How to choose your next neighborhood: there’s an app for that

We often write about where to live in Nashville – it’s an easy topic because each area is unique and they all have their own amenities. Click here to view our Where to Live series for individual Nashville neighborhoods. If you need even more resources to choose where to live, there’s an app for that!

Here are a handful of online neighborhood-finding resources:

1. Nextdoor. The age-old measure of friendly neighbors was how amenable they might be to a request to borrow a cup of sugar. Then, it was all about whether an area had its own Neighborhood Watch, then whether it throws a block party for National Night Out. Increasingly, though, the measure of a connected neighborhood is its social infrastructure online: Email lists and Facebook groups can be a good sign, but are often tough to find unless a home’s seller or the neighbors simply tell you they exist.

Nextdoor is a site where nothing but neighborhood social networks live and operate in one user-friendly place. It’s relatively new, so chances are good that your target neighborhood might not be there (yet), but if you do happen to see that the neighborhood of your dreams has a Nextdoor network, that’s a very good sign.

Walk Score actually assigns cities, neighborhoods, streets and individual addresses a numerical Walk Score rating that is exceedingly useful in helping buyers compare homes and neighborhoods on walkability; helping relocators start to get a feel for the daily lifestyle they would experience in various parts of the same town; and even helping sellers communicate their home's walkability in a meaningful way to buyers.2. Walk Score. If you’re looking for a neighborhood with high “walkability” (as defined by WalkScore.com to encompass everything from ample amenities for everyone from bus riders to walkers to bicyclists, to shopping areas where the storefronts are very near to the sidewalks), this is the authoritative resource.

Walk Score actually assigns cities, neighborhoods, streets and individual addresses a numerical Walk Score rating that is exceedingly useful in helping buyers compare homes and neighborhoods on walkability; helping relocators start to get a feel for the daily lifestyle they would experience in various parts of the same town; and even helping sellers communicate their home’s walkability in a meaningful way to buyers.

The enhanced version of our brand’s SIR Mobile app, which features improved functionality, speed and performance, is now available to Android, Blackberry and iPhone users.  The newly redesigned  SIR Mobile app features the following enhancements: a new application design; dynamic property alerts for new listings, price reductions and open houses for the upcoming weekend with the capability to add open house schedules to a calendar; advanced search property filters including home size in square feet, lot size by acre and a selector for Advanced Search refinements.3. SIR Mobile App. The enhanced version of our brand’s SIR Mobile app, which features improved functionality, speed and performance, is now available to Android, Blackberry and iPhone users.

The newly redesigned  SIR Mobile app features the following enhancements: a new application design; dynamic property alerts for new listings, price reductions and open houses for the upcoming weekend with the capability to add open house schedules to a calendar; advanced search property filters including home size in square feet, lot size by acre and a selector for Advanced Search refinements. The Advanced Search refinements now offer the ability to show only homes with open houses, all new to market properties and those that have had a recent price reduction.

4. StreetAdvisorStreetAdvisor is like Yelp for neighborhoods: You type in a city price range or “personality” factor, and it gives you the local neighborhoods that have rated the highest on these elements, along with oodles of reviews of that part of town by the locals who live there. It also has a handy Q-and-A feature, where neighborhood residents-to-be ask very detailed questions, and those who live there readily reply, and a leaderboard that lives on the home page, showing which neighborhoods’ rankings have been moving up or down, of late.

5. Trulia LocalTrulia Local offers all sorts of beautiful, easy-to-use, data-driven interactive maps for homebuyers considering a property in a given neighborhood.

Type in a given city, and you’ll be given color-coded heat maps that allow you to surface, in a single click, everything from the rate of violent-to-non-violent crimes across town and in specific, zoomed-in neighborhoods, to grocery stores, restaurants, banks and post offices and even the actual homes listed for sale overlaid on this same map with little price tags, so you can see at a glance how prices are different in different parts of town.

And this map also has a feature I’ve never seen anywhere else: a commute-time map. You can use a simple slider to give the map your maximum desired commute time, and the map adjusts in color and scope to show you what areas you can reach from a given address on the map within that commute time frame. As you move your map to various spots, the map gives you even more precise time frames for how long it would take to get to your mouse from the “from” address.

6. National Clandestine Laboratory Locator. The title of this site sounds almost intriguing, with its hint of James Bond-style mystery. But the subject matter is super-serious: The federal Drug Enforcement Agency operates this database of homes that have been used to operate drug laboratories — mostly for the manufacture of methamphetamines.

A number of homebuyers have been hit with the horror of buying a bargain-priced home from an estate or bank, only to realize after moving in and after suffering medical symptoms that their home was once a drug lab and is completely contaminated with costly-to-eradicate chemicals.

Many times, these homes are sweet-looking, older homes that had been left vacant by an elderly owner’s illness or had been longtime rentals. This is more a neighborhood- and property-specific vetting tool than one you would use to find a neighborhood in the first place, but you’d be remiss not to click the link for your state and search for the name of your prospective street(s) before you buy a home.

Similarly, many states offer their own meth lab property database(s), and some third-party real estate disclosure providers will even search these databases for a homebuyer.

Source: InmanNews

The Tennessean features The Lipman Group and Tech-Savvy Homebuyers

Source: The Tennessean

Tech-savvy buyers, sellers stay on cutting edge of real estate market

Written by Bill Lewis For The Tennessean
To download our free iPad and mobile app, click here to visit the iTunes store. For Android and Blackberry users, text SA to 87778

To download our free iPad and mobile app, click here to visit the iTunes store. For Android and Blackberry users, text SA to 87778

Lawrence Lipman remembers taking “the big, fat book,” the one that listed all of the homes for sale in Middle Tennessee, to meetings with clients who were considering selling their home or looking for a house to buy.

Today Lipman and other Realtors across the region travel lighter. He just takes his iPad to meetings with clients, who appreciate the convenience of seeing every home for sale or being able to place their home in the Multiple Listing Service with a touch of the screen.

“We are as wired as we know how to be and want to stay on the cutting edge,” said Lipman, whose company, The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty, has its own iPad and smart phone app. When home shoppers click on a property, they can see information about surrounding schools, restaurants, grocery stores, government buildings, gas stations, child care, workout facilities and more. The app also allows shoppers to see properties around the world.

The company’s yard signs display QR codes. With a swipe of a smart phone, buyers are linked to information about the house on the Internet and can text an agent, he said.

At least 95 percent of home shoppers start their search online, Lipman said, and Realtors have enthusiastically responded by offering technology that makes the home buying and selling process easier.

To download our free iPad and mobile app, click here to visit the iTunes store. For Android and Blackberry users, text SA to 87778

Sotheby’s International Realty Network Reports a 24% Increase in U.S. Closed Transactions

Sotheby’s International Realty Network Reports a 24% Increase in U.S. Closed TransactionsSotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced that it grew the office count within its global network by more than 7 percent in 2011, ending the year with more than 600 offices and nearly 12,000 sales associates located in 45 countries and territories worldwide. The Sotheby’s International Realty® network also reported a 24 percent year-over-year increase in U.S. transaction sides closed by its affiliated brokers and agents in 2011.

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also acquired the license from the Sotheby’s Auction House last year to develop the brand in Australia, the only region where it did not previously hold the rights.

“Our growth in the last year demonstrates the value real estate professionals are placing on the services we offer and the power of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and its reputation for excellence,” said Michael R. Good, chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “One of our goals for last year was to continue to expand our network in key luxury markets worldwide, and we have achieved that with the addition of 12 new companies worldwide and the acquisition of the licensing rights for Australia, which allows us to now move forward with gaining representation in a critical international market.”

“Our U.S. network also increased the total number of closed transactions by 24 percent from the prior year, which is a testament to our commitment to grow into new markets and the powerful combination of their local expertise and the support of our global brand,” added Good. “In 2012 we will work to expand our global footprint even more, with growth in Asia our first priority. To that extent, the brand has three new management positions that will be based in Asia for which it is seeking candidates. Those executives will be responsible for accelerating the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s development throughout Asia and for supporting its network of affiliates. We are committed to creating a significant servicing hub in Hong Kong to further support our growth in the region and to continue servicing the needs of our growing network of companies there.”

Sotheby's International Realty Mobile App for iPad

On the marketing front, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand introduced an iPad app to enhance your search for a home by offering luxury homes for sale, for rent and recent home sale prices, and it also provides the ability to hone your property search based on local points of interest and lifestyle.

iPad app features include:
• Unique views into property details
• Amazing photos of some of the world’s most distinctive homes
• Almost 40 points of interest based on the property location
• One -click-contact to a Sotheby’s International Realty broker or agent
• The ability to save home search information for future use
• A dynamic map feature displaying all available homes for sale or rent based on a user’s location or interested city/neighborhood

The Sotheby’s International Realty iPad app is an extensive house hunting and powerful property search tool. Find out everything about a home that strikes your fancy from the year it was built to the yearly tax rates, and much more.