House hunting drama spurs online solution
By Julie Clothier for CNN
What ononemap.com users see
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- When Andrew Betts began the hunt for his dream home, the whole exercise became more like a nightmare.
But instead of giving in to the stress of finding a house, he created an online tool to solve his problems.
The London-based Web developer told CNN he wanted to use the Internet to find a house, but when he tried to use real estate agents' and house hunting Web sites, he became frustrated.
"A lot of Web sites try to pigeonhole your expectations by defining what they think you mean when you describe the area you want to live in," he said.
"You need to be able to see all the properties in that area. It's amazing how much importance you invest in the property's location."
Betts set to work creating a tool that would make his life easier.
He used Google's free map service and teamed it with data on houses for sale sites to create one giant data base that shows which houses are for sale and where they are.
"Real estate agents use terms like 'convenient to shops' and 'short walk to train station' but those terms don't mean anything unless you can see where they are."
He worked for about five hours on the idea before deciding to put it live online a week later, creating a database for the entire UK domestic property market.
His search engine, called On One Map, is a free service, and enables house hunters to scroll and zoom over a map, and it shows them a photo of houses in that area and a link for them to click if they want to find more information.
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