Google Maps has grown enormously as a service since its launch in 2005, adding features like walking directions and Street View [source: Google]. Type in an address in any populated area, and Google Maps can likely pinpoint local businesses and give you a good look at it with satellite imagery. But there's another feature of Google Maps perfect for house hunters -- a "real estate" option is hidden away on the "More" menu. Toggle it on, and suddenly Google Maps will display houses listed for sale in the map area.
In heavily populated areas, that could be a lot of houses. Thankfully, the menu panel on the left side of the screen includes several sorting options. You can enter a price range to search, filter by houses for sale/rent/foreclosure, or sort by number of bedrooms, bathrooms or square footage. And since Google excels at pulling in images from other Web sites and producing its own with Street View, each listing page should give you a basic idea of what the home in question looks like.
Google Maps is the perfect way to get a feel for where available homes are, or even map out a route to travel between them. But when it comes to detailed searches, we'll want to head to a real estate site with a bit more depth.