Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I revisited Google Earth like I have many times before, but this time I was looking at the tool through new eyes. I started to ask myself, “How can Google Earth benefit the average real estate agent?” I continued playing around with the software, and then it hit me…Google Earth can help Realtors in a listing presentation with WOW factor! How you ask? Why not plot SOLD properties on the map. Google Earth enables you to easily zoom in and out looking at various levels of detail.
To start I must mention that the free version will not work. REALTORS must subscribe to Google Earth Pro. If you want to try this idea before you purchase, try Google’s 7-day free trial. Be aware the trial will only let you import 10 records at a time. Once you have downloaded Google Earth Pro, follow these steps to plot your Sold activity:
Stage 1 – Import Data
- Begin by compiling a list of your sold properties. Use Microsoft Excel (or comparable software) to organize your data. In the Excel file include Address, City, State, Zip and Physical characteristics. (You may be able to export this from your MLS.) Also include a column with text reading “Sold” or “Sold by [YourName]” this column can be used to describe each potted point on the map.
- Once the file is created, save it as a CSV file.
- Open Google Earth Pro and select File and then Import.
- Locate the Excel file you created of your Sold properties and double click the item. The Data Import Wizard appears.
- Start by selecting the radio button for Delimited and then choose the delimiter. If you are using a CSV file, choose Comma. Select Next.
- Check the box titled This dataset does not contain latitude/longitude information, but street address. Select Next.
- Depending on how you entered your data, you now need to select the proper why your dataset is populated. For example if you put Address, City, State and Zip in their own columns choose the 2nd option title Addresses are broken into multiple fields.
- Next modify each dropdown to point the correct address fields. Select Next.
- Select Finish.
Stage 2 – Style Templates
- A selection box will open asking you if you would like to Apply Style Template To The Features You Suggested. Select YES.
- First you are asked to Set Name field. I referenced this in Stage 1, step 1 above. This is the text that will be displayed on the map next to each marker. (i.e. Sold)
- Next select the Color tab. Select a color that represents your brand.
- Next select the Icon tab. Choose an icon that will display your sold data. I recommend the colored pushpins or your own custom logo. Choose a different icon than one provided by Google in there core layers. This will help to not confuse the interested party.
- Now select OK.
- Save the Google Earth template to your computer.
Now What? How can I leverage my map? Google Earth makes sharing this data very easy. To start you can simply load Google Earth Pro on your laptop and display this data during your listing presentation. Or you can creatively add this to your pre-listing package and deliver it by email to the seller before you meet. To email your Sold map click the “M” on the toolbar. It will open the email window, you’ll notice two choices: 1) Graphic of snapshot view (.jpg) and 2) Snapshot of 3D View (.kml). *Note: If you email a .kml file, the recipient must have Google earth. However it can be the free version.
Other possible use: Create a Buyers Tour for your clients and let them review the properties the night before on Google earth. They can quickly eliminate properties that are not appealing based on location or proximity to busy areas. Google also makes it easy click and add layers such as Dining, Shopping, Transportation, Parks and Recreation and lots more. These markers will show up just like your plotted properties do. This will allow buyers to get a feel for where homes are located in proximity to local attractions. More WOW factor!