Web 2.0 Can Help Us Find Out About the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of a Neighborhood

Larry Cragun’s post entitled “Hi, Neighbor, Welcome to the Condominium Project” got me thinking about the new sites offering information about cities, towns, neighborhoods.
This information has only recently become available to buyers. The information shared is at much deeper level than school test scores, police statistics, and Chamber of Commerce information. Now, there are many sites dedicated to an open dialogue and sharing of detail. People can talk more specifically about schools, shopping, the actual streets, and neighborhoods. Soon you may be able to learn things about the noisy dog on the street or that neighbor who smokes on the deck!
From reading all the comments on Sandy Kaduce’s post, “Oops, I Think I lost My Rose Colored Glasses”, it’s obvious how much buyers crave hyper-local information. I am firmly in the camp, that we, as Realtors, should share the facts with our buyers. Buyers hire us to tell them what we know from our years of experience. Do we have access to some of the facts about an area? Yes. Can we direct people to sites that can help them learn more about a neighborhood? Yes, we can make sure buyers know the URL’s for the county, the different cities, and the school districts. Encourage buyers to call the schools, talk to the school administration, walk the neighborhoods and talk to the neighbors, call the police, and drive the commute during rush hour.
Should we give our opinion about a neighborhood? Yes, we can, and should, talk about the track record of sales and appreciation, in addition to the above. Many of the facts can be given to clients without “steering” them or “red-lining” a neighborhood.
As Realtors, we can offer new tools to our buyers by directing them to the web 2.0 sites that provide more information about neighborhoods, streets, and the people who live there. Individuals can post information as long as they comply with site requirements.
Here is a sample of some of the sites out there. If more people start using them and adding information, these sites will become a more valuable research tool for all of us.
New web 2.0 sites:
Fat Door. This site is in alpha mode and is only online for some Silicon Valley neighborhoods. One of the founders of the site is an ex-Microsoftie who moved to the Palo Alto area to help develop the site. The site will be an opportunity for neighbors to get to know neighbors and to share information.
Street Advisor. You can enter information about your street for the world to see. This is a good place to talk about neighborhood gatherings, parties, fund raisers, etc. I know of a group of neighbors who have a garage sale every year and use the money raised for a neighborhood block party. What a great thing to share with people and have potential buyers learn about the neighborhood.
Yelp. Learn about all kinds of local information about a specific area. There are reviews of restaurants, shopping, and places to live.
When I searched in Kirkland, I found several posts about a particular apartment complex. Perhaps this would be a great place to list the good, the bad, and the ugly about a condominium or neighborhood.
Walkscore. Plug in an address and find out if a home is within walking distance of services. Homes will be give scores from 1-100. Homes with lower scores will be ones with easy access to services.
And my personal favorite:
Rotten Neighbor This is a new site I read about in the Sellius blog the other day. This site is an opportunity to learn about problems in an area.
People need to use these sites wisely and judiciously. If people abuse the sites and don’t provide meaningful and honest information, these web 2.0 sites will become irrelevant.
What are some sites you can share with us? I would be happy to generate a list and post it to the blog. This is information we can all use.
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Debra Sinick Debra Sinickat October 4, 2007 11:30 a.m.

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Guillermo Baches es Blogger, Maestro Internacional de Ajedrez y un gran conocedor en temas de Social Media, Internet, Empleo y Trámites online.

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