Thanks to Mike from Downtown Makeover for pointing this out: Google Street View is now in Reno, and it’s flipping amazing. Just go to Google Maps, type in an address, select street view, and voila, you’ll see the subject property in a 360 view that shows the entire street, the neighbors, their cars, whatever. So you know those listings that look so fabulous in the still shot but are surrounded by RVs in the street, weeds in the neighbor yards and chain link fences across the way? Now you can see it all online.
Another cool new tool I came across this week is the HotPads Buy vs Rent Heat Map. You type in the city of interest and wait for the map to load. Then click the Heat Map tab on the left, and choose Rent Ratio. Colors will appear in the background. Red means rent, blue means buy, and green is neutral. You can also create heat maps showing median rent, household income, and more. Just for fun, click on foreclosures per household in Reno… that’s a whole lotta red!
If you have kids and need to relocate, finding top schools may be one of your biggest concerns. In looking for landing spot in the Bay Area, I’m finding greatschools.net to be a wonderful resource. Schools are ranked from 1-10 on a number of factors, and parents, teachers, staff and former students can write reviews. The reviews are particularly interesting as they may alert you to challenges the schools face, but of course I recommend investigating further by calling the schools themselves and perhaps connecting with other parents online.
Another favorite resource for learning about distant communities is City-Data.com. Type in the city of interest to see photos, maps, weather, demographics, recent home sales, crime, commute times, government links… all in a nice one-page format. But the real value of the site are its very active forums. Just scroll down the page and you’ll find the links, including the most recent topics of discussion. Click to connect with others to ask questions about that particular city. People who live there will often reply with the inside scoop about their town, or point you to other resources that might be helpful in your online research.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there who work so hard to support their families. I hope you’re doing something fun today!