A homebuyer might know she likes the size and layout of a property in San Francisco’s Castro District by looking at the property’s online listing. But would she know that the home is located in a “beacon of diversity” with an equality mural, cycling gym and three green spaces? She would if she was perusing a real estate website augmented with content from Hoodline, a neighborhood news startup covering San Francisco. (Otherwise, perhaps not, unless she sussed out the place in person.)

  • San Francisco agents and brokerages can use news startup's 'Neighborhood Kits' to enrich their sites with local insights not available on many other real estate sites.

A homebuyer might know she likes the size and layout of a property in San Francisco’s Castro District by looking at the property’s online listing.

But would she know that the home is located in a “beacon of diversity” with an equality mural, cycling gym and three green spaces?

She would if she was perusing a real estate website augmented with content from Hoodline, a neighborhood news startup covering San Francisco. (Otherwise, perhaps not, unless she sussed out the place in person.)

Molded from the startup’s news coverage, Hoodline’s “Neighborhood Kits” paint rosy, in-depth pictures of neighborhoods, highlighting local businesses, attractions and organizations.

Real estate agents and brokerages can use the kits — which cost $100 a year for agents and more for brokerages, depending on their agent count — to enrich their websites with local insight that isn’t available on many other real estate sites.

“It needs to be a comprehensive view of the neighborhood, and we’ve done it in such a way as to keep the prospective buyer on that website,” said Hoodline Chief Operating Officer Jes Wolfe about Neighborhood Kits.

hoodline neighborhood kit

Hoodline ‘Neighborhood Kit’ embedded on Hill & Co. Real Estate’s website.

Hoodline currently only covers San Francisco, but it wants to expand to Oakland, California, Portland and Los Angeles in the future, according to Wolfe. 

Wolfe said Hoodline’s real estate partners include San Francisco Bay Area brokerages Hill and Co. Real Estate, Alain Pinel Realtors and Urban Group Real Estate, as well as dozens of agents.

Neighborhood Kits include photo tours and cover nine topics, including schools, transportation, art and culture, food and nightlife, “getting involved,” parks and new real estate developments.

Homebuyers reviewing the kits may learn things they couldn’t through the statistics or heat maps available on some other real estate sites.

For instance, those reviewing The Castro’s Neighborhood Kit would discover that, should they move to the area, they could volunteer for the Castro Community and Patrol or the Castro Ambassadors.

Since the Neighborhood Kit content is basically just a curated collection of articles, coverage of highlights tends to be unusually comprehensive. It also remains fresh, as kits are periodically updated with some of the latest stories that appear on Hoodline.

Hoodline offers news sections on 40 San Francisco neighborhoods and publishes around 20 posts a day.


The Hoodline team

Part of what drives Hoodline’s news coverage is a data-mining tool created by the startup that crawls government databases to flag noteworthy filings or reports. Coverage that appears in the “Development News” sections of Neighborhood Kits may sometimes sprout from the tool’s data hauls.

Not a day seems to go by without the emergence of a new property search tool or feature that makes it easier to sort listings based on neighborhood attributes.

School-quality and commute-time filters tend to be staples of lifestyle-based search. Some of the newest options include the “quiet streets,” “great places to play” and “care & essentials” filters recently introduced by Trulia.

hoodline article

Hoodline article on new neighborhood development accessed from a ‘Neighborhood Kit’

Hoodlines Neighborhood Kits stand out for their focus on qualitative information, descriptions of actual people, groups and places rather than numerically or visually represented statistics.

Offering an unvarnished window into community life may part of a local media outlet’s calling, but Neighborhood Kits aren’t designed to turn real estate sites into neighborhood watchdogs. They’re a form of content marketing.

So it should come as no surprise that they exclude Hoodline’s crime reports and any other potentially unflattering coverage of neighborhoods.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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