Many years ago, I was working with a property management company. Almost daily, I would leave the office to go check out multiple properties. Even though I knew where most everything was, I still liked the GPS in my car. Sure, sometimes it would get messed up. Other times, it couldn’t find the street, but for the most part I enjoyed the technology. I didn’t feel any shame using GPS.
I bought my first smartphone, but I cannot remember the year anymore. Anyway, I thought it was just awesome. Everything was better with an app, or so I thought. I was out late one night in Illinois, and I decided to use my phone to get home. As I was driving onto an off ramp, I guess I lost signal, because for the next 20 minutes I was stuck just going in a circle. The GPS kept doing the same thing over and over, and I had no idea where I was, so it was quite the mess. I ended up driving down the highway far enough to get a signal, but after that, I decided the phone wasn’t going to work for a GPS device.
A couple of years later, one of my friends bought me a Garmin for the car. Since they were in real estate, they knew how much easier GPS made things. Whenever there was a traffic jam, we could simply re-route and get to wherever we needed. I liked the Garmin because we could move from car to car and still have a great GPS. The things I didn’t like about it were that it was slow sometimes, and the screen had a cheap feel to it. Also, there were always power wires running from the GPS to the cigarette lighter. Yes, I’m old enough to know that what is now known as a power port in cars was once a cigarette lighter.
My Garmin was attached via suction cup to the window at first. About every three days, I’d be driving along and it would lose suction and fall on the floor of the car. Usually, this was during an inopportune time, like when the sun was shining in my eyes and I had to stop short. I solved that problem though! I found this cool bean bag looking thing that kept the GPS on the dashboard.
We bought a new car and the GPS was much improved. By this time, I had the real estate brokerage moving in the right direction. Whenever someone wanted to see a house, I just put it into the screen and off I went. This was such a timesaver! It’s not that I don’t usually know where a house is. It’s that I don’t want to have to remember a map in my head of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Jefferson County all the time. Using the GPS allows me to free my mind for other things. And, I still kept the Garmin. I have to…it was like a part of the family.
The only mistake I can ever remember making with the GPS is one time when I was showing multiple houses on a Saturday. Unfortunately, I skipped one house in the tour because I totally forgot to enter it into the GPS and simply drove to the next house. When I asked the buyers if they wanted to see the house we missed, they said that they didn’t. It didn’t have curb appeal and they really couldn’t picture a scenario where they would ever buy the house. I don’t know if they were saying that to be nice to me or what….if the house was so bad why did they ask me to put it on the list in the first place? Oh well.
I’ve stopped using my car GPS once again. Now, I use an app on my phone called Waze. Even though I swore off phones for GPS years ago, the signal has improved so much, I can’t think of the last time where I wasn’t at 3 or more bars. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it. The interface is nice and it is very easy to use. It automatically re-routes for traffic. It does have ads. I don’t really like them because they get in the way of the map and then you have to swipe while driving and that can be a bit dangerous. The other issue I have is that I don’t have Apple Carplay or Android Auto so I have to leave my phone screen on while I’m driving. The issue with that is battery drain.
I’m not ashamed of my GPS use. When you schedule a showing tour with 5 or 6 stops at a time all over the county, the last thing you want to do is try and remember every street in between. You are busy getting feedback from buyers, checking on how to open up the next house, and taking texts and calls from the 10 other people interested in looking at homes for sale.
If there is a buyer’s agent showing buyers houses without GPS, good for them. I’m not intimidated. Knowing, or pretending to know every street and every house is a cool parlor trick, but it doesn’t really help a buyer find a home to call their own.