By Lolly Spindler
Interested in turning the listings on your website into an easy-to-navigate, custom real estate listing map? Read on to learn how to take your real estate website to the next level with interactive, user-friendly visuals of the areas you farm.
Step One: Log Into Your Google+ Profile
You’ll need to be logged into Google in order to create a custom map. If you don’t yet have a Google+ account, check out our post on Google+ to get started.
Step Two: Head Over to Maps Engine
Head over to Google’s Maps Engine. You will see options to create a new map or open a map; select create a new map.
Step Three: Name Your Map
In the upper left corner you will see “Untitled map.” Click on it to enter a title and description for your real estate listing map. Since HouseHunt is based in Huntington Beach, California, I decided to make a custom map of the listings we have available downtown.
Step Four: Pick Your Area
To pick your area, type in the city or town you’re making the map of in the search bar. This is what Google means by “adding a layer.”
Step Five: Add Your Listings
Now that we’re in the general area of where we want our real estate listing map, type or copy and paste the address of a listing into the search bar. Click on the green marker that appears and then click on “add to map.”
The marker will now turn red. Click on the red marker and choose the pencil “edit” tool. Now you can add listing details, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and price, to the box that appears.
Continue adding your listings in this manner until you have all of them on your map.
Step Six: Customize Your Markers
Now that you have all of your listing markers on your map, it’s time to customize them! Go over to the left hand menu and add a name for your layer. I chose “Homes for Sale.”
Under your new layer title, click on “Style.” From the individual styles menu, play around with and choose from a uniform style, sequence of colors and letters, individual styles or style by data column.
The uniform style will let you pick colors and shapes for your markers.
The sequence of colors and letters style will be just that!
Individual styles is like the uniform style, but will let you choose a color and icon shape for each of your markers. This is great when making a community map.
Style by data column is similar to the sequence style but organizes your markers by name or description.
To the right of “Style” you will see “Data.” This will give you a handy way of looking at all of the information you entered about the homes on your real estate listing map.
To the right of “Data” you will see “Labels.” From here you can choose if you want your listings to be labeled by name (in my case, address), description, or have no labels at all. In this screenshot, I opted for the “name” label.
Step 7: Customize Your Base Map
At the bottom of the left hand menu, you will see “Base map.” Click on the down arrow to the right of this to pick a base map style you prefer. There are nine options to choose from including regular map, satellite, terrain, light political, mono city, simple atlas, light landmass, dark landmass, and whitewater.
Here’s my map in the Simple Atlas style:
Step 8: Extra Options
Maps Engine lets you undo and redo moves in case you’ve made a mistake, draw lines, and add directions.
You can use the lines feature to designate a specific area or outline a neighborhood.
Use the directions feature to include directions from listing to listing, perfect for when you’re planning home tours for clients.
Step 9: Share & Export Your Finished Map
After you’ve finished your real estate listing map, click on the “Share” button on the upper right hand side. This will give you options to share a link to your map, share your map via email, and/or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter. It will also give you options to determine who has access to the map.
If you want to export your map to KML or embed it on your site, go to the file folder to the left of “add layer” on the upper left hand menu. You must make your map public in order to access these options.
Here’s my embedded map:
And here’s the link to view it online: Homes for Sale in Downtown Huntington Beach, CA
That’s it; you’re done! These maps are not only great for active and recently sold listings, but for showcasing your community knowledge. Add a layer to a listing map to show your favorite restaurants, parks, etc, or make a separate community map to share with out-of-town buyers. Your custom maps will give boring, impersonal Google Maps a personal touch, showing off your community expertise and your active listings!