I’ve come across a new type of real estate search engine: Geosapia ( Instead of digging through unordered listings online, now you can describe your ideal neighborhood, and you get a ranked list of properties. Suddenly putting listings online is actually useful. They are unique from other real estate web sites because not only do they get listings from the traditional sources (e.g. MLS), but also social networking sites such as Craigslist.

Geosapia was developed by a group of students and scientists from Harvard and MIT. They collect social data and neighborhood layouts throughout the city and, through patented process using some fancy spatial statistics, let you search by them in real time. Currently they have rentals, but they expect to have sales listings fairly soon.

Geosapia approaches property search from a new perspective. The real estate search is based on your personal preferences, such as price, safety, public transportation, availability of grocery stores, school scores, etc. You can also search by distance from any user-given location. This lets you answer all sorts of useful questions. Which properties are near my work? Which homes are in the districts of the best schools? You can even tell the search how much you care about each criterion. Which apartments are close to Whole Foods (somewhat important), less than $1900 per month (very important), and far from serious crimes (moderately important)? It’s pretty easy to do, and it saves lots of time.

Here I searched for properties near my office in Beacon Hill, and you can see how the listings cluster around my location (green marker).

When I click onto a listing, I see the detailed local environment. Here I’m showing the local grocery stores, crimes, and T stations.

Major benefits:

  1. Saves a lot of time: No more wading through irrelevant listings or wasting days visiting properties in the wrong part of town for you.
  2. Personalized fit: Geosapia scores all locations based on how well they fit your personal tastes for your desired neighborhood or location constraints.
  3. Makes city-wide information easily searchable: Instead of having to make sense of compiled tables of school or crime statistics, now you get full property or area reports that describe how well each area fits your personal needs. And all with detailed data that are updated every hour.
  4. Grows dynamically with users: Users can upload personal maps, local incidents or events, and photos and descriptions of places. This information then becomes searchable for other users, allowing for even more detailed scoring and searching of local environments.The Geosapia team came to my office and requested that I do a blog posting to get feedback from Boston Real Estate Blog readers. What are your opinions?
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