The New York Times recently published an article about the rise in the offering of lifestyle searches as they relate to real estate. If you're wondering what a "lifestyle search" is, you aren't alone. It's hardly the mainstream way in which people today search for their next home. Still, it's an interesting proposition, and one that's gaining steam in the online real estate industry.
Lifestyle searching provides individuals and families the opportunity to search for a new home or community based based on different criteria - not square footage or number of bedrooms - instead, criteria that can be explored by searching the demographics of potential neighbors, amenities of the community, interests of potential neighbors in a given area, and more.
The lifestyle search is particularly appealing to people who are looking to relocate to areas in which they aren't able to readily drive through a neighborhood to get a feel for it.
''People are more likely to compromise on the attributes of the home than they are to compromise on the attributes of a community,'' said Scott Petronis, director of product management for Onboard Informatics, based in New York (as quoted in the NYT).
Another player in the space is Andrew Schiller's NeighborhoodScout.com. NeighborhoodScout allows you to match a community in one area to a similar community in another area. For example, say I love Georgetown in DC. If I'm moving to Nashville, TN, it will recommend a similar community for me to consider. (And for those who are curious, the top result is the Bible College/End Ave area.) Pretty cool right? At a minimum, it gives me a good place to start my search (for both a house and a realtor).
You have to admit, this lifestyle approach does add some color and confidence to an otherwise daunting (and let's face it, intimidating) search process.
But that's just my opinion. What do you think?