As a real estate professional, clients will expect you to be able provide specifics about the neighborhoods they are considering. Neighborhood knowledge also will be invaluable to you in developing your marketing and prospecting strategies. Following are some helpful resources to help you learn about different aspects of your market. Your local chamber of commerce, university, or newspaper, also are valuable sources. You can use the data you find to beef up your own area knowledge, focus your marketing materials, post on your Web site, or provide to your clients as a way to establish your expertise.
- American FactFinder. When you want to find authoritative demographic information fast, use American FactFinder, an interactive search engine provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. This resource can help you track down local population, as well as housing, industry, and business statistics for your market area. Data is taken from the Census 2000 and more recent surveys and reports.
- ePodunk.com. Launched in 2000 by former journalists, this site contains profiles of more than 25,000 communities and every county in the United States. Entries are extensive, with specifics on history and geography of the area; home prices; schools, libraries, and other cultural amenities; air quality; taxes; economic and employment data; and much more.
- Sperling's BestPlaces. This site generates rankings of places and people for major publications. It offers city profiles and a feature that allows users to compare any two cities in the United States in categories such as housing costs, crime, economy, health, and education.
- National League of Cities. The oldest and largest national organization representing 18,000 cities, villages, and towns throughout the United States, this site offers research reports on cities that focus on fiscal conditions and demographic changes.
- National Center for Education Statistics. Part of the U.S. Department of Education, this agency collects and analyzes data related to education in the United States and other countries. Use the Search for Schools, Colleges, and Libraries function to find detailed information about any school in the country.
- SchoolMatters.com. Although the site’s ultimate goal is to get more people involved in improving public schools, it’s full of rich information on how school districts are performing all over the country. It's run by Standard & Poor’s and provides a wide array of academic, spending, tax, and demographic data.
- Architecture Guide. This helpful guide at REALTOR® Magazine Online provides information, illustrations, and photographs of the most common types of home features and residential styles.
- Architecture Coach. This monthly column at REALTOR® Magazine Online provides practical tips and information about how you can best use architecture to sell your listings.
- About Architecture. This site provides a solid foundation on which to build your residential architecture knowledge. Part of the About network of Web sites on dozens of topics of interest, About Architecture features House Styles, an illustrated guide to the most popular residential architecture styles and features. Additional parts of the site provide information on renovating historical homes, home repairs, and home maintenance.