The oldest real estate maxim out there is “Location, Location, Location” but Real Estate 2.0 doesn’t do a very good job of conveying this. Unfortunately, an overhead satellite view of a bunch of listings doesn’t tell you a whole lot about where you’re looking.
One of the trends I noted coming out of the Inman Connect Conference (see Inman Connect Highlights Real Estate 2.0) was the need for greater context in real estate searches and we’ve seen attempts to layer in location specific information into a real estate search already; Shackprices‘ neighborhood tab, Trulia‘s heat maps, Yahoo! Real Estate even rolled out a school search function recently. (see A conversation with Michael Yang, General Manager of Yahoo Real Estate)
But none of these have come close to what you can find at Neighborhoodmatch.com
What makes Neighborhoodmatch.com so different from it’s competitors is that it has built a real estate search from the ground up based on what exactly what a consumer is looking for in where they want to live and what kind of lifestyle choices are important to them.
Right out of the gates, Neighborhoodmatch.com asks you to prioritize over a dozen neighborhood characteristics including things like crime rates, schools and income levels, even political views and sexual orientation. This is even before it asks you about the specifics of the home you are looking for.
Once you’ve finished inputing criteria, Neighborhoodmatch.com automatically spits out listings in the neighborhood most appropriate to whichever characteristics you’ve identified. A quick test of my city (Portland, OR) seemed to pretty well on the mark – based on the criteria identified, it pointed me to a pretty appropriate area.
Results are color coded by match (green being best, red being the worst) and displayed on a Google Maps mashup. A cluster of red icons pretty much means you don’t want to live there.
From there you can layer in all kinds of extra data, including school district lines, as well as all kinds of additional places like hospitals, shopping, bars and restaurants etc.
One neat feature is by clicking on the ‘map facts’ buttons, Neighborhoodmatch.com gives you a bullseye icon you can drag around to see overviews of a particular neighborhood. Apparently I live in a neighborhood of ‘Moderate Conventionalists’.
Quite frankly, Neighborhoodmatch.com blew me away with its feature set. One could easily get lost for hours exploring the site. It’s not entirely clear where they’re pulling the listings from; whether they are IDX feeds or if indexed from the Internet, but requesting more information on a property does send you directly to the listing agent’s page.
The interface is a little rough around the edges. The icons are a little Web 1.0ish and the map has some frustrating quirks like re-centering and zooming in whenever you click on it. It’s also very easy to get overwhelmed in all the details. But as a beta product, it’s pretty functional and very useful.
To me it signals a greater emphasis on better meeting the needs and expectations of the online real estate consumer. The rest of Real Estate 2.0 can learn definitely learn something here.