Google Tools for Real Estate Professionals

google real estate toolsGoogle now offers a full suite of tools for real estate professionals that let you reach prospects in your region at all stages of their home search – while they’re looking for properties, checking out locations, and selecting an agent or broker. These tools have actually been around for a while and Google is just repackaging and positioning them for real estate professionals.

The tools they are referring to are Google Base, AdWords, Maps, Earth, Local Business Center, Google Sketchup, and Google Apps. It’s actually a great idea and it shows how flexible Google’s products are that they can easily cater to specific industries like real estate. Their overall message is that Google can help generate real estate referrals and leads to help connect to home buyers and sellers since Google has more real estate searches than other search engines combined.

So are these tools actually helpful for you, the real estate professional? In short, yes but not all the tools in the suite are exactly easy to use. Here’s a quick rundown of what each tool is for and it’s ease of use.

Google Base – It’s essentially Google’s version of Craigslist.com which hasn’t quite caught on yet. It’s still another free marketing outlet so it wouldn’t hurt to post real estate for sale on it. Take a look at it here. Ease of use: Simple

Google AdWords – This is probably the best tool of the suite for driving targeted traffic and leads to your site. These are the ads you see on the right side of Google’s search results. If you aren’t already running a paid search program, I’d recommend you
(aff) now. Ease of use: Medium

Google Maps – This product is quite cool but requires a technical person to set it up on your website. I always use this product when I need to get from point A to point B. Plug in two addresses, and it creates step by step directions for you. For real estate professionals, you would display your listings on detailed maps and satellite imagery and give your users a visual, intuitive way to find the property that is right for them. You can see an example of this in the above image. Try it here. Ease of use: Difficult

Google Earth – An even cooler version of Google Maps, this product allows you to fly around the world using 3D satellite imagery. If you’ve got the technical resources and sophisticated audience, this would be a great differentiator for your website. You can download it here. Ease of use: Difficult

Google’s Local Business Center – This is Google’s version of the yellow pages but a more targeted version. When potential customers search Google Maps for local information, they’ll find your business information such as your address and hours of operation. You want your name and address to be displayed when they search, this is the tool for you. Only requires a one-time setup. Ease of use: Simple

Google SketchUp – Want to create 3D models of homes or other properties? Well then this is the tool for you. You can also enhance your website listing by using the animation capability of Google Sketchup Pro. It even allows your customers to freely explore the home, community and its surroundings in 3D. They claim it’s easy to use but if you’re not good with computers or have some experience with 3D modeling, I’d stay away from this. Download their free version here. Ease of use: Difficult

Google Apps – This is essentially MS office but an online Google version. You can collaborate on documents and spreadsheets more effectively, have shareable calendars, and even instant messaging capability. It’s a great product especially if you travel a lot and and need to share documents and spreadsheets across multiple real estate professionals. It’s all web-based so make sure you have an internet connection. The Google Apps Standard Edition is free but if you need more features you can pay $50/per user/per year for the Premier Edition. I recommend you
(aff) now. Ease of use: Medium

Overall, I’d say for the typical real estate professional you should be using Google Base, Google AdWords, and Google’s Local Business Center to increase your company awareness and drive new leads to your website. Using Google Apps would be an added bonus but not required if you aren’t ready to change your business processes. Google Maps, Earth, and Sketchup and for those with technical resources to handle the development required to make them work.

37 thoughts on “Google Tools for Real Estate Professionals”

  1. Lake Forest Illinois Real Estate is a market that wouldn’t really benefit from such tools. This is because the market is served in a more intimate manner and people generally prefer privacy and confidentiality.

    Another reason such tools are not really to the benefit of Realtors, is because it dilutes the power of exclusivity and MLS.

    Google pretends to be your friend in this instance, but it is really getting Agents and the like to do its work for them while diluting the services we offer. It’s only making Google a strong force by populating their database at our expense.

    What happens if Google decides to go full force and aggressively enter the Real Estate market?

    Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, aka Google. We may all regret the day we took advantage of such “great” tools.

    I am not saying there isn’t a place for google or search engines, rather I am saying that I like to be more careful about what I provide. Who is getting the better value? Google or the Agents? hmm

  2. The tools Google provides are to help real estate agents and others increase their product and brand awareness. Google Adwords allows you to reach specific highly targeted markets including Lake Forest Illinois clients. For example, do a search on Google for “Lake Forest Real Estate” and you’ll get almost 2 million results. Notice that there’s only one paid ad by LoopNet (the right hand side of the results page). I promise you if you setup a Google AdWords account and start targeting Lake Forest Illinois real estate-related keywords, you’ll increase your prospects. Just make sure you send them to a landing page that lists your phone number or some sort of contact info.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. If I could reiterate one important item on this topic. Use Google AdWords, as people are trending more and more to the internet for realty research. Take the advertising budget for one listing and use only Adwords. you will be pleasantly surprised at the leads you will pull in. we use it in our firm as a standard.

  4. I found that using Google maps its a great way to display listings. You can put links to your online real estate listings inside a balloon marker along with a description text. And if you know your way around code you can display that very same map in your website along with your listing (You will need to get an API number in order to have a mapping service on your site).

  5. In our little mountain town, although we are a very popular ski resort, google maps will not work if you are trying to map anything outside the 6 block downtown area. Yahoo and mapquest are a bit better but not by much.

  6. I’ve been playing with Google Base for a little over a year and even considered using it as the platform for posting all our deal analysis that we do for the national deals we look at. Compared to CraigsList though, it just isn’t where it needs to be and we ultimately ended up just posting the deals on a blog and marketing them on CraigsList.

    James

  7. I work in the City of Edmonton, selling real estate in the residential market. I have to say that I really do appreciate the tools that Google provides, I use Adwords, Earth, and Maps quite regularily in my Edmonton real estate business. What I find most interesting is that most of my colleagues don’t use them!
    I really hope that my competitors don’t real this real estate blog!
    Good luck to all.

  8. Google tools may not always be the best but they do what they are supposed to do and they are usually free.

    It is no secret that wall street is partly responsible for the problems all of us now face with the real estate market. If wall street did not mark bonds AA that were junk they bonds would not have sold and the brokers would not have been able to keep making junk loans that are now causing the market to tank.

  9. To take effective advantage from Google Base you should have a syndication channel on your website. If you already have one than you already have half the work done. The next step should be making that channel available for subscription not only on Google Base but other syndication sources like FeedBurner that will let you ad your RSS channel for free.

  10. I think that Google Base is a goog tool that I have been using for a year or so. I wish I did not have to re-upload my properties every 10 days though. I don’t get many clicks but I get some.

  11. It is a great filling of working with Google and milestones are always a good time for introspection. Interesting, fun, surprising, insightful, inspiring, impactful, and more such words.

    Google is not quite as big as many companies out there, but in its space it has a huge user base for most of its applications (search and beyond). Anything you analytics menu-googlework on will probably touch hundreds of thousands of people.

    Thanks

    working with google

    http://howiworkfromhome.info/google

  12. You shouldn’t depend much on Google – though it’s result may be precise, you should open yourself to try other that might be useful, I’ve been using Google Adwords, yet i still use word tracker to help me find keywords i need for my website.
    Until Now, I’m Still Looking for other ways to help my website get notice by google.

    Google Analytic is very useful tool of google – that gives you a rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

    Lansing REOs
    http://lansingreos.com

  13. Thanks very much for the blog post. I never had heard about Google base before I would how it will turn out once completed- the version still says “beta” on it. Google helps everyone these days whether it be when buying and selling homes or doing an abnormal search.

  14. Google Apps has add ins that save a lot of time, they’ve been very helpful for me. Adwords is a good way of getting traffic and potential customers to your virtual door (when done correctly of course). It opens a sea of new customers available globally, instead of the old fashioned way and also geographically limited to the people in your country or state. I am starting to work on this Adwords tool and hopefully get a lot more customers to my business soon.

    I didn’t know about google base, it seems like it is yet another time saving tool, thanks for the article, it gave me a few more ideas to continue my work.

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