The new year has begun, and future homebuyers are starting to become more serious about purchasing homes. More than ever, websites are springing up to help educate homebuyers about the properties of interests by presenting data in digestible ways. With the guidance of a realtor, homebuyers are more empowered than ever before. After researching dozens of websites, we have created a short list of websites that could help future homebuyer this year. Here are four real estate tools for prospective homebuyers.
WalkScore.com is a simple tool, bought by Redfin, that tries to help people understand how easy for a resident to walk to stores, restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, and more in that geographic location. They use a simple scoring system of 0 to 100 that measures the “walkability” of any address. Locations found within a five-minute walk are given maximum points. A score of 0 means that a resident in that area may depend on a car to reach any amenity. A score of 100 means that most facilities a resident need may be within walking distance.
WalkScore.com also provides three other scores for their users to understand the accessibility of their geographic location, such as the Bike Score, Transit Score, and the Crime Grade.
The Bike Score calculates the development of the biking infrastructure (e.g., bike lanes, trails, hills, and road connectivity) in each location. The higher the score, the more bike-friendly the location is for residents in the area.
Perhaps a person would like to live in a major city and not want to pay for a car. The Transit Score helps its users understand how easy the location is for a resident to access public transit like a bus, train, and more. The Transit Score assigns a score from 0 to 100 based on the frequency, types of transportation, and distance to the nearest stop on the route.
Walk Score’s new project is the Crime Grade. Home safety is one of the most critical factors regarding home’s ability to resell. Instead of a 0 to 100 score, the Crime Grade uses an A to D scale to measure the safety or violence of a given location. The Crime Grade uses data from police departments to calculate the per capita crime rate.
AreaVibes takes on a similar approach to Walk Score regarding measuring the proximity of amenities of resources in a geographic location. AreaVibes’s Livability Score is different from the Walk Score because the Livability Score also takes into consideration the cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing, and weather.
AreaVibes uses a 0 to 100 approach to any address, zip code, neighborhood, or city. The higher the score, the more “livable” AreaVibes claims. The lower the score, the more difficult the location if for a resident to live.
AreaVibes also provides a wealth of demographic information for each geographic location like population, male to female ratio, household income, income per capita, marital status, racial breakdown, languages spoken, and more! The users of the website could also give reviews about the location where they live.
AreaVibes have expanded to providing school and university information to each location, which could be influential in helping future homebuyers decided where to start a family.
GreatSchools is a nonprofit with a mission to provide educational resources for families in the United States. One of the most significant indicators of a home’s resell value is the quality of schools surrounding a home.
GreatSchools provide GreatSchools Ratings and school quality information to help parents choose the right school for their family and act to improve schools in their communities. Their ratings are based on a 1 to 10 system to rate schools on factors like college readiness of students in the school. The college readiness score shows how well students at any school are prepared for college compared to students at other schools in the same state. GreatSchools uses parameters like graduation rates, college entrance tests, and AP coursework to determine its scores.
GreatSchools provides demographic data like race/ethnicity, low-income students, students with disabilities, student to teacher ratio, and more!
Of course, we are going to add ourselves but for a good reason. CartoChrome is a healthcare analytics company that measures the accessibility of healthcare in a geographic location. We have read through dozens of scientific studies that showed that the proximity of healthcare, among other factors, could affect the outcome of short-term and long-term illnesses.
If a resident lives with five other family members 50 miles away from hospitals and healthcare providers with only one car available in the household, then that resident may have a hard time receiving consistent healthcare in that location.
CartoChrome gives each ZIP Code, city, or state simple ratings from 0 to 100 for its users. Each index is broken down into sub-indices like the People Index, Provider Index, Hospital Index, and Travel Index.
The People Index helps users understand how easily people in that location could pay for consistent healthcare in that location relative to other areas.
The Provider Index measures how close physicians are to a resident in the geographic location. The Hospital Index uses government data to determine the quality of nearby hospitals in the area.
The Travel Index measures how easy users can reach a hospital or healthcare provider in the geographic location relative to other places. The areas are summed and ranked to give the Overall Health Index.
CartoChrome also provides demographic information in a geographic location as well as physician, hospital, and insurance information for each given geographic location.
Each of these tools is complementary to each other to help prospective homebuyers understand if resourceful amenities surround that home. Looking at houses have never been so easy and fun!