How google street views changed my world


A lot of the things people do, we do because “that’s the way it’s done”. We get up at 7am, listen to the radio, have coffee, drive to work. We check our email (a new habit but a well ingrained one). Most of us drive the same route to work. We have our little habits.

We have our big habits too. We expect things to go a certain way. Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where the main character suddenly and unanticipatedly dies? It’s not the way things are suppose to happen. We feel the writer isn’t following the rules. It just isn’t right.

The internet has changed many of the rules. It’s fragmented society. We don’t all read the same newspapers or watch the same TV shows anymore. We are no longer one tribe with one culture. We all know different things now and we approach situations often with more and varied information.

About five or six years ago, when I was first getting into real estate, I had a telephone call about a house I was selling in Galt. The lady asked me the regular questions related to money:

What are the taxes?

What are the heating costs? (It was a hundred year old house.)

When was the roof replaced?

How old was the furnace?

And, like a good salesperson, I had all the proper answers…and then, like most buyers like to do, she threw me a curve ball. She asked, “Is there a group home or a halfway house down the street?”

I didn’t know and I said, “I don’t know… Why do you ask?”

I should have mentioned that she was calling from Hamilton, but had come through my open house on the previous weekend.

“There’s a plaque on the wall outside the three story apartment building down the street. I thought it looked like a public building of some kind…”

That would be bad. You don’t want to live next to a halfway house.

“…but I could’t make out what it said.”

Upon further investigation I found out that she was actually google street viewing prospective houses and neighborhoods. Although it has happened many times to me since, this was the first time it had happened to me and I was surprised by the ingenuity of it. Now you could, from the cool comfort of your own living room and office desk, not only surf real estate websites, you cold also tour neighborhoods and even look at your backyard.

The internet has changed the way we shop, for sure, but not the way we buy.

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