iStock_000000101029SmallAccording to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a whopping 90 percent of home buyers use the internet to collect information during their home search. More than 75 percent of buyers say they drove by or view a home as a result of information they gathered online, and 62 percent say they actually walked through a home they had viewed online. These are powerful statistics, which helps explain why so many real estate information companies are making it easier than ever for buyers to find information online.

PolicyMap recently debuted some new features that make learning about a neighborhood even easier. Sure, it’s typically been pretty simple to gather information about a home that’s listed for sale: You can even pull up Google Maps and use the “street view” feature to check-out neighboring buildings, parks and the streets that lead to the property.

But PropertyMap takes it one step further with new full-sized maps that make searching even easier. As Maggie McCullough, president at PolicyMap, points out, “As interest in data and data visualization has exploded, we’ve rebuilt PolicyMap into a more powerful but easier-to-use tool that appeals to our traditional customers, as well as newcomers.”

This is particularly beneficial for first-time home buyers, young families and those who are relocating and need information on a neighborhood to make an informed home buying decision. Some of PolicyMap’s new features include a data menu bar that has been overhauled with intuitive technology to help users gather the information they need. This easy-to-use data has been put to use by buyers around the country who are interested in information about demographics, jobs, healthcare, education and more.

Not all of PolicyMap’s functionality is gratis. Users looking for advanced search features will have to subscribe on a monthly or annual basis, however, the basic version of PolicyMap remains free to the public. Users who upgrade to a subscription plan will have access to “3-Layer Maps” that allow users to create a unique map with information in three different categories.

PolicyMap is working on additional functionality like giving users access to hyper-local information. This could include things like housing affordability in a specific area, and consumer spending too.