Your agent is tops, but can she do this?

Chicago Tribune

Sure, you’ve been told again and again that people start their house-hunting journeys online, but the Internet as a real estate tool goes beyond scrolling through listings. Selections from the latest crop of services for home buyers and sellers:

It’s a time-honored tradition in America: Tuck a note into a stranger’s mailbox that says, “I love your house. If you ever want to sell it ...” or words to that effect.

Now you can do that online, at least in Finland. A website there,, claims to have photographed and mapped every building in Helsinki. Would-be buyers can earmark properties that interest them and post offers to buy online in case the owner happens to check in -- which, given human nature, isn’t unlikely these days., an online Seattle brokerage, has obtained a U.S. patent on a similar concept.


Then there’s, which has found a way to meld property-hunting with romance.

As a sideline to its primary role as a source of real estate sales data, it has developed maps that purportedly pinpoint neighborhoods populated by wealthier single men. For example, areas where the average single man’s income is more than $100,000 a year are noted by the symbol "$$$"; areas where the average is $80,000 to $100,000 a year get "$$,” etc.

And while we’re at the intersection of real estate and mapping, here’s one that might help you learn whether, instead of Mr. Wonderful, you’re moving in next door to Mr. Yech. does what its name implies: provides a map with icons marking the locations of registered sex offenders.

From the doorstep to your desktop: For decades, a visit from Welcome Wagon meant that a smiling neighbor lady would drop by the homes of newcomers. Those visits went away in 1998, mostly because the lady of the house was at work. Now there’s, and the smiling neighbor has gone totally virtual.


Warm, isn’t it?