FindTheBest, a research engine that recently launched home and neighborhood search tools, has introduced a feature to its “FindTheBest Places” real estate vertical to capture what it calls the “true essence” of communities.

The website gleans “Insights for Places” — what it’s casting as the defining attributes of geographic areas — by identifying what categories of establishments in a location are over- or underrepresented compared to the country as a whole.

A growing number of real estate search sites and apps are presenting consumers with dossier-like profiles on neighborhoods. But communities are more than just their school scores, crime rates and demographic makeups.

FindTheBest’s Insights for San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood, for example, would include “restaurants,” “bars” and “yoga” due to “over-indexations” of establishments that fall into those categories. Other Insights include “vice,” “fitness” and “alternative medicine.”

The new feature adds another dimension to Places’ already rich snapshots of geographic areas, which feature data including school ratings, price trends, weather forecasts, homeownership rates, and demographic breakdowns by education, income and ethnicity for areas with populations as small as a few hundred people.

Insights “will allow people to gain a deeper understanding of a location than ever before and really understand what it would be like to visit/live in that area,” said spokeswoman Hillary Foss.

Foss said FindTheBest’s breadth of research topics make it the only site capable of uncovering these attributes. She said its compiled billions of data points on over 32 million companies.

The site claims to attract more than 20 million unique visitors a month by aggregating information on topics including education, companies, health, electronics, and “home and garden.” The company’s estate verticals, FindTheBest Homes and FindTheBest Places, launched in May.

FindTheBest plans to weave “Insights” into its other research topics to help consumers “better understand the defining attributes of any given entity, whether it’s for a smartphone or college dog breed,” the site said. 

FindTheBest isn’t the only site that’s trying to capture the character of communities by shedding light on their business landscapes. Walk Score, StreetAdvisor and Relocality all color their profiles with business-related data, even letting people search based on some of it.

FindTheBest also announced today that its expanding into the rental market through partnerships with listing syndicator ListHub, rental site Zumper and AppFolio, an online property management software for rental property managers.

FindTheBest has tried to set itself apart from other listings sites by coloring its listing pages with exhaustive neighborhood data. It’ll take the same approach with its rental listings, the company said.

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