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  • Writer's pictureBrett Campbell

Mapping Your Way to RE Success: Unleashing Investment Opportunities with GIS.

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

In the fast-paced and competitive world of real estate, making informed decisions is crucial for success. The ability to gather and analyze accurate data is paramount to identifying lucrative investment opportunities, mitigating risks, and maximizing returns. One technology that has revolutionized the real estate industry in this regard is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. GIS empowers investors with powerful mapping and analysis capabilities, enabling them to leverage location-based data for better decision-making. In this blog, we will explore the benefits, limitations, and use cases of GIS mapping software as it pertains to real estate investing. Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting out, understanding how to navigate GIS mapping software is a critical skill to master.

GIS technology plays a pivotal role in assisting real estate professionals in achieving their goal of making informed property investment decisions. By leveraging GIS, investors gain access to accurate and reliable data related to property location, utility availability, road access, easements of record and more, allowing for faster and more informed decision-making.

Depending upon the specific county, different layers and/or overlays will be available. Common information provided by county GIS websites include:

· Property Data – Size, Build Year, Zoning, Taxes, Owner Data, Etc.

· Soil Data and Topography

· Public Utility Availability and Location

· Approximate Lot Lines, Structure Locations, and Easements of Record

· Flood Zone and Wetland Data

· Political Districts

· Future Planning and Land Use

While GIS mapping software provides numerous benefits, it is essential to recognize the challenges and limitations that may arise. Awareness of these factors can help real estate professionals navigate potential obstacles effectively.

The availability and quality of data pose a significant challenge to investors that are unfamiliar with how specific municipalities maintain their GIS records. Reliance on accurate and up-to-date data from various sources is vital. However, incomplete, outdated, or inconsistent data can affect the accuracy and reliability of analyses and decision-making. Data accuracy and the timeliness of updates will vary from county to county as some make updates to GIS in real time while others only do so at specific points throughout the year. Understanding how to interface with different GIS systems requires patience and the ability to collect, manipulate, and analyze large amounts of information. Some investors may find differing GIS interfaces and the inconsistency of available information between municipalities to be frustrating.

The future of GIS as it relates to real estate holds immense promise. Technological advancements and predictions indicate an even more prominent role for GIS in the industry. Technological progress is expected to bring more advanced spatial data analytics and machine learning algorithms, facilitating the ability to extract more and more data over time. Integration with emerging technologies like 3D mapping and virtual reality will enable more immersive and accurate property assessments. Furthermore, improved data collection techniques, such as drones and sensors, will provide more comprehensive and real-time data.

GIS mapping has already revolutionized the real estate industry, empowering investors to make decisive and informed decisions. Despite challenges such as data quality and availability issues, technical complexities, and the need to understand how to interface with the software itself, GIS offers numerous advantages, especially considering that it is almost always a free resource provided by county governments.

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