Google may have dropped support for real estate listings search in its maps application back in 2011, but Google Maps is still an enormously valuable tool for real estate professionals. Here’s a look at how you can make use of Google Maps in your real estate business.
Build Custom Maps
You can build custom maps for a variety of real estate applications. For instance, you can create a custom map to share with your customers, displaying all the listings they’re interested in visiting. You can also use custom maps internally to plan itineraries for your showings.
Custom maps can be organized in a variety of ways, with color-coded icons as well as lines and polygons for defining specific regions or neighborhoods. Finally, you can also invite colleagues or customers as collaborators to build a custom map that puts everyone on the same page.
Use Street View to Show Properties
Google Maps’ Street View feature allows you to give your customers another perspective or angle on a property apart from the photos you’ve provided on your listings page. Street view can also offer your clients insight on the surrounding neighborhood: how close is the nearest park? How busy is the closest intersection? What’s street parking like in the area?
Finally, Street View can save you time, allowing customers to look around a property in an interactive way before they decide to view it in person.
Get Found on Local Search
Google Maps’ integration with Google’s local search features can also help you market your business and get found by prospects. When you claim and verify your real estate business with Google Places for Business, you’ll automatically appear on Google Maps. By adding photos, contact information, and hours to your local listing, you’ll give Google Maps searchers an even richer experience of your business when they click on your marker.
You can go also make your business stand out even more on Google Maps by encouraging customers to write reviews on Google+ Local and advertising with AdWords.
Use the Google Maps API on Your Site or App
If your current website solution doesn’t already employ it, you can use Google’s API to implement Google Maps within your real estate website, allowing visitors to browse and search your listings using all the features they’ve come to love from Google Maps.
Model and Evaluate with Google Earth
While it’s technically a separate application, Google Earth Pro has a lot of the same features as Google Maps, with even more functionality and a richer interactive experience. Real estate developers, for instance, can fly to properties and investigate building site characteristics using aerial imagery, advanced measurement tools, and the new elevation profile feature.
If you’re in urban real estate, you can also use Google Earth to measure buildings in 3D and determine line-of-sight to landmarks and viewsheds to nearby parks, the ocean or the city skyline. Finally, you can integrate these elements with Movie Maker to produce dramatic fly-throughs, highlighting points of interest, amenities, and services.