This is the first of a series of posts I’m writing about creative ways to utilize mapping in real estate. I will show how a real estate agent can display their total history of home sales (or any other data for that matter) and showcase it on a WordPress blog using Google Maps. This unique approach to transparency may prove helpful for those agents that have a thriving sales history in a particular county, city or even neighborhood. Possibly rounding out the about me page.
I will not be using Google MyMaps to accomplish this goal because it does not have an import feature. You would need to plot each sale, one by one. So those of you that have vast sales histories would have a labor intensive process. Also when done hand plotting the addresses, you would not be able to use that data again. (It’s not in a raw data file such as text delimited, csv or spreadsheet etc.)
So I will have you start by compiling a complete list of your sold properties in a spreadsheet. You may already have this created, if so great! If you don’t have your complete sales history, try your MLS system as they may offer an audit of your historical transactions. This spreadsheet will be used to auto-create a geocoded KML file. I will then show you how to display that KML file as a map on your WordPress Blog. For that I have selected XML Google Maps an excellent WordPress Plug-in.
In your spreadsheet use the following column headings: Address, City, State, & Zip. You can even include headings such as Price, Neighborhood, and Schools etc. Any data that is outside of address data can be added to the balloon on your Google map. Download an example spreadsheet layout here.
- Download & Install XML Google Maps WordPress Plug-in. This Plug-in will allow you to add a map by simply linking to a KML, KMZ or GPX file. Here are instructions for installing this plug-in.
- Get a free Google Maps API Key. You’ll need this after you active the XML Google Maps Plug-In.
- Complete spreadsheet of sales history. (Or whatever you are mapping.)
Let’s get started
- Open your Spreadsheet and highlight the entire dataset. Now Copy it.
- Visit BatchGeocode
- Look for the text box next to “Step 2″. Paste your spreadsheet data over the data currently in the textbox. (Overwrite the existing data)
- Next complete Step 3 by selecting Validate Source.
- In step 4 choose the column headings that correspond with your address data.
- Also in step 4 look for the Description field. If “all remaining fields” is selected then the data in your spreadsheet outside the address data will be added to the corresponding balloon on the Map. (Hint: You can do some pretty cool things with pictures etc.)
- Click Run Geocoder.
- OK, now the dataset has been geocoded. Now scroll down past the Yahoo! Map displaying your data and click the button titled Download to Google Earth (KML) File.
- Now save the attachment. (Remember where you are saving this! We will be using it.)
- Upload the KML file to your blog. For example you could make a folder called “kml” off the root. This way it’s easy to remember. Also note uploading is easily accomplished with standard FTP software.
- Create a post or page (of course you can edit an existing too!)
- Use the link tool to create a link to the XML file. For example:
Congratulations. You should not be displaying a Google Map of your sold history. The map can now be dragged and map options are controlled in the WordPress admin. (i.e. Size, Initial view, Map Type etc.) I should also point out that you can create KML files from Google Earth as well! Have fun!
Other uses may include:
- Mapping Local Schools and Parks
- Neighborhood Events (i.e. Garage Sales)
- Mapping Brokers Tour
- Mapping Office Listings