Syndicating third party neighborhood content onto real estate sites is a quick and easy way to offer more information about nearby restaurants, schools, grocery stores, and other amenities. However, it’s critical that the data be accurate, or you may look like you don’t know the important amenities in the neighborhoods you like and work within.
For example, I looked up my own home on WalkScore.com today to see what grade they give my home on their zero to 100 scoring system, along with what amenities in my neighborhood they’ve used to come up with that grade.
My property receives a WalkScore of 51.
My home happens to be in a 90 year old neighborhood in Minneapolis, with many walkable restaurants. It’s in a dense enough area to leave the car in the garage for days. And many people bike or take transit to work from the neighborhood, so it’s not particularly car dependent.
However, the interesting thing about my score is looking at the amenities WalkScore used to come up with it:
What stands out to me:
- The nearest grocery store listed is actually a construction company’s office.
- The nearest bookstore appears to be an online book store. It’s definitely not a retail location mid-block on a residential street.
- The nearest shopping location listed is a restaurant. There is shopping 1/4 mile closer than that.
- The nearest school is a private school. Yes, a school, but for real estate, public schools are a bigger factor than a private school that costs over $16k/yr to attend.
- The nearest bar is a restaurant further away than the nearest bar.
The problem here is that someone researching neighborhoods may have a very different impression of which amenities my neighborhood offers and values than what WalkScore suggests.
But, the bigger problem is that you, the local expert, won’t look like a local expert to clients if your site suggests that the nearest grocery store is a construction company’s office, that the nearest bookstore is run out of someone’s home, or that there is a great school a block away (without mentioning that it costs over $16k/yr).
So, if you’re considering syndicating data from third parties onto your site, make sure that the data passes the sniff test. Or, find out if there is a way for your local experts to clean up the data so it achieves what you want it to achieve rather than making you look like you don’t understand the communities you live and work in.