I have a land listing that is not appearing in the correct location on websites. What can be done?
The standard way that land without addresses is listed on the MLS is by using the street name it is on, with a "0" in front of the address (e.g. 0 Elm St.). While we usually are able to tell the MLS the exact coordinates of the property, the challenge is when the listing goes out to websites.
The websites (e.g. Redfin, Realtor.com, Zillow, etc) will typically attempt to locate the property by geocoding the address provided - this involves sending the address to a mapping service, such as the Google Maps API, and getting back the latitude and longitude. When Google Maps sees a non-recognized address, the results can be unpredictable, so the latitude and longitude it sends back to the website may not be accurate. This can often be fixed by providing the address that would likely be assigned to the property.
As an example, lets say you have land on Wilhart Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284 that does not have an official address. We can usually note on the MLS exactly where it is located. See MLS screenshot below.
However, if we enter "Wilhart Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284" into Google maps, or "0 Wilhart Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284", Google will either show a map of the entire drive, or place a pin at the beginning of Wilhart Dr. See screenshot below.
This may not be useful, as Wilhart Dr is over a mile long and the property could be at the other end. Additionally, if there are multiple pieces of land available for sale on Wilhart Dr, and they are using the same address of "0 Wilhart Dr", the websites will be confused and one or more of the lots may not appear.
Instead, if you find a property with an established address that neighbors the land you are selling, you can make an informed decision as to what the correct address would be.
In this example, we can see that there is a neighbor directly to the east of the property we want to list that has the established address of 58728 Wilhart Dr, which Google maps can accurately geocode. See screenshot below.
We can also see that the numbers of the addresses are increasing as we go further east, which means the address for the land you are selling would be a street number less than 58728. Since the land we want to list is on the same side of the road as 58728 Wilhart Dr and is directly next to it, we can safely use the address of 58726 Wilhart Dr.
If we now go onto Google maps and enter in the address of 58726 Wilhart Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284 (which doesn't technically exist) and Google maps will have no problem providing an approximate location correctly. See screenshot below.
So by using the "unofficial" address of the property, you will have a much better chance of real estate websites putting the pin in the correct location on their maps. This is because many of the real estate websites use the Google maps API (or a similar service). It is not a guaranteed result, but we have found much better results using this method to list vacant land. The MLS and websites will note the exact APN and you can always state in the property description that the address is unofficial and estimated based off of available information for nearby existing addresses.
The most important things in all of this are:
- Test that Google maps can place the pin correctly by typing the address into Google maps.
- Check that you are not using an already established address for someone else's property for your address, and
- Provide the correct Assessor Parcel Number in the MLS listing form.
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