Newspaper Web site honored

Steamboat Homefinder wins national award from NAA

Steamboat Homefinder has been named the best real estate Web site in the nation among newspapers its size by the Newspaper Association of America.

The Web site -- www.steamboathomefinder.com -- earned a Digital Edge Award on Monday at the NAA's annual interactive media conference in San Diego. Each year since 1996, the NAA has presented "Edgies" to the best newspaper Web sites in several categories: news, innovative use of digital media, features/enterprise, entertainment, visitor participation, automotive, employment, advertising and real estate.

Steamboat Homefinder was launched in May and is a joint effort of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and the Steamboat Pilot & Today. The staff of the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, the Pilot & Today's sister newspaper, assisted with development of the site.

"This is a tremendous honor that reaffirms our belief that Steamboat Homefinder is competitive with any real estate site on the Web," said Suzanne Schlicht, publisher of the Pilot & Today. "I am very proud of the work our staff did in conjunction with the Board of Realtors to launch Steamboat Homefinder, and I am pleased that the Newspaper Association of America chose to recognize that work with a Digital Edge Award."

Homefinder won in the category for newspapers with circulations of 75,000 or less. The Pilot & Today is the smallest of the 15 newspapers to receive Edgies this year. Among the other winners were The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Journal-World won for its entertainment site, Lawrence.com.

Steamboat Homefinder includes a searchable database of all properties in the Multiple Listing Service, updated real estate news, photos, videos and detailed information on the area.

The site is tailored to be easy for potential buyers to use. Homefinder allows users to get pre-approval online through partner Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Users can collect properties of interest in individual portfolios. They can enter specific criteria about the types of property they are seeking and receive e-mail notification when properties meeting that criteria come on the market.

Among the site's other features:

n A database that allows property seekers to search the Multiple Listing Service by key word, price, location, property type, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, schools, listing agent or any combination of those criteria.

n Public school accountability information and a neighborhood description specific to each property listing.

n Photos of each property and, in some cases, video and virtual tours of the properties.

n Information and photos about the listing agents and links to their Web sites for each property listing.

n A Steamboat Springs community guide featuring detailed information on all public schools in Routt and Moffat counties, descriptions and maps of every neighborhood in the multiple listing service, and stories and photos about the Northwest Colorado area including places to visit, history, demographics, churches and more.

n A home-buying guide with tips on getting financing, owning a second home, choosing the right neighborhood, understanding the Steamboat market and other issues.

n An interactive map of Steamboat Springs highlighting noteworthy attractions in the city and downloadable maps of area communities including Steamboat, Routt County, Hayden, Oak Creek, Yampa and Phippsburg.

n Virtual photo tours of local attractions and videos of cross country skiing, the community ice arena, snowmobiling and other activities often associated with Steamboat and Northwest Colorado.

"Steamboat Homefinder provides extensive listings and search functionality," the Digital Edge Award judges wrote. "More than just a real estate source, the site acts as a detailed city guide."

The Palm Beach Post's Real Estate Channel -- www.palmbeachpost.com/realestate -- won in the category for newspapers with circulations between 75,000 and 250,000. The Chicago Tribune -- www.chicagotribune.com/homes -- won in the category for newspapers with circulations of 250,000 or more.

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