Finding Your Way with GPS
By Doug Adomatis
Why use a global positioning system (GPS) in your business? There are some very good reasons, according to appraiser Sandra Adomatis.
“Realtors have been known to put their sign on the wrong property and some have even sold the wrong parcel. In Charlotte County (Fla.), there is a high concentration of platted, vacant lots with few indications of property boundaries. Appraisers have appraised the wrong parcel because they couldn’t find the right one,” Adomatis said.
How do you spell lawsuit?
GPS tells you where you are and street-mapping software shows you how to get to where you are going. Together, the two work like a car navigation system. This helps appraisers, agents and buyers locate hard to find properties. In rural areas, directions to properties can be hard to follow. A car navigation system shows you where you are relative to your destination and will display your options on how to get there and back. These systems provide detailed driving directions that include precise mileage of each route segment.
You Can Go Home Again
Agent Margaret Rome uses the factory installed car navigation system in her Lexus SC430. “Before heading out for work I select my destinations for the day, such as court house, client’s home and listed property and follow the routing. If I’m at a property for the first time, I mark the location so that I can route back to it another day. Once when we had a flash snowstorm, I used the GPS to see if there was another route out of a development. I saved the buyer, another agent and myself from getting stuck. Likewise, if there is an accident or construction, it will automatically reroute me. But one of the best uses for the GPS is that no matter where I am, especially at night, I just hit “home” and it takes me to my house from any remote location. It’s safer and saves time because I don’t have to stop to ask directions.”
The Good Life with Mapping Software
Today, mapping software makes it easy to import a list of destinations right from a desktop spread sheet or Word file or even from the MLS, making it simple to map out your day. You can start with a spreadsheet of properties you want to visit or export a search straight from the MLS. For example, you can export your subject and all of the other four bedroom homes in one area to an Excel worksheet using the MLS Number, street address and zip code. The address information locates the property on the map and the MLS Number can be used to link that location with other documents. Now, import the data into your mapping program and the properties you select will show up on the map like blips on a radar screen. Once you’ve got the data you can use the “route” feature for trip planning and generating driving directions or you can enable the GPS feature to show your position relative to the listed properties. You can also use the document management features to link files related to map locations.
GPS is changing the way real estate professionals perform an essential element of their job: identifying and locating properties. Using a car navigation system programmed with MLS data is a useful house-hunting tool for appraisers, agents and buyers. There is simply is no easier way to find nearby homes on the market while driving. While this technology may be a bit of a novelty today using it will be commonplace before too long.
Doug Adomatis is the owner of TravelByGPS.com, where he publishes GPS data, how-to articles and equipment reviews. Contact Doug at email@example.com.
“Once you have entered the Subject and Comparable property addresses into your appraisal, you can create a Location Map addendum by using mapping software that integrates with your forms software,” said Doug Meservey, of Map Solutions. “GeoLocator automatically imports your Subject and Comparable addresses, creates a map and exports the map image and proximity calculations back to your Location Map addendum page.” Doug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.