Google Earth as an Organizational Tool

2 Replies

I searched but didn't find much on this particular use of Google Earth.

I've just begun a search for a small multifamily to house hack in the St Petersburg, FL area. I'm new to the area so I'm trying to learn my way around and apply the tools and techniques I've used for SFR investing. Today I went driving for dollars, using a list of properties my realtor sent me. I organized the list between two general areas, made a route on Google Maps, and started cruising. I was using various apps and self-made tools (mostly in Excel today) to track where I'd been, and make brief notes, memory joggers really, for each property I drove by.

When I got home, I was trying to figure out a better way. I remembered when I was in the Air Force, our intelligence people used Google Earth to organize and easily transfer information about objectives. The ability to link data from numerous sources was incredible. 

In the military, I was always a consumer of this information, so I had some learning to accomplish in order to build it. Within about 45 minutes, I had organized my list of addresses into a standardized format, saved it as a CSV file (easy to do in Excel), imported it into Google Earth, and it populated a list of properties. For each one, I can leave notes. I've started fairly simply with a standardized format of "MLS: [enter address, or similar], BP Tool: [BP rental property calculator-linked to the analysis I've done or will do], and HOLD Tool: [linked to a file in Drop Box for the analysis tool from "HOLD," by Keller, McKissack's et al]."

Now I can easily see the locations of all the properties I'm looking at, with easy links to relevant analysis info and tools. I'm going to figure out a color coding system, perhaps with different symbols on the map as well to indicate whether it warrants further diligence, and whether I've seen it, driven past it, or only seen the listing. Looking at it on the map lets me immediately determine whether it's in or out of an area I'm interested in.

Has anyone else used Google Earth similarly? Any ideas I'm missing with it, or other tips and tricks I could try?

Hey Colin, I haven't used Google Earth in the way you've described.  I've used a paid app called DealMachine, which is a driving-for-dollars app which lets you place pinpoints on a map and look up the address + owner records, send direct mail postcards to any addresses associated with those owners, etc.  It also lets you track the route you've driven during any given D4D session.

The app was not cheap- $50/month for the subscription, plus $1 per postcard and I believe $20 per 20 owner lookups (give-or-take).  Your system seems much more financially sustainable, if you're willing to put in the legwork.  Way to use your prior experience to your advantage.

Also, I'm curious- where did your realtor get the listings that they gave to you on that list? Were they off the MLS or were they pocket listings?


Thanks, Richie.

I believe she got most of them from the MLS based on criteria I gave her. Looking for 2-4 unit properties in St Pete, under a certain price point, and a few other criteria. There are a few addresses that didn't come up as active listings on the major sites (, Zillow, etc), so maybe there are some pocket listings there.

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