Real Estate 2020 Snippets: Tips on how to use Google Maps for property companies

How Covid has affected people's behaviour, which are the current trends and how Google Maps could help

This year, prompted by the coronavirus health crisis, we have experienced a series of changes in the way we live. Many people have had to change their lifestyles, starting by adapting their work to a situation where it was not always possible to leave home.

Working-from-home had already been present in many people’s lives for a few years, but it did not represent such a high percentage. This meant that people did not need to have a space dedicated to their work at home, as it was optional or subject to emergency situations.

People have had to adapt their homes, getting used to spending 24 hours in a row where before they could only spend the late evening and night because of other work outside the home, commuting to work, shopping, exercise and other activities. And for many it has been a necessary trial run to decide that they need to change their home.

Change lifestyle

Work from home

Adapt their homes

Less commuting

According to finder.com, 60% of the UK’s adult employees are working from home during this Covid-19 situation*, which means less commuting, and more time at home and their surroundings. This may have worked for many people but for others it became a pretty tough situation* to which they had to look for solutions, either by making changes to their homes or by deciding to move to other larger or more enjoyable locations.

* Data provided by Finder.com and Rightmove

Laptop Home

Keywords

People search for

As people are now giving another value to their houses, as we all have to spend more time at them, looking for hobbies to do at home, proper space to have a desk, and also finding places that allows to have a pet, a garden or a balcony to enjoy fresh air has been a priority to many people, as we can see in this blog post by Zoopla on the Top 10 search terms most used by home hunters in 2020*.

* Data provided by Zoopla

New locations

While people started looking for houses in a new location*, due to social distancing, “detached”, “rural” and “secluded” were words used to describe the user behaviour when looking for a new place to live. These keywords define results in areas possibly unknown to users, so being able to offer them information in advance is an added value for real estate companies.

Real Estate Locations

* Data provided by Rightmove

How can that information be added to a Real Estate website? Which is the best way to engage with the user and offer what they are looking for? From our experience of working with larger UK Real Estate firms and our expertise in digital mapping, we have developed this quick guide on tips to use in Google Maps:

Google Places POIs

POIs (Points of Interest)

The pandemic has changed homehunters priorities and some of the features that they are prioritising is the local information. Properties where users can easily locate places nearby such as a supermarket, a bus stop, schools, shops, parks, and anything they might need have become more important.

Real Estate POIs Places GMP
Predictive Travel Time

Travel Time

What is driving the shift is homehunters’ change in lifestyle, and in particular the move to working from home. With the need to spend more time at home and outdoors, travel time has become key; with this feature the user can easily calculate the distance between their house and any place of interest they might need to visit often (supermarket, school, park,...). This should lead to a more work-life balance helping to predict less commuting and place a new focus on finding a home to accommodate these lifestyle changes.​

Real Estate Travel Time GMP
Predictive Travel Time

Travel Time

What is driving the shift is homehunters’ change in lifestyle, and in particular the move to working from home. With the need to spend more time at home and outdoors, travel time has become key; with this feature the user can easily calculate the distance between their house and any place of interest they might need to visit often (supermarket, school, park,...). This should lead to a more work-life balance helping to predict less commuting and place a new focus on finding a home to accommodate these lifestyle changes.​

Street View & Virtual Viewings

Street View is a widely used technology that enables users to see how a property looks from the outside, as well as to navigate in the surrounding area. Also, estate agents are increasingly offering video tours and virtual viewings to buyers and renters as they look to tempt them into making offers during the coronavirus lockdown. This technology brings the opportunity to offer a bespoke ‘guide’ and tailor tours – as it helps users find information they need making the process easier. The adaptability of this technology allows companies to move to an efficient remote working solution, while continuing to provide exceptional service levels.

Real Estate Street View GMP

Even if there is a post-pandemic return to ‘normal’, the adoption of additional information experiences will be here to stay. The ongoing sophistication in real estate has brought many benefits and users will come to regard these additional sources of information as an intrinsic part of the search process.

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