Google Tools nd Features by karanfzk

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									Google Your Next Home - Using Google Earth to Find Real Estate
Google Earth is one of those cool little tools that, for many, has no use
except for "visiting" places they used to live or have visited before.
However this free tool can be immensely helpful when looking for your
next home.

Many people have enjoyed looking for their houses and potential houses on
Google Maps. Google Earth offers another feature: terrain. For people who
don't want to walk or bike up and down hills to access shops or local
amenities, this can be important. For seniors, who may have difficulty
negotiating hilly terrain, this can be a necessity.

With a click of a button, Google Earth can allow you a limited 3-D view
of the house you are considering. You can then view the relative terrain
in the area surrounding the house and of any major thoroughfares. Google
Earth can also map the driving distance between your potential residence
and favorite destinations.

Another advantage of Google Earth is that it is privy to the same
information as Google Maps. If you are looking for certain amenities near
the property you are considering, Google Earth will list the ones that it
knows of and can be used to search for more.

Currently, the main issue with searching real estate with Google Earth is
the limited nature of the listings. It is not designed as a global real
estate search engine; every company/individual who wants their listings
seen on Google Earth has to create a file with them on it. It is often
best to search Google for real estate in the location you desire and then
check to see if the company/individual is working with Google Earth.

These files have a .kml extension. KML means "Keyhole Markup Language"
after the company Keyhole, Inc. Sometimes you will find .kmz file
extensions which are merely .kml extensions that are zipped, due to the
heavy information load that a .kml file can carry. You will need an
extractor program to release these files.

In order to access these files, you have to download and install the
Google Earth. Then, download and open a .kml file. When you're
downloading, a little window should pop up asking if you want to open it
with Google Earth. Say yes. If it doesn't ask you if it can open it with
Google Earth, head over to that little box and tell it to use Google
Earth.

Once your file is open in the program, check it out. You may have to zoom
in to see all the listings (usually in the shape of houses), but once you
get the hang of it, Google Earth is really easy to use. Play around with
it. See what you can do with the toolbar. If you are interested in a
property that you can't find in a Google Earth file, you can enter in the
address and enjoy a cool flying sensation as the globe turns and you
whoosh in to hover over your destination.

One thing that I have found with Google Earth is that it is not always
the best way to determine property size and the state of the building.
Sites that appeared to have a decent sized lot from above turned out to
be little postage-stamp places with barely enough room to squeeze through
the gate! Google Earth is only the beginning; once you find a home to
buy, definitely do the legwork of going to see it or getting someone to
take photos that show you the entire property

								
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