As a real estate agent, you live your daily life juggling multiple listings and dealing with several buyers at once. Even though you are seldom only selling one property, each buyer you deal with expects you to make them your top priority. This includes answering all of their questions and consistently producing high-quality listings that fit their needs. The last thing you want or need is to waste their time and yours by looking at options that are not the right fit.
A Free Tool: Google Maps
There are plenty of real estate-focused tools to help agents organize their listings and provide basic information to prospective buyers. However, there is a free tool that may be just as powerful as the rest. A secret weapon that some agents may not even think to tap into. This untapped gold mine is called Google Maps, and it has the power to change the way you sell real estate property forever.
Creating Your Own Listings Map
Google Maps allow a real estate agent the opportunity to create a map of all the houses they have on their listing. This allows prospective buyers to gain a detailed overview of what the agent represents in that area. This is better than just listing addresses on your website because the viewer can see where each property is instead of manually googling each address one at a time.
Google Maps also gives a buyer the chance to see what the house looks like. For example, if a buyer is looking for a house with a bay window or large porch, they can use the street view function to cross those who do not have that feature off their list. This will save any real estate agent a significant amount of time and energy when planning out which houses to show.
Building Your Personal Brand
Google Maps is an excellent way to build your personal brand as a real estate agent. Any real estate agent can talk about how much area they cover or the number of houses they represent, but those who can prove it will have a leg up on the competition. This is because Google Maps allows real estate professionals to show a virtual representation of their real estate listings.
When someone is looking for a home, they visit multiple real estate websites to figure out who they should go with as an agent. Imagine how impressed they will be when they land on your website and are able to interact with a map that lets them view every single house you represent. If someone is looking to buy a house in a specific radius, your map is able to show them the various listings you can show them. This might be the deciding factor in them choosing you over another real estate agent.
A Way to Counter Pandemic Restrictions
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way most industries do business. Real estate agents can no longer count on big open houses to attract multiple buyers at once. Furthermore, buyers who are at high risk for contracting the virus may be hesitant to visit a home that other people have been in. With Google Maps, you can at least provide a virtual tour of the outside of the property and film your own virtual tour of what it looks like on the inside.
Building a Personalized Map for Your Buyer
As a real estate agent, it is your job to identify the buyers' desired area and then represent them with a list of options to review. Google Maps' extensive icon library can be a massive help in helping your buyers understand the benefits of each house you are proposing. You can take a set location of a certain number of blocks and drop a pin on each house you want your buyer to take a look at. You can color-code these pins to designate different aspects of each house. For example, green pins can represent homes in their price range, while red can represent residences that are slightly more expensive. A yellow pin can represent a house with a pool, while a blue pin can be reserved for a house with a basement. It all depends on what your buyer is looking for.
Getting an Up-Close Look with Street View
Once you give a buyer access to this map, they can use the street view to begin checking out the house for themselves. This allows them to determine details, such as if they will like the color of the exterior or if it’s too close to their neighbors, as well as the house's overall proximity to the nearest busy street. This will allow the buyer to cross off any house they are not interested in and help you focus your time on homes they are likely to purchase.
Setting Up Your Showing Schedule
Once you have solidified the residences you will be showing, you can repurpose your Google map into an itinerary. Each pin will represent a house you are planning on showing on that particular day. The buyer can drive this route ahead of time and view the homes up close before the official showing. After a long day of looking at multiple properties, your buyers can refer back to this map in case they have any questions about a specific property they saw.
For example, let's say you show a couple ten houses in a two-day span. They may decide they have narrowed their choices down to just three homes. However, because they saw so many properties in a short amount of time they may forget which one was close to the train station and which had the extended backyard. The Google Maps link you provided allows them to re-visit each of the three houses and confirm the benefits of each one. This also helps avoid having to spend time answering questions about properties yourself.
Input from Family and Friends
Buying a home is a major decision and can be overwhelming for many people. Ideally, you would bring along someone whose opinion you respect to see the house before you buy it. However, this is not always possible. Even before COVID, would-be homeowners are unable to bring along family or friends because of where they work or due to conflicts in their schedule. Google Maps allows these family members and friends to see what the house and neighborhood look like thanks to the street view function.
For example, let's say you are trying to sell a great house to the perfect fit of a family. You know it is the right call but the would-be buyers are having cold feet. When they share the location with their family or friends, they are able to provide compliments and positive feedback. Hearing someone you care about say things like "the house looks beautiful, "look at that porch", or "It's great how close you are to a school" may be the motivation they need to push them off the fence and make the purchase.
Giving the Power to the Buyer
Without Google Maps, you would have to research each individual property and document how far it was from the nearest school. With Google Maps, all you need to do is share the map with the family and allow them to explore on their own. This gives them the power to decide which homes are worth looking at and which ones are too far away. The same exact thing can be done for buyers who need to be close to a train station for work or do not want to be too far away from the nearest grocery store or hospital.
Get Found on Local Search
Not only does Google Maps help you service your existing clients, but it helps you attract new ones as well. When you claim and verify your real estate business on Google Places for Business, you automatically appear on Google Maps. This way, when a buyer is beginning their search for a new real estate agent, you are one of the first options that will pop up in their area. Once listed, you can add photos, contact information, and hours of operations so people can easily contact you.
You can also leverage the Google Maps API to place your personalized Google Map right on your website's home page. This allows visitors to not only view the address you represent but also gain a better understanding of which ones fit their criteria. Including this type of function on your website is a great way to increase both traffic and ranking. Prospective clients are much more likely to visit a website that includes a map with images. Google will also boost your website's ranking in search results because you are leveraging their Maps feature and therefore providing an enhanced user experience.
Google Maps can truly be considered an untapped gold mine for real estate professionals because of the functions it offers and the value it provides. This is a tool that is free to use and easy to understand. It offers several features to make viewing homes pain-free for your buyer and to help you stay organized and provide a clear presentation of the various properties you're representing.
If you'd like us to show you how to grow your business with Google Maps and real estate SEO expertise, get in touch with our team today!
About Ardor SEO
Ardor SEO is an award-winning digital growth agency that focuses on optimizing your digital presence and getting your service or product found by your target audience. We specialize in Real Estate SEO to help you generate a consistent pipeline of leads, no matter if you are an agent, an investor or are simply looking to grow your real estate business. Learn more about our services and sign up for a free consultation call today!