I usually have a number of clients looking for view homes and unfortunately there is no accurate way to generalize or sift the listings to reveal all of the options available. You pretty much have to go through the listings one by one. There are sifting tools available to agents which are supposed to show view properties, but the process is so abused by people who want their basically viewless listings to be seen in as many places as possible that it makes identifying great view homes much more difficult. The problem is also compounded by agents who don't properly tag the outstanding features of their listings when they do have them.
Physical and satellite map searches also don't work because you have to zoom in on each home to see which way the home faces, if the grade is steep enouh to offer a view, what kind of trees, homes and other obstructions are in the way, and is the home itself properly set up to exploit the magnificent view. Map searches are great for this once you've zoomed in on a home, but it's not an effective way to find properties. (Another thing to be aware of is that if the one-story home next door becomes two-stories... it can destroy your view.)
Finally, you have to look at the pictures posted for every listing that you're considering. In my experience, if a listing claims that there's a great view and the isn't a picture of it... then there isn't a great view. Also, if you see a photo of a great view only without elements of the home and yard visible in the picture frame, it's often a 'peek-a-boo' view off the roof, or out the bathroom window on the side of the house, or through the trees on a clear day.
All of the homes currently for sale in Los Angeles' hillside communities and the beach cities are listed on my website. I'd be glad to help you with your search if you'd like to send me more details about the type of home you are looking for. Best of luck.
On map - top right corner: click on "Map". "Satellite", or "Hybrid" for various detail views.
On map - top left corner: click on + or - to zoom in or out
If a listing has an ocean view the agent will generally place that in the text and place photos of that on the listing. Of course, not all agents take great photos, so here is a neat little trick for you......... go to the photos with windows, click on them to enlarge them, and look at the view through the window on the photo. Photos don't lie, either the ocean is there - or not.
There is a photo on each individual listing on Trulia from Google Earth.
If you are curious which homes have ocean views, often times the listing details of a home will have this in the description. Also, if you are working with a great realtor who really knows Los Angeles they will be able to tell you which streets have great ocean views throughout the city. I've sold property all across the Westside and if you are looking at purchasing ocean view property I would be happy to let you know which streets have the best views and the uniqueness of each area.
Keller Williams Realty
Even Google street view isn't all that helpful, when oftentimes the best views are looking out from the backyard.
If you'd like some more help regarding areas, streets or even specific properties that offer ocean views, feel free to shoot me an email and I'd be happy to assist you.
Email or call me directly as I wont' look back on this thread in Trulia for other posts.
1. Download Google Earth: http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html
2. Once installed, launch Google Earth, and input the property address in the "Fly To" box locating top left corner.
3. Once flown to the propety address: use the 3 "navigation controls" (on the right, inside the visual map) to look around for your preferred ocean views.
4. How to use navigation controls: http://earth.google.com/intl/en/userguide/v5/#navcontrols
I hope the information helps. More questions??? ... please send me an email.