The neighborhood opportunity is still up for grabs

Hyperlocal. The buzzword has been around for a few years. I’m not sure exactly when it got hot in real estate, but Google Trends tells me it was probably some time in 2007. Granted, it’s a fairly  narrow definition, but getting hyperlocal in real estate meant creating and merchandizing  contextually relevant neighborhood content.

Makes sense, right? We’ve had listings on the Internet since 1999, but, in truth, what homes are for sale only answers half of the “Where do I want to live?” question. Finding the right neighborhood to live in is almost as important in the long run as finding the right house.

And there’s still really no good answer to that problem. You’d think it’d be pretty easy to find that content online. But despite some valiant efforts — BestPlaces springs to mind… and anyone else remember Neighboroo? — no one has hit a homerun in this space. Which leaves me thinking there’s a big opportunity still hanging out there.

The honest answer is that there are some vendors and brokerages that are trying –  StreetAdvisor, for example, with its StreetAdvisor Pro platform, lets brokerages whitelabel its platform and light up a full neighborhood review and Q&A section of their website with the flick of a switch.

I also met with the team from WalkScore this week, who showed me the latest release of their Community pages. (Check out the page for the Pearl District in Portland, for example.) It’s a great showcase of their unique content (walking, transit and biking ratings) combined with some user-generated photography and some great data visualizations.

Some larger brokerages have tried to crack the code as well. Chicago brokerage Baird & Warner has a pretty decent Neighborhood section. So does Florida based brokerage Michael Saunders & Company and Bay Area brokerage Pacific Union.

So we’re definitely inching closer.

But every couple of weeks or so, I find myself staring at AirBNB’s Neighborhood Guides, with their oversized photos and catchy copy and think to myself, why isn’t anyone doing this in real estate?

Here’s my recipe for the perfect neighborhood page:

  • Lots of beautiful large photography. Professionally shot, with interesting angles, subjects and framing.

  • A video – HD preferred. Shaky cams need not apply.

  • High-level market trends – no line charts or scatter graphs please!

  • Little to no text. If you must use words, make them fun!

And, that’s it.

Nail that on your website and I think you have a winner. Sounds to me like the perfect summer project for an talented group of interns. Turn ‘em loose and see what happens.

Who’s with me?

[Disclosure: 1000WATT has done consulting work for StreetAdvisor, and Michael Saunders & Company and Pacific Union International are 1000WATT clients.]