Google Maps as a Presentation Tool

One of the challenges Realtors face in differentiating ourselves from other Realtors falls into what I call the “evidence of success” category of marketing. That is to say, I know Sylvia and I are good at selling homes, but how does a prospective client know? On the surface, Realtors all seem the same to most people, unless time is invested to research Realtor websites, interview several agents and know the right questions to ask.

Among the questions you should always ask an agent is “how active are you in my area? How many homes have you sold recently in my area? Do you know my market and will you be able to help me price the home correctly? Have you seen the homes mine will be competing against?” A busy agent actively selling a lot of homes will be able to answer favorably to these questions, but it’s still just talk isn’t it? Where is the evidence?

I just figured out a really quick and easy way to show the answer instead of talking about it. That is, with a nice map of sold homes. Check out the map below that I just created using Google Maps, which shows some of the homes Sylvia and I have sold in Austin over the past 30 months. Mostly since the the end of 2005 when we un-retired after a year off, through March 2008.

View Larger Map

Thanks to Google Maps technology, we now have a simple way to provide a quick snapshot of sales activity. You can drag the map around, click on pins for more info, zoom in and out. It’s pretty cool. The blue pins are listings sold. The red pins are buyer sales. How did I create this map?

I simply exported our sales data from the MLS, ran a tab delimited file through a geocoder, which created the file that Google Maps requires to import, then made some adjustments to the pin locations that didn’t map correctly (newer subdivisions).

I’m still learning the depth of capabilities available with Google Maps. I can import photos of the homes if I want to, along with any other listing data I choose. What I did for this test run was simply import the address and the “comments” that were included on the original listing.

I can’t think of a better way to, at a glance, show a prospective buyer or seller “this is what we do and where we do it”.

Our revamped website, which I’m working on at present, will feature this and other maps outlining Austin neighborhoods. Google Maps allows boundaries to be drawn, with shaded areas and descriptions, and the overlaying of existing map points such as schools, restaurants, parks, and other data. A complete map can be created 100% from scratch that will present whatever locations and data one wishes to include. I look forward to creating more of these maps to help prospective buyer get a better sence of neighborhoods, amenities, nearby schools, etc.

The possibilities seem endless. As a Realtor, I’m excited about this technology because it allows us to better serve those we help by assembling geographic information into an easy to understand visual format. It’s not exactly easy work, but it’s free, except for the time invested in creating the map.

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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Austin Real Estate Watcher - 8 years ago

Its hard to imagin what real estate did before the introduction of google maps. There’s even cooler applicaiton of the map that gives people insight into refugee camps form all ove rthe world. the link to the story is here

Alec Bobdon - 8 years ago

Google Maps can be very beneficial, but I have experienced some problems, namely:

1) That many areas are blurred, especially rural areas, so you can’t use Google Maps everywhere.
2) That saving you own Google Map with a pointer to your property is easier said than done. It’s not very user friendly for people especially if they are not very computer savvy, and so it is difficult to get Landlords to send to me the Google Map of their property.
3) Potential buyers are always looking out for bad things (factories, rivers, smoke, etc.) and often get a negative impression of a property from Google Maps

Darren Kittleson - 8 years ago

Thanks for the cool use of technology. I’m definitely going to use this for our geo farm. Great idea!

Justine Smith - 8 years ago

That is so powerful! Thank you for sharing, mine won’t look quite as impressive but it sure puts the facts on the table!

Sam Chapman - 8 years ago

Another great thing about Google maps is being able to show an area that printed maps are poor at showing. For example, I work the south Lake Travis area. When I unfold an Austin map, it shows very little of Lake Travis. When I unfold a Lake Travis map, you can’t get an idea of where or how far downtown or the airport are. In comes Google maps – I can show anything I want and I love it!

Steve - 8 years ago

Hi Sam,

You’re right. Austin is so spread out it’s yard for people new to the area to get a sense of how large it really is.


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