Are We There Yet?

Posted on February 27, 2015 by

If the person at the wheel refuses to ask for directions, it is time for a new driver. ~ Jennifer Granholm

You’ve heard that old stereotype, right? Men never ask for directions. Maybe that’s because it means we’re admitting defeat. I’m not sure it’s true, though. I suspect there are lots of women who won’t ask for directions, either.

If you’re one of those people who won’t ask for directions, you’re wasting time. A lot of time. That’s time you could be finding new properties, or meeting other investors, or reading to your kids. Trust me, your competitors are asking for directions, so you’d better know how to go places!

The fact is, asking for directions isn’t a mark of defeat at all. On the contrary: it’s an opportunity to show everybody how tech-savvy and clever you are.

I’m talking, of course, about online maps and GPS (Global Positioning System). You probably already have GPS on your phone, and chances are, you’ve already put it to good use. But these apps do some pretty neat things you might not know about.

Let’s take Google Maps as an example, since it’s one of the most common mapping applications and it’s available on Android and iOS. You already know it can navigate you from point A to point B. But did you know that you can also explore what’s nearby? Let’s say you need a place to meet for coffee in the next fifteen minutes. Get on Google Maps and search for “coffee.” Tiny little coffee cups will appear on the map, marking each nearby coffee house. You can look for other things too, like gas stations and parks. It’s a great way to get a feel for a neighborhood without actually driving around.

And it gets even better: If you also have Google Earth, you can switch back and forth between the two applications. I love Google Earth! It gives you a great satellite view, but you can also zoom down to street level.

You can’t imagine how much time I’ve saved using this tool. Before, when I was evaluating a potential deal, I’d have to drive all around to get a feel for the neighborhood. Now, I can wander the neighborhood on Google Earth. Sure, I’m going to go look at it in person before I buy, but it’s a great way to weed out bad prospects.

Another great feature on Google Earth is the historical imagery. Did you know you can look at the same property over a number of years? This feature is handy if you want to know more about the development of the area. If a neighborhood has a lot more empty lots than it used to, something could be going on.

So far, I’ve talked about online tools for mapping. But what if you can’t get a signal? Those online maps won’t do you much good then.

That’s why I also recommend installing an off-line mapping program, so you’ve got access to that information even if you have no phone service. A great choice is MAP.ME, which is available for Android and iOS. Once you download a map, you can do much of what you do on Google Maps, including looking up addresses and getting directions.

So, as you can see, asking for directions nowadays is the techie thing to do. Frankly, I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I never did get the hang of that whole map-folding thing.

But just in case you still don’t want to admit defeat by asking for directions, just remember this: you’re talking to a computer, not some guy on the street. I promise you, no one will be the wiser.

Don DeRosaDon DeRosa is recognized as one of the nation’s top 21 real estate investors in the New York Times bestseller “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”. Don, who is a full-time investor, trainer, and mentor, is the first to offer his complete investing system on a mobile platform. Don teaches investors how to Make More and Work Less by being more efficient, productive and competitive, leveraging mobile technology and apps on the iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.

Contact Don DeRosa

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