September 9th, 2014
When you go for a road trip, you always bring a map, whether on paper or on your smartphone. You want a map that’s both easy to use and accurate, so that you arrive at your destination without getting lost or driving into a lake.
Setting off on a journey to buy or sell a home in Portland? Maps are becoming a key online tool to not only find homes for sale but also to learn about market trends and neighborhood statistics. They display information visually and in layers, instead of as a list or block of text, so that it’s fast and easy to understand. Good maps make it easy to click-through to learn more information about a given home for sale, get an idea of how reasonably it’s priced for the area, and get in touch with a Portland real estate agent to schedule a tour. And, just like you wouldn’t use a road map that shows non-existent roads, a good real estate map search should give you the most recent information available.
Which is the best real estate map search tool for Portland real estate? To find out, I took off my Portland Real Estate Agent hat and went into home-buyer mode to do a little testing. Read on to learn how the top online real estate maps compare.
Zillow, the most popular real estate search website, has by far the least useful real estate map. You can search for homes for sale by basic parameters such as listing price and the number of bedrooms. There is a “layer” you can add to the map that shows where schools are. (Layers are map features that can be turned on and off to show different information.) Data for this map could be anywhere from a few days to a few MONTHS old.
Recently acquired by Zillow, Trulia remains a distinct website with a mapping feature that is more comprehensive than Zillow’s. In addition to schools, you can add businesses to the map (to find, for example, homes that are near both a top-rated elementary school and a grocery store). Other useful layers include demographic information and hazards (did you know that Vancouver, WA has a higher tornado risk than Portland?) Trulia makes an app for you to take the map with you on your smartphone. Like Zillow Trulia’s data is old, at least a few days if not longer. This makes it tough on Portland home buyers who need to “jump” on homes in fast moving markets. You’d miss out entirely!
Portland Real Estate Map Search
Not to toot my own horn too loudly, but this is the best Portland real estate map, hands down. It gives users a one-stop shop for Portland real estate and neighborhood data in an easy-to-use format. There is a wealth of information in the layers – choose from the “lifestyle” menu to make Portland hospitals, shops, schools and custom locations appear on the map. You can also view real estate market trends for any given address, useful for home buyers and sellers to see what similar homes have sold for in the area and where prices are going. You can search for Portland homes by neighborhood (very important feature in Portland!) and / or by school! You can see a ton of demographic information in each distinct Portland neighborhood and even weather differences! Of course you can also save your favorite searches and get automatic updates. It is also automatically refreshed multiple times a day for near perfect accuracy. For more detailed home value information, you can request a custom valuation report from a local Portland real estate agent (much more accurate than Zillow’s “Zestimates”).
The most important factor that makes Portland Real Estate Map Search the best overall mapping tool is that its data comes live from the local Multiple Listing Service. That means, for example, that you won’t miss getting a home in your search results because it was out of your price range, but the seller just lowered the price yesterday. So try out my Portland real estate map, or at least try to find another local source with more update information. Realtor.com is the best “national” real estate site in terms of data accuracy if you can’t find a local website you like.
The bottom line is, online Portland real estate maps make it easier to find and organize information about the Portland housing market and find a home to buy. Find one that works for you, or use multiple – just make sure that when it’s time to close the deal, you have an experienced, local Portland real estate agent on your side. No map can replace that!