– online satellite Real Estate Mapping company

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Brothers from Edmonton hope service will be in central Canada by year-end

Ron Chalmers

EDMONTON — Twin brothers from Edmonton hope their software that links real-estate listings with satellite images to create online maps of homes for sale — along with arterial roads, schools, parks and shopping centres — will be available in central Canadian cities by year-end.

Known as RealPageMaker, Andy and Sam Prochazka’s software already gives realtors and clients in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver up-to-the-minute access to listings also provided through The image bank includes properties throughout the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast areas

Since their start in 2002, the Prochazkas added three in-house software developers, three sales agents — and online listings in the Calgary and Vancouver markets.

The newest enhancement starts with the Google Earth databank of high-resolution images of most of the Earth’s surface. A user can zoom in from a perspective high above the planet to a close-up view of any continent, country, province, city or neighbourhood.

You can see your own home, and even count the cars on the street.

Most homebuyers already use the Internet as part of their search, Andy Prochazka says.

With RPM, linked to Google Earth, a realtor or homebuyer client can view any preferred neighbourhood, with superimposed icons that locate every listed property.

“Buyers start by deciding the amount they can afford,” Sam says. “Then, they look by area.”

RPM can show all the listed homes for sale in any area — or can sort by price range, size or style.

By viewing an image close-in, then backing away to see more of the surroundings, a client gets a good sense of the neighbourhood, Sam says. “Property searchers will never need to ask, ‘Does this house have southern exposure?’ ‘Does the property have good tree coverage?’ or ‘Is this house near a busy commercial area?'” he says.

“Now, they can see for themselves without leaving their computer.”

An RPM image also reveals the view from the property.

And it can help a busy shopper to plan an efficient route for a tour of several homes.

By clicking on any icon, the user can see listing details and interior photos of the particular property.

The Prochazkas sell access to RPM for $49.99 per month to realtors who use it themselves and enable free access by their clients.

“We sell to realtors but our product is only competitive if buyers want to use it,” Andy says.

Because RPM is Internet-based, “we can change the system and upgrade everybody’s software at the same time,” he says.

RPM, with the Google Earth link, retains the original feature of giving clients access to listing information almost immediately after a property is listed.

© The Vancouver Province 2006


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