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Real Estate Tech Review: Walk Score

Real estate detail-view pages all look pretty much the same, don’t they? A few photos, the details about the house … maybe a map. Maybe the whole thing is well designed or just framed in without any design, straight from the feed provider (you know, those gray-background detail-view pages that look like they were designed by an accountant).

The data on each detail-view is the same as everyone else that subscribes to the same feed. I bet consumers notice that. If your site is giving them the same data about the thing they want to buy as everyone else in your market, how is your brand different again? It’s like when you’re shopping for something online and all the sites you go to are displaying the exact same information.

If you have a good relationship with your code vendor (or if you have an in-house technical development team), maybe there’s more data to display on that list view. Obviously, your multiple listing service may have rules about what you can and can’t display with listings. Usually you can put whatever you want on your own listings, though. So go ahead and make your listings better.

One data source for information that’s relevant to people buying a house comes from Walk Score. For any given address, Walk Score will return a number. That number is a reflection on how far it is from amenities like grocery stores, restaurants and so on. Using their API (application programming interface: a way for your Web platform to talk directly to Walk Score and integrate their data into your Web site), you can display a Walk Score right into your detail-view pages (check out "option 2" on that page).

You could go even further by using Walk Score’s map tile. Then you’ll have a map showing the address of the property plus nearby amenities. This is a whole mass of contextual information about a property that isn’t on a standard Google Maps integration.

Sure some things could be better for real estate integration of Walk Score

Of course, there are a few things I wish were different. It’d be nice if the tile were interactive so visitors could zoom in and out (sorry, the outbound link for a bigger version doesn’t really do it for me in this case). It would also be nice if the amenities could be toggled on and off so consumers could see the map itself a little better. Basically it’d be great if instead of a tile it worked like Google Maps but with local amenities on a toggle switch. …CONTINUED