If you’re buying or selling a home — or, if you’re an agent representing a buyer or seller — take some time to figure out Microsoft’s VirtualEarth tool (www.virtualearth.com).

Virtual Earth allows you to build “collections” of information. Steve Lombardi, who works with Virtual Earth, showed me his personal collections this week: He has live traffic cameras in a host of cities (you can instantly see live traffic video), lists of bars, and other collections of information.

But imagine if you want to build a collection of homes you want your buyers to look at it, or that you want to see (if you’re the buyer). Or, the seller can put together a list of interesting things around his or her home, such as the location of the best coffee shop, grocery story and wine discount center.

The nice thing about building a collection is that it doesn’t just put a point on a map. It allows you to upload information, write a short narrative, upload photos or video and then share the whole thing with friends and family. Microsoft’s folks say that soon this will all be searchable, which means if you mark it as “public” someone can search to find your collection.

Building a collection is free at VirtualEarth.com. Check it out.

July 30, 2006