That's one big step for man, one humongous leap for mankind.

Growing up as the son of a French mother and a Greek father (no "Freek" jokes, please) I had a chance to spend many summers in Europe, traveling, getting my Certificat D'assiduite at the Universite D'Aix Marseille, and eventually being admitted to the Ecole de Medicine of the Universite de Paris (didn't go folks, it was the 60's and I had "better" things to do); and if this all sounds a bit pompous I do apologize (sort of)--it must be my French genes kicking in. Anyway, with all of this, the thing that impressed me the most (I was young) was the subway map system for the Metro in Paris. In those days each station had an electronic map. Each subway stop on the map had a button. If you pressed the button for the stop you wanted to go to, the map lit up showing you the best route to take from where you were to where you were going, showing all transfers, great is that, and why don't we have it here in NYC...50 years later??? Geesh!

But to get to my point: as of this week a new twist has been added to the old RE mantra of "location, location, location", and it has to do with how brokers can search for listings in a given area. RealPlus, LLC which supplies software to Manhattan Homes Inc. as well as many other firms in NYC, has introduced a special map feature to it's listing search engine for brokers; and it's a super powerful one.

After entering the usual buyer parameters e.g. price range, type of property, amenities, etc. the broker is presented with a map of the city (zoom-able, of course). He or she can then define the area the buyer wants to search, not just by general or predefined neighborhood, but in ANY way they choose to specify. You can trace it out EXACTLY as you please, for example "circle" Fifth Avenue from 59th to 110th, add another trace of Park Avenue from 72nd to 92nd, add 2 other buildings you like outside those two areas, decide to include parts of the West Village or SoHo if they are also a consideration...the choices you make are unlimited and not restricted by the software's design. Next, press search and all the active listings in the area(s) you've selected appear as "markers". Click on each marker and they "open up" showing more information as to what they are. Each marker (by it's shape and color) also tells you what kind of property it represents (e.g. is it a condo? is it a townhouse? is it a co-op?--assuming you asked to see all). Want to filter these results further? Go change the original parameters (e.g. price range, etc.) and the map will refresh and show you the new adjusted results. Amazing, really.

Maps of listings have existed on many websites and as a part of many brokers' in-house software for years, but searching and viewing listings in specific areas without returning some superfluous results has been impossible, that is, until now.

--Leigh Zaph. (any comments can be emailed to us at, thanks).