Eighty-five percent of homebuyers who plan to buy within 18 months say that the neighborhood they buy in is equally as if not more important than the house itself, according to a survey by real estate website Trulia. In fact, 76 percent of those same buyers said that one of their drivers for moving was a neighborhood-related reason.

Inspired by Trulia’s mission to “Build a more neighborly world by helping you discover a place you’ll love to live,” the company launched “What Locals Say,” on March 19. The feature provides buyers with feedback and responses from residents in a prospective neighborhood.

Established in 2005, Trulia is a San Francisco-based home and neighborhood website curated for homebuyers and renters. The website covers neighborhoods across the U.S. through personalized recommendations and insights sourced straight from locals. We spoke with Trulia about “What Locals Say,” and how the feature will help buyers be more informed about properties they are buying.

Trulia unveils What Locals Say

Courtesy of Trulia.

Trulia argues that respondents don’t necessarily have to live in the neighborhood to have insight or to answer queries about a certain neighborhood. “We believe that you don’t have to be a resident to have the local scoop on a neighborhood,” Senior Vice President and General Manager of Trulia, Tim Correia, tells progrss. “For example, most people work outside of the neighborhood they live in, and have a lot of insight about the neighborhood they work in.” 

Other Trulia products use existing data from entities such as the Census or a local Multiple Listing Source, then analyze or map them into insights for buyers and renters. What Locals Say depends on questions developed through extensive consumer research. 

To gather this data, What Locals Say needed to simultaneously encourage locals to contribute their insights while also presenting data to buyers and renters that would be useful. The company encouraged respondents to contribute to the data by surfacing the poll on the company’s mobile app when people are likely to be home, according to Trulia’s estimations, which is between 7 PM and 12 AM local time. Moreover, the poll was designed to be simple and playful.

Trulia connects buyers to neighborhoods

Courtesy of Trulia.

“Through this design, we were able to launch What Locals Say with more than seven million answered polls and written reviews about neighborhoods across the country,” Correia says. “That said, the product is still in beta, and we’re continuously iterating and testing new experiences to ensure we’re capturing the most valuable feedback from people.”

The new feature attempts to provide potential buyers with an authentic picture of a neighborhood. Correia believes that each neighborhood is unique, and that it’s important for buyers and renters to understand all attributes inside and around a home to ensure that it’s right for them; What Locals Say is expected to compliment Trulia’s 34 different map overlays that offer details on commute, reported crime, schools, and nearby businesses.

Trulia's 34 overlaying maps.

Screenshot from Trulia.

Trulia is not the first app working to connect neighborhoods, however. After connecting 160,000 neighbourhoods in the United States, the UK, and the Netherlands, in June of last year, Nextdoor social network launched in Europe’s largest internet market – Germany. The company piloted in 200 German neighborhoods ahead of the official launch, with the aim of having thousands logged on to the website by the end of the year.