Technology changing the real estate game

What is your street like?

I was reading an article where there was a one line comment about a future where people will be writing or blogging about a specific street. If each street had its own blog or unique profile people could better search for interesting locations. That which is interesting being a very local and personal decision.

A reply was posted by another reader claiming that the idea was far fetched. Said in an almost laughing tone.

Maybe they spoke too soon.

UpMyStreet is a UK website that has been providing local information for years. Maybe similar to CitySearch but in the UK there is a secret weapon – the post code. In the UK a post code refers to less than 20 addresses. Go to the main page and put in the following post code: SE1 2PY. I used to live exactly where the circle indicates. This is a central London location with the River Thames just to the north; Tower Bridge just out of view to the top left.

I am not sure if the 9 digit zip codes in the US zero in so precisely. I expect they do but I have not checked.

More interesting is the following quote from the UpMyStreet site.

ACORN profiles in a nutshell

ACORN stands for ‘A Classification Of Residential Neighbourhoods.’ There are approximately 2 million postcodes in the U.K. (the average postcode being shared by around 14/15 addresses). The marketing-data firm CACI has produced this classification to include every street in England, Scotland and Wales, fitting them into 17 distinct groups, which, in turn, contain 56 ‘typical’ ACORN neighborhood categories. The basic idea is that streets of broadly similar people are grouped together. Your postcode is assigned to the type which is the best match with the unique characteristics of your street. Please note that the description is for the type as a whole, not your specific street. When your street matches a type it doesn’t mean the description applies to you, as an individual.

The neighborhood profile data for the SE1 2PY post code is here. There is a page with school information, police details and other general information on the street or area. Below you see an invite asking people to comment on the specific location.

Conversations

Share your inside knowledge on living, working or going out in SE1 2PY.

How about current appraisals for every house all the time?

As you might have heard there is an new appraisal service called Zaio. They are a start up company just getting established in the US. Their objective is to appraise every home in the US with a drive by appraisal including a current photo. The appraisals will be updated once a year. The quality will be checked against recent sales as the sales get recorded in the public records. Over time the software accuracy will increase and the appraiser’s notes will become more specific. I will provide my perspective on the proposed appraisal service in a later post.

Note: Do not worry too much about the costs to launch such a service as they are selling territories to both the appraisers and the photographers who do all the actual local work.

Can you imaging what it will be like to investors to have broadly accurate appraisal information on any home in America plus street level information on the area before you leave your computer to speak with a motivated seller?

You take a call from a motivate seller on your Apple iPhone. You pull up the address, check the Google map, review the appraisal and any local commentary from the neighbors. Then you run your property analysis model to determine what you can offer based on the likely condition (70% of FMV minus repairs & carry costs equals your maximum offer). Armed and loaded, ready to do the deal, you walk out of Starbucks while restarting the latest music you were listening to before the call came in. Time to so see if you can help the motivated seller solve their problem.

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