I am the co-chair of the SFAR MLS and Technology Committee, and am fortunate to serve on a committee with some wonderful, sharp, smart and innovate individuals. I’m not naming them all here, because if I forget one then I’m in more trouble than before I started writing. One of the things the MLS committee deals with is requests for changes to neighborhood boundaries. You might think this is easy, but there is no “official” namer of San Francisco neighborhoods…
The city uses one set of maps for election districts, another city department uses different ones for purposes of planning, and so-on and so-forth. There are, in short, many different definitions for various San Francisco neighborhoods.
Back in the olden days, when you were looking for a home it wasn’t possible to draw a bunch of shapes on a map and say to the computer, “Find me a house within those boundaries!”
Now, of course, it is. So you might be interested in half of the “Inner Mission/9c” MLS sub-district, but not the other half. And that’s fine because it’s 2013 and now you can just draw a bunch of circles, squares, or parallelograms on a map and technology can keep up with that request.
In other words, it is no longer necessary to jam your circular search into a square map boundary. Which begs the question… do we even need to keep maintaining and updating neighborhood sub-districts?
A part of me screams, “Yes, absolutely” because otherwise we invite agents listing a home in one neighborhood and advertising it as being in another neighborhood. The flip side of that argument is that if we let that ethically-challenged agent represent a home as being in the wrong neighborhood, either one of two things will happen:
- Their representation about neighborhood location will be so flagrantly wrong that they will be barraged with insults and hostile questions by potential buyers, who have access to a wealth of online information and can quickly “fact-check” the listing agent
- Their representation about neighborhood will be “close enough” and buyers won’t care – it meets their needs and they love the location, regardless of what you call it…
What are your thoughts about neighborhoods, neighborhood boundaries, and how we search in the MLS today?