as fulfilling and stress free as possible. To do this Ellingson weighed several elements that clients are looking for.
MARKET TRENDS: Real Estate is very fluid, so it is important for consumers to have a pulse on the market. For instance, interest rates continue to be at historic lows, promising affordability and more home for your money than in previous times.
LOCATION, LOCATION: Even for people who are moving within the county, there is a diverse offering within the Space Coast market that is hard to find anywhere in the country. Whatever a buyer is looking for, from proximity to natural amenities like the Indian River or the Atlantic Ocean, to schools, neighborhoods, or places of employment, are all factors that play into home purchasing. Ellingson’s site provides easy tools to understand all the options and what works for the unique aspirations each consumer has.
FINDING THE MATCH: Home styles vary widely across America and since people come here from around the country, and even around the world, they often are looking for certain design concepts while also shopping for particular price points. Ellingson Properties’ new site helps with this process and does more: their in-house design center helps buyers not only see the house that is, but also what it could be–from a home makeover perspective . Often a dowdy, dated home can be transformed into the showplace of their dreams, with the right creative guidance, which Ellingson Properties provides.
ADA: One other aspect of the site that Ellingson is especially proud of is its compliance with ADA guidelines, which works to meet the needs and expectations of persons with disabilities. Whether a consumer has specialized audio or visual needs, or are searching for homes with ADA accessibility, Ellingson has taken steps to meet these needs.
“We set our sights on being a full-service real estate firm for people new to the area or for those who are making home or lifestyle changes, but want to keep living on the Space Coast,” Ellingson said. “Our investment in this digital platform, coupled with the personal and professional services our people bring to every client, whether buying or selling, we think will create a unique and positive experience.”
PREFERRED VENDOR LIST:
Whether you need screens on your porch repaired or an air conditioner replaced, new residents often do not know where to turn to get recommendations for these essential services. After getting thousands of requests for referrals over the years, Ellingson Properties included a well-vetted Preferred Vendor List on their new website. With nearly 70 different categories from Appliances and Cabinetry to Docks and Pools, this list is an invaluable resource, even for people who have lived here for years.
Clients moving to Brevard can be overwhelmed by trying to decide where to live. What’s in my price range? How close to work do I want to live? Being able to narrow down your home search based on location can be very helpful. To that end, Ellingson Properties’ new website has created a guide to help clients do research on Brevard neighborhoods from the comfort of their own home….Map of the county displays specific regions or cities. Clients can compare and contrast potential locations to live. For example, what is the difference between Suntree and Viera? Click on the Viera tab and users are presented with information describing the area, including amenities, history, types of housing and images. If Viera is a region of interest, the client can scroll down on the page and look at popular neighborhoods or subdivisions. Drilling down there is more information, pictures and statistics specific to that neighborhood as well as links to all available homes for sale. The same information can be found by bypassing the map and going to Community Search under the PROPERTIES tab, then selecting the region of interest.t is an invaluable resource, even for people who have lived here for years.