5 Resources to Get the Inside Scoop on a Neighborhood

Neighborhood

You’re more than a salesperson—you’re a strategic consultant, and your clients rely on your guidance to make sound buying decisions. Your buyers turn to you for the latest news about the neighborhoods you serve. Of course, you may not have all the answers, and that’s okay! The internet offers countless websites and apps for anyone looking to learn more about a given neighborhood, and we’ve highlighted five of the very best.

City-Data: While not currently available as an app, the City-Data website is a great place to start. Get a broad overview of the relevant data in cities (and individual neighborhoods) across the United States, and learn about weather patterns, crime rates, schools, property values, and local demographics. It’s a great place to go for raw data, and the stats are presented with easy to grasp graphics.Your clients can also search City-Data’s forums for informal reviews and discussions about a particular city or neighborhood. Of course, as with all online forums, remind them to take what they read with a grain of salt since pretty much anyone can offer their opinion online.

NeighborhoodScout: In addition to information about crime rates and public school ratings, NeighborhoodScout offers comprehensive real estate data reports for neighborhoods using custom analytics. Plus, this website allows you to search for neighborhoods based on “lifestyle” criteria, such as family-friendly neighborhoods, retirement destinations, areas with young professionals, and more. Detailed reports are available by subscription starting at $39.99 for ten reports per month.

Walk Score: This website (and app) gives prospective home buyers a feel for the “walkability” of a neighborhood—how close it is to restaurants, cafes, parks, schools, etc. Walk Score also provides some great data regarding commutes and public transit, so if your clients are moving to a new city where they already have jobs lined up, they can figure out commute options for different neighborhoods. Nothing is worse than moving to a new city and discovering that your 20-mile ride becomes a two-hour commute during rush hour, and Walk Score can help set expectations.

GreatSchools: This nonprofit website allows parents to learn about a school’s performance, average test scores, student-to-teacher ratio, equity score, etc. This information is provided in an easy to read report with explanations of each data point, so your clients can make a smart decision with their kids’ futures in mind.

Google Street View: You’ve probably used “street view” on your phone to identify landmarks near your destination before you drive there, but this feature is also a great tool for buyers to get a feel for a neighborhood before considering moving there. Keep in mind, however, that nothing substitutes an actual drive-through. The fish-eye lens of the camera mounted on the Google car distorts images a bit, so hills and tall buildings will look a little different online. And of course, certain backroads, gated communities, and rural areas may not show up on street view. That said, it’s a nice way to check out a neighborhood if you can’t visit in person.