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Web Site Maps Home Searches

A Web Site Maps Home Searches


Published: May 1, 2005

JASON BURROUGHS, a 31-year-old technical support staffer at Dell, pored through thousands of property listings in Austin, Tex., before stumbling across a new Internet site that changed his approach to house hunting.

Instead of entering his preferences regarding size and neighborhood into the Multiple Listing Service database, Mr. Burroughs and his girlfriend, Raquel Ruiz, 24, let a Google map featuring properties from Craigslist, the popular online bulletin board, guide their search.

"You see a map and all these balloons where the houses are for sale or rent," he said, noting that viewers can click on them for descriptions, seller contact information, and pictures. "It saved us a lot of time, made things a lot easier, and we found a house within one day."

The couple eventually settled on a 1930's two-bedroom house for which they have offered $265,000.

The site,, also introduced the couple to a neighborhood called French Place, which they initially assumed was too shabby to consider. Because the map displayed the information visually, he said, "you could see there were four or five houses in this little cluster" that had recently been renovated and were listed for sale, with pictures of their rooms displayed on the site. "We found a previously undiscovered pocket," he said.

The same might be said about Since the site first appeared about three weeks ago, it has attracted more than 200,000 unique visitors on the prowl for properties or rentals in at least 25 cities, including New York.

The site was created by Paul Rademacher, a 30-year-old software developer for the DreamWorks animation studio. He got the idea from his own housing search in California's Bay Area. He says he makes no money from the site and has no affiliation with Google or Craigslist.

While the site is unauthorized, neither Google nor Craigslist currently have any qualms. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, said that Mr. Rademacher "deserves credit for great work." A Google spokesman said the company does not comment on third-party Web sites but has frequently created ways for developers to work directly with its tools.

Web sites, Mr. Rademacher said, "usually show you all this information about the house, but the location is the last thing it shows you."

"But the main thing most people care about when they are buying a house is: Is it near a freeway?" he said. "Is it near a good school? Is it in a good neighborhood?"

The leap to his Web site grew out of that recognition.

"It occurred to me one day I should see everything at once and let me pick from it," he said. "When you look at something visually and let your brain analyze it, you can do it so much quicker."

Using the stream of property listings on Craigslist, the satellite-generated maps from Google, and a little less than a month of computer programming, Mr. Rademacher put his idea into action. displays listings for Craigslist's 25 most popular American cities, and Mr. Rademacher has plans to expand. He would like to include information on sublets and rental and sale listings for at least 50 more locations, including several foreign cities.

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