Friday, February 19, 2010

Real Estate Search Game Changer: Google Maps and Street View

One of the most useful tools we have on the Listing Detail pages of is the integration of Google maps with Street View. For those of you who are not familiar with this game changer, Google is on a quest to drive and photograph all of the streets in the United States (actually the world) and integrate that data into their Google maps. The resulting data integration provides the ability to take a virtual drive or a walk down your chosen street.

From a real estate prospective this is a great tool. Once you’ve done a search and have reviewed the property's details immediately below the listing data you will find an interactive Google map interface. If a street view is available, that will be your default view. Otherwise, we place an icon of the property on the Google map interface. Want to take a walk down the street and check out the neighborhood before you look at the dream house you think you just found? Go to street view.

Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity about your immediate neighborhood, get down to some real research. By choosing the “view map” button and selecting the appropriate check boxes you can populate schools, gas stations, libraries, restaurants and many other area amenities. By selecting the icon of the amenity on the map, an information bubble will appear.
You can click the directions link for detailed turn by turn directions.  At each intersection, you can select the camera icon and see the street view as well as seeing the “virtual you” making progress on the map.

And you thought your car's GPS was cool…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"I love the people, but I can't feel my toes" - Lifestyle real estate search is born

I had a friend in Chicago, Illinois who asked for some help with a unique problem.  Although he loved the people and wanted the same lifestyle he enjoyed in Chicago, the average Chicago January low temperature was getting unbearable.  My friend presented me an interesting dilemma, one that would help us create a helpful search feature for  He was done with the harsh winters and wanted to find a warmer place to move that had a lifestyle mix similar to Chicago.

By leveraging Lifestyle Segmentation data we created some interesting tools to help with his situation.  By correlating the breakdown of the 66 lifestyle segments of Chicago against those of all the other cities and towns in our database we came up with the top ten list below.

City, State * Correlation Coefficient
  1. A    Norfolk, Virginia Real Estate - 0.9253
  2. B    Oakland, California Real Estate - 0.8992
  3. C    Washington, District of Columbia Real Estate - 0.8971
  4. D    Bellflower, California Real Estate - 0.8932
  5. E    Los Angeles, California Real Estate - 0.8815
  6. F    Minneapolis, Minnesota Real Estate - 0.8771
  7. G    Anaheim, California Real Estate - 0.8702
  8. H    Boston, Massachusetts Real Estate - 0.8701
  9. I    Gresham, Oregon Real Estate - 0.8678
  10. J    Long Beach, California Real Estate - 0.8614
* The correlation coefficient represents the relationship between the 66 independent variables that makeup the lifestyle segmentation of a city and returns a value that can vary from -1 (perfect negative correlation) through 0 (no correlation) to +1 (perfect positive correlation). Correlations include only those areas where the number of households was greater than 100.

I'll save you some suspense...he's learning to surf in Long Beach, CA.  Real estate search is no longer just about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you're looking for, there are many tools available to conduct searches at a number of levels.