The Evolution of Online Maps for Real Estate
I remember the first time I saw real estate listings on the map. It was 2005. Housingmaps.com, launched by Paul Rademacher, created the first Google Maps mashup. It overlaid Craigslist apartment and housing listings on a map of 30 cities across the country. It was mind blowing.
Previously, you would look at real estate listings online and just see a house with no idea where it was actually located. Now you could actually search by map.
A few months later at the Vermont Real Estate Law Day, which brought together REALTORS and lawyers from across northern New England, we presented the first Google map showing properties for sale in the state of Vermont. There was an audible “wow” in the room.
Part of what drew me to the Internet was seeing the impact that the online world had on the offline world. Twenty-some years later the concept seems quaint (especially if you have a teenager in your house… I’m not sure they live at all in the offline world). Everything is now ubiquitous and online. For a late Gen X’er like me (also known as a Xennial), I remember when that was not always the case.
The way we use maps in our daily life has changed well beyond real estate. When was the last time you drove somewhere you hadn’t been before without your phone telling you where to go? One of the best vacation decisions I ever made was in 2010 when my girlfriend (and now wife) and I took a trip to France. When we got to the car rental desk, we chose to spend the extra €10 today for a GPS that told us in the finest British English how to navigate the small roads of southern France. Despite having spent time living in France, I’m quite sure we would have gotten incredibly lost traveling from the Bordeaux airport to our final destination. When she asked me “how did people navigate before GPS?” I responded, “with a lot of arguing.”
Flash forward to 2023. Union Street Media has now deployed the best real estate mapping tool in the industry. We have spent many months and many dollars on our new map search. Why? In an industry where what matters most is “location, location location” the ability to see a property on a map and interact with it in the most dynamic of ways is fundamental to the process a buyer goes through when determining whether or not to purchase a home. Take a look at our map search on Tate & Foss Sotheby’s International Realty’s award-winning website below!
A quick highlight of the map search features includes:
- SEO first. No one gets to your website, what does it matter? Like everything we do here at Union Street Media, SEO best practices was the north star of our map search development.
- A Swiss Army knife approach. Like everything we build here, our map search has the ability to adhere to the needs of our individual clients and how they choose to display information. We can “slice, dice, and roll” the maps to filter and display listings that fit our client’s objectives. Our map filtering and display works around our client’s needs as opposed to our clients working around our map search’s limitations.
- Modern user experience. Nothing is a coincidence in how we display listings on our map search. We have tested and placed calls to action in ways that increase user engagement and lead generation, including adding Map Search banner ads. It looks great and works well. The “tastes great and less filing” of map search.
You might have seen many of our websites roll out with this feature since 2021. We are now bringing it forward to our existing clients who have not redeveloped their websites since before the pandemic. Please reach out to us if you are interested in upgrading to the best map search experience in the real estate industry.
Thank you and happy searching!