Google Maps Real Estate Listings- Are the agents and MLS boards Nervous?

Real Estate Agent with Utah Homes 9188867-SA00

It's not a secret- Google wants to be your destination for all-things-web.

Your local Multiple Listings Service wants to be the best (and official) source for home listings.

There are many online competitors who want to be both.

Mappable listings are wonderful- they help buyers see where the homes are.

Hovering around like an all seeing angel- buyers are able to view what's available and at what price.

It's the fly-over equivalent of driving the neighborhoods.

Many Real Estate Agents do not welcome this ease of use.

Is it any surprise?

Can the average real estate agent compete with Google's vast resources and technology geniuses?

Not directly. Of course we can try to adopt enabling technology- but we have several advantages.
  • You can't phone Google about the listing.
  • Google won't write the sales contract. 
  • They're not real estate agents.

I decided long ago that technology can not be stopped.

If someone offers superior service it is every business persons charge to rise to the occasion.

We may not compete directly with regard to technology but we can out-service them.

We can also take the ol' "if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them" approach.

Which brings us to Google's latest offering.

When you enter an address into google you might (depending on your location) see a new option.

Let's try a map search of Mesa Arizona

See that link to the right? ... it's the one that reads "Show Search Options"


When you click on the link something new appears... check out the drop-down menu.

show real estate

There you are! ... well... whattaya say we give this real estate search a try?

Google Real Estate Map View

To the left you see an overview... it includes the typical necessary information.

Note: I've obscured the addresses out of respect for privacy.

To the right you'll see a map... you can zoom in or out and move the map around.

As you click on an alphabetized marker you'll see that listing's details.

Let me anticipate your questions:

  1. Where do they get this information? From a variety of sources, including users of GoogleBase.
  2. Can I add my own listings? Anyone who wishes... GoogleBase Real Estate Help.
  3. Am I allowed to do this? Check the rules with your MLS.

This isn't new. Google has been experimenting with this for a while.

Also... there are many map based solutions out there... this is just one more.

Finally- does it mean the end of the real estate agent?

No... not at all... it's just another resource.


Chuck Willman is a real estate agent based in the Phoenix Metro Area.
He can be found at

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corbin hague - Paradise Valley, AZ

Excellent post Chuck! I worte a similar article on the fate of the beloved buggy whip. To quote:

"Darwin wrote that in the long run, only those who can adapt and remain "fit" in a changing landscape survive. I think it's about time that we stop trying to improve upon an inferior system, and start adapting. If not, I fear we might find ourselves doomed to the fate of our beloved buggy whip."

Agents are an extremely valuable part of the homebuying/homeselling process... but we must keep up with the times!

May 15, 2008 05:28 AM #2
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

Very well clarified, Chuck. I think people get worried or afraid they will become useless. That's why, every day, we need to ask ourselves: 'how can I make myself more useful?' My mother used to say  'make yourself useful'... I can't imagine the world will ever run out of things that need doing - by DO-ers.We can at least have useful thoughts and a useful attitude before we leave home. Thanks for the post!

May 15, 2008 02:08 PM #3
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Kent- I've been to some of the map sites... some of the comments hint that the techology makes real estate agents obsolete... it just makes me scratch my head- these tools are just a beginning.

Corbin- Excellent quote!

Mara- are you sure we don't have the same Mom... because "for reals" mine said the same.

May 15, 2008 04:47 PM #4
Doreen McPherson
Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe - Tempe, AZ
Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~

LOL, I bet there aren't too many moms that didn't say make yourself useful.   Thanks for yet another informative piece of information.  We need to start calling you the 'Info Guru'. 

May 15, 2008 08:02 PM #5
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the information. I will check out my listings in google.

May 15, 2008 10:48 PM #9
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

Chuck - must be wonderful-mom-wisdom :-)

May 15, 2008 11:16 PM #10
Kelly Winch
Cascades Sotheby's International Realty - Sunriver, OR
Broker, CDPE

Thanks for the post on google mapping - I agree it doesn;t replace us -- it just helps us

May 16, 2008 01:44 AM #11
Eric Murrietta
Homeowners Financial Group USA, LLC - Scottsdale, AZ

You are definitely right about Google wanting to be the "destination for all-things web".  They could probably use that phrase as par of a marketing campaign.  I do believe it is important that all business professionals continue to try to stay ahead when it comes to technology in this information age.  Thanks for the helpful information.

May 16, 2008 07:11 AM #12
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

It is just amazing.  Buyers want need us at all pretty soon.  They may not know it yet but the time is coming.

May 16, 2008 02:13 PM #13
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Doreen- Nahhh... just call me Chuck. Better yet... call me with buyers and/or sellers. :-)

Gita- Glad to help.

Mara- Mom wisdom has made me the person I am today. That AND Wife wisdom.

Kelly- It's just a first step... I like that it brings educated buyers to the market.

Eric- It's important to know just-enough technology... it can be an agent's friend.

Gene- I get the feeling that the bombardment of web technology has somewhat made it necessary to have an agent to intrerpret all this "stuff".

May 16, 2008 03:14 PM #14
Richard Schardt
Keller Williams Realty - Kernersville, NC
Triad NC Real Estate

Hi Chuck,

When your right, your right! I see so many people (and not just in the RE industry) afraid of the technology for a variety of reasons. It is nothing more than a rapidly changing set of tools to use, for those who will learn to use them. And you wisely pointed out that ultimately clients still need us to write up a contract and proceed with all the rest. That is, until Google has written a virtual agent hologram prgram.  

Jun 04, 2008 03:44 AM #15
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Richard- Thanks for your comments. I noticed that there are companines that are becoming more involved in setting up tools for the FSBO market... they have listing sites, contracts for download... many of the services laid out for the average person to sell and buy without representation. I'm guessing that middle area between no help and full service is now being filled with discounters and middlemen. This is to be expected. It simply requires that we prove our worth- just like any other business.

Jun 04, 2008 04:41 AM #16
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

I think its awesome!  Thanks for keeping us updated on the tech stuff:)

It's a Good Life!


Jun 04, 2008 10:35 AM #17
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Great article, Chuck. The more exposure we have on the Internet the better. I love seeing my listings out there, and I know lots of buyers who search by maps, especially those from out of the area. Thanks for the tips.


Jun 10, 2008 05:32 AM #18
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I am using a Google Map widget on one of my listings' website.  it is great.  It lets a prospective buyer see the neighborhood and the location in the world... not only a map, but a satellite photo.  Tools are great. 

Jun 10, 2008 11:00 AM #19
Steve Scheer
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers - Highlands Ranch, CO
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate

Chuck, I liked the post as well - I need to look into it further though, while my listings are current on google base, they are not here on this particualr search, yet.  Off to figure this out...

Jun 10, 2008 11:48 AM #20
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Frances- I'm sure they'll be more and more done with mapping; I also get the feeling gps will become standard in cell phones at some point.

Jeff- I also like to see my listing at other portals... I'm not even bothered if they are "skinned" to show the buyer's agent as the supplier- any way to bring more buyers to my listings is great in my book.

Lane- I'm going to have to hunt down that widget.

Steve- There are so many loose ends to track but it's hard to bet against the power of google.

Jun 12, 2008 04:50 AM #21
James Cox
Seven Design Studios - San Dimas, CA

As a website developer we have been extremely frustrated with the MLS's (6 to be exact) we deal with.  With Google getting into the market this will force MLS's to play catch up and or let outside vendors do more for their clients. 

James Cox
Seven Design Studios
Internet Marketing & Website Design

Jun 16, 2008 01:39 PM #22
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

You're right James... my local MLS has an antiquated system that is just now undergoing an overhaul... no doubt competition helps spur the boards to keep up.

Jun 16, 2008 01:46 PM #23
Larry Beck / Pixel Perfect Design - Downey, CA

I feel this is a great resource / tool for Real Estate Agent, like you said Google does not writte up the contracts!

Jun 17, 2008 06:48 PM #24
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