Although true lifestyle search is new to the internet, our clients (CNN, BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Family Circle, etc.) have been helping consumers find best places to live for years. They have created stories that don’t just give a one-dimensional view of an area – they tell consumers, if you have kids and value things like affordability, safety and good school test scores, then the best place for you to live in New York might be Tonawanda (which was the Best Place to Live in New York in the BusinessWeek’s 2010 version). Buyers want to live in an area where there are people like them. That is one of the foundations of our Lifestyle Search Engine. But in terms of applicability, these stories are too broad for those looking to relocate. A consumer does not want to find the top 25 or 50 or 100 places nationally; they need to be able to narrow down to a state or Metro area where they are looking.
What goes into a specific 'lifestyle'? A result could evaluate both points of interest and demographic information to give a very good representation of any particular neighborhood. All of the modeling is done by us. Working on numerous stories over the years coupled with real estate expertise allows us to recognize what home buyers value during the home search process. Hence, our ‘lifestyles’ have been crafted with the real estate industry specifically in mind.
A few things to think about:
- Consumers at some point need to make compromises and providing a lifestyle search can help align these expectations in the beginning of the home search process. Perhaps someone who places high importance on living in an area with great schools, short commute time, very close proximity to shops and retail stores and arts/culture may in fact be priced out of the areas they had considered. Finding out about areas where you can get the most for your money up front saves tremendous time in the home search.
- This isn’t just a search tool. One great benefit for brokers and agents alike is that they can look at what their consumers are searching for. For instance, they may find that almost all visitors to their site are looking strictly for good schools and family friendly towns, or they may discover that most are looking for convenience to shops and an area that is close to police/fire stations and hospitals. Agents can then create specific marketing campaigns around this type of information.
I will be talking more about this next week at RE BarCamp. I hope you'll come join the lifestyle conversation.
Image Credit: Official GDC on Flickr.com