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Google + Maps + Real Estate Search = No IDX Required

Real Bird Map Based SearchThere are three things I really love; maps, Google and real estate, so when you combine all three in a super-easy-to-use marketing tool and customer resource, you couldn’t make me much happier than RealBird did when they rolled out their map-based property search this week as part of their insanely affordable Pro-Member benefit package (read the Press Release).  The search pulls from Google Base, so your options are expanded beyond what you can get from your local IDX.  You can created unlimited searches to embed into blogs, post on Craigslist and Backpage, post on your blog or website, etc. in several different formats, from full page to tiny widgets, it’s your choice.  As far as I know, RealBird is the only provider of customizable Google Base fed property searches.

SEE IT IN ACTION HERE OR JUST SCROLL DOWN

Some Ideas for Using RealBird’s Map Based Property Search:

  • You can really target long-tail keywords by embedding a map of listings into your community blog posts.
  • You can use the keyword search in the RealBird search to hone on on specific property characteristics (ie equestrian, gated, lakefront, etc.) to provide specialty niche searches
  • You can create targeted searches (ie city and price point) then post those searches on Craigslist, Backpage and Kiiji (this works VERY WELL)
  • You can have a specialty site, like Susie Blackmon does at Horesalicious.com and post searches across the whole country and then build a referral business from those leads that you receive  (I am personally convinced that you can build an entire referral business just using this tool alone, right from your home office and a $99 Pro Membership)
  • Easy to use embedded social media shareability

You are limited only in your creativity in how you use this map based search.

Special Extra Features:

  • The search pulls from Google Street Views and even Google Earth, so where available the consumer will get an street view as one of the main images of the property.  This allows them to look at the property (especially helpful when no pictures are posted) as well as up and down the street to get a view of the neighborhood.
  • The viewer can click on list view in one stroke and have the list embedded right in the map (Genius)
  • The viewer, once on the map, can then change the criteria, should they prefer other search parameters
  • The user interface is very easy and intuitive so you don’t worry about the user becoming confused and clicking off site
  • The search is very fast
  • It is SEO friendly, especially for long-tail hyper local searches (even the Craigslist posting titles have been indexed when I post links to my RB searches)

Note:

The data is pulled from Google Base so there are pros and cons of using a Google Base search over an IDX search. Use it instead of your IDX search, in conjunction with it (depending on use) or use it where IDX is not available.  RealBird has a built-in disclaimer on your site notifying the viewer that data is from Google Base, so you don’t need to worry about adding that.  The search shows where the data came from, but the contact information for more information is yours.

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Written By

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Judson Tate

    February 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Can’t wait to try this out! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      If you spend some time playing around and just thinking outside the box, I bet you will think of 5-10 great and unique lead generation uses for this tool

  2. Aaron Charlton

    February 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Thank you. This looks like a great product. Can’t wait to check it out!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      Aaron

      I am RealBird’s biggest cheerleader, the tools they provide Realtors are so amazing and so affordable, when they added this, my head almost popped off, I was so excited!

      • Aaron Charlton

        February 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm

        I added it to my site and I really like it! A tip they gave me is to add &newwindow=0 to the end of the RealBird link in the src=”” attribute of the iframe code so that it doesn’t open a new window and people stay on my site. Thanks for letting us know about this stuff!

  3. Justin Boland

    February 10, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    This was an awesome post, thank you. Being able to actually play with this software = a ton of tun and very thought-provoking. Coolest thing I’ve seen on Agent Genius in awhile!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      I am glad you like the post Justin and even more glad that you “get it” about how you can play with this software and how expandable it really is. Sort of like silly putty, you can pull it stretch it and it doesn’t break. Thank you for your nice compliment!

  4. Bruce Dietz

    February 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for the info. I am a huge fan of new technology. I will definitely check out RealBird.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

      I think you will really love it, it is one of the best and multi-faceted agent promotion tools available, lots of options to build business

  5. Heather

    February 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Hello! Is this a free service (with ads)? It looks like a very good idea.
    Thanks for the info!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

      yes, pretty amazing stuff (although some features are only with the Pro Account, but even at $99/yr that is an amazing value) Max out the Free then bump to the Pro if you decide it is worth it (which I really think it is, but each person has their own favorite programs)

  6. aj martin

    February 11, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Janie does it again – thanks for sharing your expertise.

  7. Jacob Clayton

    February 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Hi Janie –

    Very interesting development from RealBird, thanks for a great post!

    It looks as if this solution is fantastic for uses you describe like embedding into blogs and facebook, etc, but I’m wondering if you’ve played around with any features to “wrap” this into an existing website like is possible with the more expensive options such as Diverse Solutions or IDX Broker. They offer similar lead generation options and you don’t even have to deal with the dreaded frame-in but there is of course a real difference in price. The other downside to other IDX solutions is they, and as a result, we are limited to using the fields that the MLS allows us to use. The MLSPIN in Massachusetts, for example, does not allow us to display property descriptions on our websites but they do aggregate that field to Google, Realtor.com, Truila, and on and on and on. (That’s a rant for another day) but this would definitely provide a way around it!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

      Hi Jacob,

      This will the the search feature of my new blog, which is due to come out in March (and will replace my current IDX site and my RealBird blog). There are definitely aspects which make IDX or Google better for different applications, but for the blog I am building, this is perfect. Right now, registration is not mandatory as it is with other lead generation sites, so if you are looking for that option, they do not have it yet (I don’t believe). Some agents prefer no registration and some wouldn’t have a search without it. It all depends. I think that Google using this data is going to force the MLSs to change how they do businesses (for the better) no matter what. Keep an eye out for my new blog next month.

      Thx for stopping by
      Janie

  8. Jacob Clayton

    February 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for the heads up, Janie and I am very interested to see how you put it all to use. I built my blog and website together as a sort of a one stop show so a solution that works with both, without MLS restrictions, and WITH GOOGLE! is a win win win!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

      the site is TheMiamiStory.com, check back in March, just waiting on graphics at this point. I think you will really like how we used this map tool to target buyers in a friendly way

  9. Patrick

    February 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Very Cool…See ya later clunky MLS/IDX feed! You know, our Northwest MLS charges each individual agent $30.00/a month for their IDX feed on top of the MLS dues they already pay…RealBird has put every MLS on notice!!! Thank you for this post.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      OMG, I didn’t know that they charged for IDX! That is crazy, although our fees are so high that they must have just included it in there. I hope you try it out and find it useful.

  10. Bill Edwards

    February 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Not much to this. You people should be using VOW data.

    Buyers want all the info. Not this. Check out what really works at youropensky.com.

    The Dept of Justice settlement with the NAR allows this incredible data for buyers.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      thank you Bill, I have not heard of that resource. I will go check out now. Thx for stopping by!

  11. IDX pro

    February 12, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Not according Morgan Carey…..

    Apparently he says you can get your lic pulled as if MLS/Realtor’s were the ones who issue Real Estate License’s

    Looks like he’s scared of losing paying customers to info they can be getting for free!

    realestatewebmasters.com/showthread.php?t=28769&page=2

  12. Bob

    February 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Google Base is no where near comprehensive enough with the listing data they have. Why doesnt RealBird use RETS from the local mls?

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Hi Bob, definitely there is a big difference b/w Google Base content and MLS driven content. A Google Base alternative might be useful for agents whose board doesn’t allow distribution of their data in any form or who work with buyers (or referrals) outside their MLS or other uses. Realbird does have MLS/IDX driven options for quite a few MLSs all over the country, but not for all of them. The Google Base helps fill in the holes when and where agents run across them or are looking for other alternatives…. (We have a Google Base site and an IDX site and use them for different purposes). It will be interesting to see how the MLS/Google Base saga continues….

  13. Ken Brand

    February 13, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    I’ve had my finger on the trigger for some time. Wasn’t sure when to pull it or what to aim at, I knew I needed a “search” for my blog. Then, you appear and share my solution. Thanks Janie, I have it up and working for me…sweet n simple. Super cool. Cheers to you.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

      Thanks Ken, I am glad you liked it and found a solution that worked for you!

  14. Paula Henry

    February 14, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Janie – RealBird does have some great features, but the data is lacking when compared to the actual MLS data. The info doesn’t get updated and expired listings continue to show up. But it looks nice and I love the embed feature.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

      Paula, for sure there are differences and pros and cons and the timeliness of the Goolgle Base data. Some agents don’t have access to MLS data for their own sites due to the broker or the board so this is an option for them. Or for agents who want to provide info outside of their board, this is also a great option. I definitely love the customization and embed feature 😉

  15. Andrew Mooers

    September 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Information on current property listings available, about the local communities are what real estate buyers want delivered quickly, completely. Don’t do it as an agent, broker, REALTOR and the buyer who is not local anymore will get it from someone else that answers, addresses that thirst, hunger.

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