Searching for a home with schools in mind
Schools are usually a factor when parents go house-hunting. Sometimes that's No. 1, as in, "I'm not buying a place if it's not in XYZ school district."
Vermont-based Maponics wants to make it easier to see if the homes that interest you are inside the attendance boundaries of the public schools you like.
The company announced today that it has school-boundary data for the largest U.S. metro areas, including Baltimore, and expects to have every part of the country covered in a year. It's up to their customers to decide how to integrate the data, but you could start seeing it on real estate search sites in about a month. (Maponics' clients include Google, Trulia and Zillow.)
Here's an example of what it looks like:
Darrin Clement, chief executive of Maponics, said he knows of no other firm that's put together school boundary maps across the country. He thinks the data will change the way people shop for homes.
"It comes down to ease," he said. "Right now, imagine you've got a kid in elementary school and a kid in middle school and a kid in high school, and you're going to move to Baltimore. You know a few of the neighborhoods that are called good neighborhoods, a few schools that are good schools, and you want to potentially find those properties that are in that overlap of good schools for each of your kids and good neighborhoods. And they're not always the same. Could you find that information now? Yeah, with days of research."
What the Maponics data will allow users to do is "turn on boundaries and filter out homes that don't fit your criteria," Clement said. "You're talking an hour of research. Maybe less."
The company thought about doing this years ago but held off because it's so costly. Gathering all the information once is labor-intensive enough, and then you have to keep updating it because some school districts change their boundaries frequently.
"We decided last year, finally, that this was something we were committed to," Clement said.
What do you think, folks?