Interactive Real Estate Map Instructions
Creating an Account
Registration is not required in order to use the map. However, if you do register, the account you create can be used to gain access to advanced features and additional property information. To register, click the LOG IN link that appears near the right side of the bar above the map, then click the Go to Registration page link on the Map Log In dialog box that appears.
To create an account, you must provide your name, email address, telephone number, and the password you want to use to log in to the map. For security reasons, once you create an account you will receive an email with instructions on how to confirm your password. Once you confirm, you can log in by clicking the LOG IN link and providing your email address and password. Mark the Remember Me checkbox if you want to automatically log in every time you visit the map page from the same browser. Your account and password is valid for 30 days but can be renewed.
When you are logged in to the map, a variety of map data are saved automatically when you leave the map page and restored when you return and log in (even if you return on a different computer). Here is what is saved:
More property information is also shown when you are logged in:
- The map position, zoom level, and display mode.
- The list of properties marked as favourites.
- The list of saved search queries.
- Custom search areas you have created.
- Notes you have made on properties.
- The sort order of the properties in lists.
- The "from address" used when you're asking for directions.
- The preference controlling whether the help tip dialog is to appear when the map first starts up.
- The preference controlling whether the search panel is to be visible when the map first starts up.
- The name of your news feed as well as the temperature units and time format used in your weather feed.
You also get access to advanced features such as the ability to request email alerts when the price of a property changes or when new properties satisfying your search criteria come up for sale.
- Room sizes
- Bathroom information (number of pieces, ensuite status)
- Number of finished storeys in the home
- Basement information
- Finished floor area for each storey in the home
- Unfinished floor area
- Renovations information
- Flooring type
- Suite information
- Strata fees
- Pad fees
- Strata rules
- Roofing material
- Foundation type
- Construction type
- Exterior finish
- Outdoor features
- Parking (garage information, total number of parking spaces, number of covered parking spaces)
- Parking access
- Rear yard exposure
- Fireplace information (number and type of fuel)
- Heating information
- Water supply information
- Zoning information
When you are logged in, your name appears in the bar above the map and the LOG IN link changes name to LOG OUT. Click LOG OUT to save the current state of the map to your account and prevent further changes from being saved. (You are automatically logged out when you close the map page unless you marked the Remember Me checkbox when you logged in.)
If you forget your log in password, click the LOG IN link to show the Map Log In dialog box, click the Go to Change Password page link in this box, then provide your email address and a new password. To change your password, log out first, then follow the same steps. Instructions on how to confirm the new password will then be sent to your email address. The new password is activated as soon as you confirm.
Basic Map Navigation
- Switching Between Maps. Use the pop-up menu at the left side of the bar above the map to switch between available real estate maps.
- Zooming. There are several ways to zoom the map in and out:
- Click a cluster marker — a cluster marker is a marker with a number on it that indicates how many properties are represented. As you zoom in, individual property markers will begin to appear.
- Use the and controls on the left side of the map.
- Use the Shift-drag technique to zoom in to a specific area of the map currently in view. To do this, hold down a Shift key while clicking and dragging the mouse from one corner of the area to the opposite corner, then release the mouse button. To cancel the operation, release the Shift key before releasing the mouse button. An alternative to using the Shift key is to use the control (below the pan/zoom control on the left side of the map); click it to turn drag zoom mode on and off. If you use this technique, you can cancel a drag in progress by typing any key on the keyboard.
- Double-click the mouse at a location where you want the map centered: a regular double-click zooms in one level, a double-click using the right mouse button zooms out one level. (On a Macintosh mouse with only a single button, hold down the Control key while double-clicking to zoom out one level.)
- Centering. Centre the map around a location by double-clicking at the desired location (this also zooms the map in by one level).
- Panning. View neighbouring areas by clicking in the map and dragging the mouse to move the map. You can also go directly to an area by choosing its name from the Go to Neighbourhood pop-up menu in the bar above the map; this may also change the zoom level.
- Changing View. Select a standard Map view or a Satellite view by selecting the corresponding button in the top right corner of the map. To show satellite imagery overlaid with street names, click the Satellite button then mark the Labels box that appears below it. To show a terrain view, click Map then mark the Terrain box. If the Terrain box is grayed out, you will have to zoom out until it can be marked.
- Maximizing Map Size. You can maximize the width of the map by hiding the sidebar to the right of the map. Do this by clicking in the column between the map and the sidebar. To show the sidebar once again, click . You can maximize the height of the map by hiding the search panel below the map. Do this by clicking in the panel below the map. To show the search panel once again, click . Hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) while clicking to maximize or minimize the height and width of the map simultaneously.
- Criteria Search. There are several criteria you can specify to limit the group of properties shown on the map:
- The property type: All Properties, Houses, Condos/Townhouses, Manufactured Homes, Vacant Lots
- The geographic area (this can include a custom search area that you define)
- When the property was first offered for sale at the current price
- The minimum price
- The maximum price
- The minimum number of bedrooms
- The minimum number of bathrooms
- The minimum and maximum house size
- The minimum lot size
- The desired features: Waterfront, View, Fireplace, Hot Tub, Pool, Security System, Workshop
- Whether the property is one of your favourites
As soon as you change any of these criteria, the map updates automatically.
Click the Show All button, on the line below the map, to return all the search criteria to their default values so that all properties will appear on the map once again.
- Keyword Search. If you know the MLS® number for a property, or its street address, or you're looking for a property in a specific postal code area or with a particular keyword in its description, you can quickly show the property (or properties) on the map by entering the MLS® number, address, postal code, building name, or keyword, in the box to the left of the Search button in the bar below the map, then clicking the button (or typing the Return key).
Note that if you are searching for an address it is sufficient to type in just the street number and street name, or either one of the two. It's best not to include the street type (e.g., RD, AV, ST, etc.) since sometimes properties on the same street have been entered inadvertently by the Real Estate Board with different street types (RD instead of AV, and vice versa, for example).
After properties are found, the map moves to the geographic centre of the properties and only these properties are shown on the map. In addition, a yellow status line appears near the top-left corner of the map reminding you of the keywords entered. If only one property is found, its information panel is shown and its marker bounces for a brief time. Click on the status line or the Show All button on the line below the map to show all properties on the map once again.
A keyword you specify can actually be a sequence of words separated from each other by a space character; in this situation, a property is found only if every word specified is in the property's description (in any order). This is called an AND search. For example, to look for properties with the words barn and pond in their descriptions, specify barn pond.
To find a property with any of several specified words in the description, enclose the alternative words in parentheses and separate them from each other with a comma character. This is called an OR search. For example, to look for properties which have the words fixer-upper or TLC in their descriptions, specify (fixer-upper, TLC).
If the order of the words is important, put them inside quotation marks in the desired order. For example, "priced to sell" (with quotation marks) would match the description "property is priced to sell" but not "priced at assessed value, can also sell furniture to buyer". A search for priced to sell (no quotation marks) would match both descriptions.
Note that a search normally looks for an exact word match (or for the plural or singular of the word). To match any word that begins with the characters in the keyword, add a * (called the wildcard character) to the end of the keyword. For example, pano* matches the words panorama or panoramic. Put a - (called the not character) in front of a keyword if you're looking for a property that does not contain the word. For example, court -tennis matches all properties containing the word court except those that also include the word tennis.
. If you have created an account and are logged in to the map
you can save searches for later use and also request that email alerts be sent to you when new properties satisfying the search criteria come on the market.
To save the current search so you can quickly repeat it at any time, enter a name for the search in the box to the right of the Save Current Search label in the bar below the map, mark the Email updates checkbox if you want to receive email alerts whenever new properties satisfying the search criteria come on the market, then click the Save button (or type the Return key). This saves the search criteria and any keywords specified, the selected points of interest, the properties that have been marked as favourites, as well as the current map position and zoom level.
To run a saved search, choose its name from the pop-up menu to the right of the Run Saved Search label. Note that some standard searches appear at the top of this menu; their names are enclosed by brackets.
Note that if you save a search with the name Startup it will run automatically when you first open the map.
A caveat: all properties are removed from the Favourite Properties list prior to running a saved search, so always run a saved search before creating a new Favourite Properties list.
Another caveat: if you save a search when a custom search area is active and you later modify the custom search area, the search still uses the old area definition. To use the new area definition, you must delete the saved search and save a new search.
To change the properties of a previously-saved search (i.e., its name or frequency), or to delete the search, select the Manage custom searches... item in the Run Saved Search pop-up menu. A panel appears in the sidebar that shows the names of the current custom searches, the frequency of email alerts, and the search criteria. If you change the name or frequency of a search, click the Save Changes button to confirm the change. Click the Delete button to delete the search. A list of properties you're watching also appears in the panel; click the Stop Watching button to remove a property from your watch list.
- Defining Custom Search Areas. You can find properties for sale in any specific geographic area you like by defining a custom search area then selecting the name of the area in the Area pop-up menu in the search bar below the map. After you select a custom search area, the area is centered on the map and only properties which are located inside the custom search area are shown.
To define a custom search area, first click the area control below the pan/zoom control on the left side of the map. Then draw an outline around the desired area by clicking each corner point and finish by double-clicking the last corner. (You can cancel the definition by clicking the area control once again.) When drawing is completed, a dialog box appears asking you to provide a name for the custom search area. Type in any name you like and click the OK button to add the custom search area name to the bottom of the Area pop-up menu.
To rename or delete previously-defined custom search areas, select the Custom areas... item in the Area pop-up menu. A dialog box appears that shows the names of the current custom search areas and provides buttons for renaming and deleting the areas.
Note that you can modify the shape of a custom area after it has been created and is visible on the map. Simply drag the solid squares shown at the corner points of the area. To add more corners, drag the dimmed squares shown mid way along the line segment connecting two corners. After you make a change, an "undo" button appears; click it to cancel the change.
If you are logged in to the map, your list of custom search areas will be saved when you quit the map and automatically restored the next time you log in.
- Quick Summary. To quickly see the price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the house size, the lot size, the house age, the street address, the number of days on market, and a small photo of the property, move the mouse over the property's marker ( or ) on the map and the information will appear in a yellow summary box near the marker. The summary box disappears when you move the mouse away from the marker.
Note that when the map is zoomed out, groups of properties for sale in the same general area are represented by a single "cluster marker" with a number in the centre indicating how many properties have been combined. This is done to make it easier to see map detail when there is a large number of properties for sale in an area. As you zoom in the map (by clicking the cluster marker itself, for example), fewer properties are included in clusters until, at higher zoom levels, individual property markers begin to appear. At this point you can move the mouse over a property marker to see the quick summary box for the property as described above.
Every couple of seconds the photo shown in the summary box automatically changes to another one available for the property. Hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) when the summary box is visible to prevent the current photo from changing until you release the key.
If there is more than one property for sale at the same location (this happens, for example, when there are multiple units for sale in an apartment complex), the summary box shows information for only one property but switches to another available property every couple of seconds. Hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) to keep showing the current property's summary until you release the key.
- Property Detail. To see detailed information about a property in the sidebar to the right of the map, click its marker on the map or click its address in the Favourite Properties list or Found Properties list. If you double click the marker, the property will also be centered on the map and the map will zoom in one level. Notice that the marker bounces briefly after you click it.
The information panel that appears covers the Favourite Properties list or Found Properties list normally found in the sidebar; click to close the panel and reveal the list once again. There are several tasks you can perform inside the information panel:
- If there are multiple photos for a property, a Photo Gallery button will appear; click it to view the photos for the property at full size using a convenient photo browser.
- Click the Print/Email Brochure button to view a complete brochure for the property, suitable for printing or emailing.
Click the Watch button to request that alerts be sent to you by email when the price of the property changes. An eye icon appears on the detail page when you are watching a property. Click the eye icon to cancel the email alerts. You can also stop watching properties by selecting the Manage custom searches... item in the Run Saved Search pop-up menu below the map. Note that you must be logged in to the map to watch properties.
- Click the Directions button to show driving directions to the property from any location you choose.
- Click the property icon to centre the map around the property's location and zoom in to the third highest level.
- Mark the Favourite checkbox to identify the property as a favourite so that it will appear in the Favourite Properties list.
- Click the Street View button, if it's not grayed out, to activate Street View panoramic photos (see below). If the button is grayed out, Street View photos are not available in the immediate vicinity of the property.
- Click the Find Similar button to show on the map only similar properties located within a 2 km radius of the property whose detail is being shown. A similar property is one that has a price within 15%, a home size within 15%, and the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, plus or minus one. In addition, a circle with a 2 km radius appears on the map along with a yellow status line near the top-left corner reminding you that similar properties are being shown on the map. Click on the status line or the Show All button on the line below the map to show all properties on the map once again.
Every couple of seconds the photo shown in the information panel automatically changes to another one available for the property; holding down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) prevents the current photo from changing until the key is released. To manually advance to the next photo, click the current photo. Hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) while clicking to show the previous photo instead.
are shown for most properties. They are determined annually by BC Assessment
, a provincial Crown corporation, and are intended to be an estimate of the value of a property (for taxation purposes only) on July 1 of the previous year (the "valuation date"). For example, the valuation date for 2012 assessments is July 1, 2011. Most municipal taxes levied on a property are based on a percentage of the assessed value with the specific rate depending on the tax category.
An assessed value does not necessarily reflect current market value for several reasons: (1) market conditions affecting the value of a property can change quickly whereas the assessed value always relates to the valuation date, (2) assessors do not often visit individual properties so are unlikely to be familiar with the unique characteristics and general condition of a property that can affect value, and (3) although all assessors follow the same general valuation guidelines, one assessor may apply these guidelines differently than another, resulting in inconsistent valuations even within the same jurisdiction.
NOTE: Please verify assessment information with BC Assessment. Assessments can change when values are appealed or errors are corrected.
Near the bottom of the detail page is a text box where you can type in personal notes about the property (and view notes you've previously entered). If you are logged in, you can save these notes to your map account by clicking the Save the Notes button. Click the Remove the Notes button to erase any existing notes.
. Approximate boundaries — often offset slightly from their actual locations because of the low precision of the available data — are shown for most properties included on the map. In cases where multiple lots are being sold together, the boundaries for only one of the lots in the group is shown. In some cases, where a subdivision is in progress or where the property is a strata lot, the boundaries shown may be of the entire subdivision or strata complex, not of the specific lot being sold. No guarantees or warrantees of accuracy or precision with respect to these boundaries are made. You should consult original plans, or conduct new surveys, to determine exact boundary positions.
Boundaries can also be shown for all properties, not just those for sale. You can turn on and off the display of these boundaries using the Lot Lines button in the top right corner of the map. If you click inside the boundary of a property, the address of the property, assessment information, and lot size will appear in a yellow box near the property.
- Found Properties list. The sidebar to the right of the map initially shows the Found Properties list, a list of all properties that satisfy the current search criteria. This list is automatically updated when you change the search criteria. To show the Favourite Properties list in the sidebar instead, click the Switch to Favourite Properties link at the top of the sidebar.
Mark the Fav checkbox on the left side of the information line for a property to identify the property as a favourite so that it will appear in the Favourite Properties list.
Click the property's photo to bring up the photo gallery window. The number of photos for the property is indicated in the small box in the top left corner of the primary photo.
Click a property address in the list to centre the map around the property's location, zoom in to the third highest level, and show the property's information panel.
Properties are initially listed in order from highest to lowest price in the list. To reverse the sort order, click the label at the top of the Price column.
- Favourite Properties list. The Favourite Properties list also appears in the sidebar to the right of the map. Properties in this list can be compared, watched, printed, emailed, and included in a virtual tour.
If the Found Properties list is being shown in the sidebar, switch to the Favourite Properties list by clicking the Switch to Favourite Properties link at the top of the sidebar. If the Favourite Properties list is being shown, switch to the Found Properties list by clicking the Switch to Found Properties link.
There are several ways to mark a property as a favourite:
- Click the Favourite box in the property's information panel to toggle the favourite status on and off.
- Click the property's marker on the map while holding down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) to toggle the favourite status on and off.
- Hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) when you use the Shift-drag technique to zoom the map (see the Zooming section above). This marks as favourites all the properties within the area you select.
The marker for a property marked as a favourite is .
There are also three buttons in the bar below the map for marking groups of properties as favourites: All (all properties satisfying the current search criteria), In View (all properties visible within the map frame), and None.
To show just favourite properties on the map, mark the My Favourite checkbox in the bar below the map (at the end of the features line).
Click the Zoom to Favourites button to change the zoom level to the highest possible value that allows all the favourites to be in view on the map. The centre of the map also changes to the geographic centre of the favourites.
In the Favourite Properties list:
- Click to remove a property from the list.
- Click the property's photo to bring up the photo gallery window. The number of photos for the property is indicated in the small box in the top left corner of the primary photo.
- Click the property address to centre the map around the property's location, zoom in to the third highest level, and show the property's information panel.
- Click the Compare button at the top of the list to show a side-by-side summary of favourite properties.
Click the Watch button at the top of the list to request that alerts be sent to you by email when the price of any property in the list changes. An eye icon appears on the detail page of a property when you are watching it. Click the eye icon to cancel the email alerts. You can also stop watching properties by selecting the Manage custom searches... item in the Run Saved Search pop-up menu below the map. Note that you must be logged in to the map to watch properties.
- Click the Print/Email Brochures button at the top of the list to print brochures for all the favourite properties or to send the brochures to any email address.
- Click the Print/Email List button at the top of the list to print the list or send it to any email address.
- Click at the top of the list to show or hide text that describes how to use the Favourite Properties list.
Properties are initially listed in order from highest to lowest price in the list. To reverse the sort order, click the label at the top of the Price column.
Note that if you are logged in the list of favourite properties is automatically saved when you close the map and is restored when you return. Be aware, however, that the list is automatically cleared when you run a saved search.
- Virtual Tour. To begin a virtual tour of the group of properties marked as favourites, click the Begin Tour of Favourites button in the bar below the map; click it again (when the button reads End Tour of Favourites) to end the tour. Specify the duration of each property visit on the tour in the seconds / visit box (5 to 99 seconds).
While a tour is underway, use the controller in the bar below the map to go back to the previous property, pause or resume the tour, and go immediately to the next property . You can step through a tour manually by pausing the tour after starting it, then using the control to advance to the next property when you're ready.
You can also use the keyboard to control the tour. While holding down the Control and Option (Macintosh) or Alt (PC) keys, press ↓ to pause and resume the tour; press ← to go back to the previous property; press → to go to the next property; and press ↑ to stop the tour.
- Fresh Inventory. A marker with a green outline identifies a property that is new to the market in the past two weeks. A marker with green vertical borders identifies a property whose price has changed in the past two weeks.
- Price Trends. An arrow following a price indicates whether the price has decreased (↓) or increased (↑) in the past two weeks. A price with a line through it is the previous asking price for the property.
. Click the Businesses
button in the top right corner of the map to turn on and off the display of local businesses.
Up to 20 businesses within a 200 m radius of the centre of the map (as indicated by a highlighted circle) are shown when the Business option is on. Move the mouse over a business marker (a small pictorial icon) to see a quick summary box for the business; click the marker to see additional information (including the full address and the telephone number). Click the marker while holding down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) to visit Google's webpage for the business. The summary box disappears when you move the mouse away from the marker.
If there is more than one business at a given location, the summary box indicates the number of nearby results. In this situation, click the marker to view information for the next business at this location; click the marker while holding down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) to see additional information for the business. While viewing the additional information, you can visit Google's webpage for the business by Option- or Alt-clicking once again.
- Points of Interest. To show points of interest on the map, check one or more of the boxes on the Points of interest line in the bar below the map. (Click the purple box on the left side of the Points of interest line to show all points of interest; hold down the Option key (Macintosh) or Alt key (PC) when clicking to show no points of interest.) To see more information about a point of interest, move the mouse over the point of interest's marker on the map and the information will appear in a yellow box below the marker. The box disappears when you move the mouse away from the marker.
- News. There is a news ticker in the bar above the map — a different headline appears every 5 seconds or so and you can click the headline to bring up the full story in a separate window. Click the arrows next to the headline to see right away the previous or next headline. Click the NEWS link to change the news channel to the next one available; the name of the channel appears briefly after you click the link.
- Weather. The current temperature, and the time and town where it was recorded, is shown in the bar above the map. Click the temperature to change the units and click the time to change the time format. Click the town name to go to Environment Canada's detailed weather page for the town.
- Sharing. There are two pictorial links on the right side of the bar above the map: a printer icon and a link icon. Click the printer icon to print the map and the Favourite Properties list; click the link icon to see the web address of the map that you can copy and paste into an email, the address field of a bookmark, or an instant message.
- Help Tips. Click on the left side of the bar below the map to view a help tip. In the dialog box that appears, click the Next Tip link to view a different help tip. Click OK when you're done.
The help tip dialog normally appears when the map first starts up. If you are logged in to the map, a Show tips at startup checkbox appears in the dialog; use it to indicate whether you want to see the help tip dialog at startup time.
Google Street View
- Street View Panoramas. Street View is a Google service that lets you explore street-level 360-degree panoramic imagery of an area. You can easily change the direction of view — left and right, up and down — using on-screen Street View controls or keys on the keyboard.
There are two ways to activate Street View. The first method is to drag the "peg man" icon that appears in the top left corner of the map. When you begin to drag, those streets that have a panorama available are outlined in blue; drop the peg man on any of these streets that you wish to explore. Note that if the peg man is grayed out and cannot be dragged, no panoramas are available for any location currently in view.
The second method is to automatically place the peg man at the location of a particular property by clicking the Street View button that appears in the information panel for the property. If the button is grayed out, Street View is not available in the immediate vicinity of the property. In this situation, you can use the first method to place the peg man on a nearby street instead.
When Street View is activated, a Street View window appears, covering the map. Click the Exit Street View button in the top-right corner of the Street View window to exit Street View and show the map once again.
In the Street View window there are controls on the left for changing the orientation of the panorama. Click the left and right arrows, or use the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard, or drag the directional ring encircling the group of arrows, to spin the photo to the left or right. (If the keyboard doesn't seem to work, click in the Street View window first to make it active.) Click the up and down arrows to tilt the photo up and down. You can also change the orientation by dragging the image in the Street View window.
Click the + and - controls or drag the slider to zoom in and out of the panoramic photo.
When you move the mouse inside the Street View window, you will see lines with directional arrows on them along streets. Click the arrows to move along the street. (When using some browsers, you can also use the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard to move along a street.) When you reach an intersection, you can move onto a cross street by clicking its arrows. Use the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to change the direction of view.
© 2013 Gary Little