Renting or, even more, buying a house is a very important moment of our life, a moment that almost always brings along radical changings we would like to handle the best way we can, in order not to deal with a future of disappointments, second thoughts, regrets. In this period there are many real estate offers, and right after we decided to start searching we get surrounded by a bunch of Internet ads, flyers, magazines, agencies and private sellers.
We know from the start that we need a lot of patience to find the dream house, either in our city or in a new one, and selecting a neighborhood or an area suitable to match our lifestyle and to meet our needs, may turn out as demanding as a second job. Do we really have the time and the energies to manage the perfect search? How many agencies did we contact? How many real estate brokers did we talk to? Of course, many residences will meet the requirements we were looking for, especially on prices, but what’s outside the house we like? What happens around us?
The parameters we care about in the area where we’re going to live can be the most different: first, probably, we will check for the main services and first necessity shops. Pharmacy, post office, schools, shops, supermarkets. Then we’d like to understand if we are in an area which is expanding or under renewal – good signs of development and revaluation –, if it’s adequately served by public transportation, but it will be as important to consider if there is also the possibility to walk to the places we go to everyday (workplace first of all, but also gyms, places of worship, swimming pools, hang-out spots), especially if there are children in the family. And yet, what kind of traffic will I find outside my window? How important are green areas?
Perhaps we should learn more about the neighborhood and visit it at different times, in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. Noise, services, connections, cleanliness, security, are all things we should consider in advance, but how long will it take to do that? In addition to the agencies’ data, visits in person and talking with the future neighbors, what are the other sources of information that we could check and where to find them? Clearly, in a crucial decision such as moving into a new house, questions and doubts are endless. Times are changing, however, and thanks to the growing spread of “open data” – “open data” is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – there’s already who, through interoperability – the ability to combine a database with others – is able to make us understand if all that is in the area of our future house is in line with our concept of quality of life.
Because the major benefit of an accessible and shared pool of data, is the fact that potentially it can be freely crossed with data also coming from open sources, such as real-time sensors, environmental indices, Internet of Things (IoT) or information from crowdsourcing. This way, when we’ll look for an area where to live that really matches our needs (from parks to bike lanes, to traffic seasonality), all the basic requirements of our interest, soon there will be someone who will tell us to what extent they are present and, more importantly, where to find them exactly in that very city. No one better than ourselves know what we’re looking for, but having the map with all the information we need can really revolutionize the search and the time to manage it.