While property searches based on Google’s mapping platform are becoming cliché in the online real estate marketplace, they certainly are not passé.
DROdio Real Estate Inc. of Arlington, Va., has integrated the mapping tool with real-time data from the regional multiple listing service, providing updated maps of for-sale properties in the Greater Washington, D.C., area at BirdsEyeSearch.com.
Daniel Rubén Odio-Páez, founder of DROdio, said that to his knowledge the site is the only modified Google Maps tool that is connected to MLS-supplied data.
“It’s a brave new world,” he said. “I had to go through a whole approval process to get the direct MLS feed but it was approved.” The map-based search site is still in its formative stages and Odio-Páez said he is planning to make some changes to simplify searches based on city, state and zip code information.
There are several other property-search Web sites that are also integrated with modified Google Maps platforms, among them: Propsmart.com, Trulia.com, RadCribs.com, CityCribs.com, ApartmentRatings.com and Prudential Chicago. The mapping platform allows users to scroll around on a map by clicking and dragging the pointer tool on the map image; zoom in or out; and view an illustrated map, aerial photography images or a hybrid map that blends photo-based images with a digital overlay of streets and street names.
Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., a Washington D.C.-area MLS with about 57,000 active subscribers and about 39,000 active residential listings, supplies property listings information to the DROdio map site.
Odio-Páez, who has a background in computer technology, offers several tech tools that synch with his philosophy: empower real estate consumers by providing them with the tools to gather property information on their own. This can help clients narrow down the list of properties that they want to see, which allows him to focus on the nuts and bolts of real estate transactions rather than driving people around in a car all day, he said.
The property information supplied through the map-based search is free and does not require registration, though Odio-Páez has built in a lead-generation component to the system that asks for a name, e-mail address and phone number for consumers who want to schedule a showing through DROdio to visit a for-sale property.
Consumers can search for properties by price range, number of bedrooms, and type of unit (including condo, townhouse and single-family residences). Rental property listings are also available.
After entering these search criteria, site users can view home addresses, listing prices and other detailed descriptions. The text-based search results can be arranged by number of bedrooms and bathrooms, listing price and city. And by clicking on a property icon on the map, users can view a small pop-up window with basic property information and a photo of the selected property.
Also along these lines, Odio-Páez has built ListingNotice.com, a site that allows consumers to sign up for customized e-mails as soon as a matching property is entered into the region’s MLS, and OnlyNewCondos.com, which tracks new and condo projects in the Washington, D.C., area.
DROdio Realty also loans out a geographic positioning system (GPS) device to assist consumers who want to visit for-sale properties on their own. The device, which tracks its position on the globe based on satellite signals, provides driving directions to addresses that users want to visit.
“In my world, what a perfect client for me is (someone who) does some searching on BirdsEyeSearch, borrows the GPS machine from us, drives around for one or two weekends (and) gets down to five houses we know they like. We are saving all the traditional real estate services that are non-value-added,” he said.
“The whole focus and emphasis is in making people as self-sufficient as possible and getting in at a later stage” of the transaction, he added.
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