by Laura Matiz
In part one of this series, I noted that real estate is now a technology-driven business. Social media, custom apps, tailored ads, websites and blogs are all part of the marketing and promotion of the business. But, for information exchange with my buyers, I make use of a few simple technologies that are more personal and customized to their apartment search. Read on.
In the first article, I noted that there are numerous apps and web sites that offer property search compilations, but I find that they all have a few drawbacks: (1) they require the creation of accounts, to which some buyers balk; (2) some apps only work on specific devices; and (3) communication with my buyer is mediated by a third party. The focus of that first article, was an overview of how I use Google Sheets to help track the apartment search. In this second part, I will explain how I use BatchGeo Mapping to visualize the information gathered in Google Sheets.
Taking buyers on showings is a matter of getting lots of logistics right, including location and time. I use BatchGeo to map the scheduled showings for my buyer, providing lots of information visually. Using the data from the spreadsheet (see screenshot above) which is sorted by "Open House Date", I paste the set of apartments for the date's showings into the BatchGeo site, which then returns a link to a map showing the properties to be visited, ordered by time.
Let's use as an example a set of listings compiling gourmet supermarkets on Manhattan's Upper East Side, as shown below in the live sheet. This sample data will be useful to demonstrate BatchGeo without using real apartment data. Of course, some of the columns are for illustration only, since these supermarkets are not for sale and don't have open houses.
To map a set of apartments, I sort, select, and copy just the rows I need to map. Using BatchGeo's cut-and-paste input interface, I paste my selection and get a map that looks like the one shown below. Mapping the apartment locations also helps me make adjustments to visit-times as I try to minimize travel distance. For example, in the map below, I would minimize the travel distance of this tour by switching the order of B and C and D and E.
View Laura Matiz: UES Gourmet Tour in a full screen map
Because I have organized the showings by time, a legend is shown below the map with the time associated with each marker. On this map, I selected to order the makers alphabetically, but markers can be numbered instead. Each marker or pin can be clicked on to show detailed information related to the property it represents, including an active link to the unit's listing page (see image with detail for marker C). The BatchGeo web-based maps work nicely on mobile devices, making the maps invaluable as I am touring with the client while also tracking our current location. BatchGeo has released a new iOS app that aims to be faster and smoother, but I have only tested it briefly and could be a topic of a future posting.
Putting It All Together
If you have read this far, you might be wondering how my customers keep track of these web pages and links. They don't have to. To make is easier for them, I create an exclusive private page that has all their information embedded on the page. That page includes their Google Sheet and the most recent tour map plus any other notes and information. That page is built using a template that gets two embed codes and takes me minutes to complete.
The response from my customers has been great. They find the technology easy to use and they feel they benefit from the simple coordinated tracking of interested properties. Of course, I will continue to look for ways to refine the process or to adopt newer technologies because the only constant is the forward march of technology.
I hope you have enjoyed the Real Estate Tech Talk series. Share or tweet with abandon.