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Get Aerial View Of New Home Without Leaving Home

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Home buyers can now fly over every house for sale in the Triangle without ever leaving the ground.

Angela Salamanca has been hunting the perfect house for weeks. She is looking for a house that will hold her, her husband and baby and her in-laws, who are moving in with them from Venuezela.

"They've been looking for a place to retire for so long and we found this property by Jordan Lake, and it seemed to be the perfect match," she said.

Salamanca e-mailed her in-laws pictures of the house, but they wanted to see more before giving the OK. They did, thanks to

Google Earth

. Google Earth allows users to circle the globe from outer space, then zoom in to any point on the planet.

"We found it and were able to show it to them and they were really excited," she said. "They're coming for the closing and soon enough, we'll be spending all our Christmases there."

Raleigh real estate company Coldwell Banker, Howard Perry and Walston has gone a step further. The company is the first in the state to integrate Google Earth into its Web site, allowing home buyers to see aerial shots of every home for sale locally.

"They can see from an aerial view -- are there trees on the lot, does it back up to a major street or is it near a school," marketing director Shanahan Brown said.

Buyers can also see street and highway names and business names.

"It's the best thing to happen to real estate in a long time," Brown said.

Images on Google Earth on not in real-time, and sometimes they are old.

Using Google Earth cannot replace actually hitting the pavement and visiting a home. The images will not zoom in enough for you to closely examine features. For instance, you can see the neighborhood pool but you can't actually see who's in the pool.

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