Updated: Apr 26, 2022
We all love to look at photos and virtual tours of homes. You’re so excited that this beautiful home is just what you are looking for, you jump into your car to go by the home only to find that the high-tension tower is in the back yard and the neighbors have several unlicensed cars sitting in their yards. This common situation can be even more "painful" if you traveled 1500 miles to see the home in person.
Real estate agents and sellers can do an excellent job with photos designed to make the property look like a castle. After all, that their job.
So how can you avoid wasting your time? The solution is simple and it's free with Google Maps and Google Earth.
Google Maps has a feature called Street View which allows you to virtually go to the property as well as explore the surrounding area on your computer, tablet or cell phone. Street view is available in most regions of the United States and Canada, and it is free.
Here’s how this works –
1. Type in address, including city and state
2. This will bring up a photo of the property.
3. Once you do this, you will see, in most cases, an icon of a person. Click on this icon which will provide you with a view of the home from the street.
You can pan and zoom the photo –
You can even drive through the neighborhood and area by clicking or tapping on the arrows in the street –
Click here to drive through the area on your own.
If street view is not available for a particular property, use Google Earth to get a birds eye view of the home and neighborhood.
Google Earth offers a 3D view option which provides a "drone view" of the home and area which you can navigate. If you see the person icon, you may also be able to view the home from the street.
You can zoom out to view the area around the home –
Please note that the correct URL is https://earth.google.com/web/search.
To access a property through Google Earth –
1. Log into your Google account or type in the Google Earth link
2. Open Google Earth
3. On the search icon, type in the full address including city and state
4. Hit enter and it will take you to the property.
You can zoom in and circle the property to look at the front, side and rear yards.
Using these free tools will save you countless hours looking at homes that look great from the Realtor® photos, but not so great when you see what’s around it.
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