October 11, 2011

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Neighbourhood Info the Decision Maker


Slowly but surely, a shift has been occurring in the expectations of home hunters when they go looking online. Now, as well as details on the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces a property has to offer, consumers want to know as much as possible about its surroundings.

rismedia.com quotes US National Association of Realtors’ research that found 67 percent of consumers cite neighbourhood quality as a deciding factor in their home hunt. The reasons for buyers are obvious enough – convenience, comfort and future profitability – but the question for agents is: how can you make interest in neighbourhood facts and figures work for you?

Put simply, the answer lies in finding ways to tie neighbourhood information back to your business. Luckily, there are plenty of options, both established and brand new, allowing you to do just that.

In the US, neighbourhood information is increasingly accessible to agents who want to enhance listings on their websites. zillow.com’s Local Market Explorer is a perfect example, offering schools data, local area reviews, photos and even “walkability” scores from Walk Score.

Walk Score in particular has taken off in recent months. The system that ranks the “walkability” of an address based on its proximity to nearby amenities first incorporated transit data back in March. Walk Score now says hundreds of real estate websites are using it to show public transit information, which can have a dramatic effect on property values.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC’s new iPhone application has also tapped in to consumers’ desire for neighbourhood information. The application offers comparative home values along with information on schools, demographics, banks and restaurants as well as the ability to photograph homes for sale, rank them, and add them to Facebook for discussion.

“Consumers want information on a home’s community and trusted advice from friends and family before they make a decision on a home,” said Sherry Chris, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate president and CEO.

Meanwhile, Canadian property hunters are taking advantage of websites like homezilla.ca, which give them access to information on topics such as transport, day care options, places to eat and drink, and schools. A directory by province gives agents the opportunity to promote themselves as the go-to contact for an area.

In the UK, neighbourhood review website upmystreet.com also features agents and encourages voting on their performance. And in Australia, leading property portal realestate.com.au has just jumped on the neighbourhood information bandwagon with the release of its suburb profile pages. Agents are also being encouraged to establish themselves as Local Experts on realestate.com.au’s new review website.

Last but not least there’s the iPhone application Layar, now offering the ability to view everything from real estate to social networks through “augmented reality” across the world.

These are just a few examples of neighbourhood information options agents can use to promote their business. Let us know which work for you, and flag any we’ve missed, in our comments.


Related posts:

  1. Add Walk Scores to Your Listings
  2. WalkScore Releases iPhone App
  3. zillow.com’s Local Info Now Easier to Use
  4. findwell.com Partners With estately.com
  5. New Widgets for zoopla.co.uk
  6. Six Tips for Website Stickiness
  7. 10 Local Content Ideas for Your Website


  1. I think this trend is rampant with every search, not only real estate. Instead of having to travel to the area where they are interested in, drive around, ask around, and look around, they can go online. A helpful online source will do all that for them. A good website is just an online extension of a good agent. It helps you help people no matter the medium they begin their search in.


  1. [...] applications – those that merge maps, real estate listings, and other neighbourhood information – will blow our minds. There are all kinds of possibilities for consumers and agents when it [...]

  2. [...] on to these trends, does that mean agents should also invest in a mobile website, add reams of local information to their blogs, and double their efforts on every social media [...]

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