The Pacific Northwest real estate market search for real estate is now complete. If you want to find a home in the PacNW chances are you will be using Microsoft Virtual Earth to view your locations. I love this battle royale going on up here between John L. Scott, Coldwell Banker Bain, RedFin and Windermere.
Windermere was using Google Maps and is still using ESRI maps in some spots, but they've launched their 3rd beta for their new "Property Point" site with Virtual Earth and this application is smokin'! The map-based interface gives you all the options you could ever want to filter results on. The maps are loading super fast and they'll pop up notifications to let you know the search is taking place - response time is lightning fast. This results in homes for sale around the area with pictures, prices, address information and a link to details about the property. Hitting details in the popup changes the tab on the left from "Search" to "Details" and provides a scrollable interface with TONS of information about the property. I was surprised to see they didn't roll out the Bird's Eye (oblique) imagery with the application as it makes viewing a home in such high detail and from four cardinal directions a much more immersive experience, but hey, this is just a beta (and you can always use CTRL + B as the native keyboard control where Bird's Eye is available - tnx Stevelom). It's going to be an exciting year watching these PacNW real estate innovators raise the bar against each other especially as they fight tooth and nail for every deal they can in this struggling housing market. Consumers will be looking to save every penny they can and that includes gas (prices through the roof) to drive around town looking at properties when they can just navigate a slick web site with lots of information and imagery for finding a home.