I know that using my custom map searches can seem a little intimidating, but after reading this I think you will see the value in them. They are a little complicated without explanation, so allow me to explain.
To access them is easy, I have put them front and center in my navigation under House Maps, Condo Maps, and Commercial Maps. To open the custom search, just choose your property type and city, and click. The map will open automatically, it is a little slow to start, I think that is because of my hosting... It may need an upgrade, but I will look at that as my traffic increases.
All the maps are actually exactly the same, but I have preselected the area and property type to make it easier to get right to what you are looking for. Some areas that are dense with listings also are restricted by price, but that is just to make it possible to look at the map without being smothered with listings. Price is easy to change, I will cover that.
The map will open in a separate tab, leaving the page you are coming from to remain. I have done this since I find that I often accidentally close the whole tab instead of the map, and having the source page still there just means no one has to load the website again.
Once open, it looks like this on PC:
Once you are on the map, you can do anything. You can pan the map around to wherever you like, zoom in or out with your mouse wheel, modify the criteria, and look at individual listings. If you click on one of the pins, that listing will come up on the right side and will be highlighted in light green to point it out. To view that listing, just click on it.
As I mentioned, this is also where you modify your criteria. I doubt you want to see all houses or all condos of all price ranges, so this is the time to select your price range, and refine your property type if necessary. The price is an obvious one, it is at the top center, all you have to do is select what is appropriate.
Once you have narrowed down the price, you may wish to pan the map around to check out other areas, With and appropriate price range entered, you may be able to zoom out to look at a larger area. Beds and baths are also front and center, making it easier to refine the search on condos in particular.
Under the "More" tab, you will find lots of good stuff. Here is where you can further refine criteria such as property type. With detached houses there is not much you would need to change, but with condos you can choose what type. Do you want to search for apartments, townhouses, or half duplexes... This is where you choose.
Below we see the map with the "More" tab opened up, and some of the refinements for condos. You can choose to search for penthouses, corner unit, and much more. Also, you may search by size and even bylaw restrictions. So, if you are looking for something that you can definitely rent out, select "Rentals Allowed". To close the more tab, press the orange button. Have a look at the image below:
So far, this is all really awesome in my opinion, but the really good stuff is still to come. Once you have the map figured out and are comfortable using it, you probably want to save your work so that you can revisit your search, rather than refining it again. This is easy to to.
To save a search, the system needs some information, such as an email address to use for login, and to send you new listings, so login is required to save your search. This is not complicated, and I will not spam you. I do not have a mailing list, I do not spam.
The easiest way to create your account is from the map, under the "More" tab. In the image below, I have pointed an arrow to the icon that will open up your account.
With that opened up, you can see there are several ways to sign up, I suggest using the sign up button, this leaves you in complete control of the data I get from you. Just press sign up, and fill in the form, and click sign up at the bottom of the form when done. The system automatically sends you an email with a link. Click on that link and your account is verified. Now, you can log in
Once you are logged in, there are a few changes. For one, you will see all the listing data, such as room sizes and listing date. More importantly, if you have created a good refined search for your specific criteria, you may save it without any more hoops to jump through. You are in...
How to save a search may not appear obvious at first, but it is not complicated. At the bottom right of the map are three round buttons (one button on mobile) with the options to refresh the map, view the listings on the map in a conventional list, or to save your search. The one that looks like an old floppy disk is the save button. A window will open up, all you need to do is name the search, and decide if you want to get new listings in your email. You are not required to get new listings emailed to you, you could always login to look at your saved search, but it is nice to get new listings as soon as they come up, particularly in this hot condo market.
In the image above, we see how listings look from the list view. This is very similar to how they look when you view listings from a normal listings page on my site, but there is an advantage to using the map. What you will see in this list is everything that is visible on the map.
As seen in the image below, if you open an individual listing there is a next and previous button that allows you to navigate through all the listings on the map. You can choose how you want them sorted.
The next and previous buttons are not found on regular pages on my website, unfortunately, they were recently removed by my data supplier. I called them up immediately to tell them of the major malfunction, but it turns out they were removed deliberately because they were having problems with the load on their servers. This followed an email from them telling us REALTORS® that they are making improvements to the load speed of the data, and it turns out this is how they accomplished that, so maps are the only way to go listing to listing in this way.
I do find that the navigation buttons are a little buggy sometimes, but closing the list view and reopening it seems to fix it. See image below for navigation buttons:
There are more great features that you may find useful. The Local Places or Location Score (same thing) show you where places are relative to the individual listing. It will show you exactly where the schools are, grocery stores, transit, and much more. This was a long awaited tool, it is finally working.
There is also the Compare on Market feature, or the Megasite™ Market Insight. They are both the same, but the Compare on Market button in listings gives you sold and active listings based on the individual listing you are looking at. This feature is fantastic and deserves its own blog post, but I must add it to this one as well.
If you are using the Compare on Market feature from a listing, much of the information is auto-populated into the form, but you can change anything, such as broadening or narrowing the price range, expanding the geographic area, or anything else on the form. This is grossly underutilized. There is no catch, it just works... You can get sold comps for any property. I am required to approve any requests for sold comps, so if I am a little slow, please bear with me. I may be driving, or may simply not have looked at my phone recently.
Let's look at the Area Statistics feature. This works from any listing, you don't need to be in a map. This will return active listings for the property type your are looking at in the neighbourhood of that listing. Also very cool.
If you have been busy on the site, and you have used some of these features, you can view results from your account, you do not need to wait for it to come to your email, except for the Compare on Market feature.
Logged in, you can also request a showing or more information about a property without having to enter in your information, it will already be there. Just type something into the message box for me if there is anything I should know.
To view your saved searches, login to your account as shown above. Alternatively, you can login from any listing on the site, you can view everything from there too and it is a bit easier, but I will explain it from the map view. When you get your account open, you will see a link for "Saved Searches", when you click on that, a list of searches opens up. This will include and normal searches saved from a map search, as well and any searches saved from Market Statistics feature.
That is about it for now. You should be an expert in using my site. If you need some help for any reason, contact me.
If you are wondering about the forced login, I will explain that, too. I started MegaSite™ almost 10 years ago. I have rebuilt it several times as technology has improved, and my traffic has always continued to increase. In its younger days when I had very little traffic, it was very effective, I was always meeting new buyers and sellers through my website. But things have changed. My traffic is better than ever, and I have lots of people coming back to my site regularly, but I could get 1,000 visitors, and not one person will contact me. This makes me a bit sad, knowing all these years of work have been almost futile. So, I am making some changes. If someone is upset that I require login after looking at listings for a while, then so be it, they can find another website to browse on. Those people were never going to contact me anyways. If, however, someone likes the website and does sign up, I have the prospect of doing business with some of the many thousands of visitors I get. I think I have the best local Real Estate website, I have worked my butt off building and maintaining it, but I need it to start working for me. I hope you can appreciate that.
P.S. If you have a REALTOR®, please make inquiries through your REALTOR®. If you are not happy with your REALTOR®, I may be able to help. Almost every inquiry that I do get comes from someone with an agent who thinks that they are reaching the listing agent when they contact me. This frustrates me to no end...
There are a few things that are bad about this, but the important one is that dual agency will no longer be permitted by the new rules being handed down by the Real Estate Council. So even if it were my listing, I could not help this person. Under the new rules, anything a buyer says to a listing agent must be relayed to the seller, and it will be used against the buyer if there is any way to do so.
Under the old rules, if this buyer does go to the listing agent, his or her agent could end up getting cut out of the deal. So please, let your agent do their job, and don't contact listing agents directly. That undermines a buyer's agent's effectiveness to do so, and it will be somewhat offensive to them. As I say, if you are not happy with your agent, then maybe we can talk.
This website is intended to help me meet buyers who do not have an agent, but need one. Everyone buying will need an agent due to the new council rules. So, if you are without an agent, you are the person I want contacting me. Anyone is free to use this website, I will not block people because they have an agent.