Santa Cruz Tech Beat

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Best place to live your lifestyle? There’s an app for that

By Jiro Wiseman
Lifestyled Listings

(Image above: Results can be viewed and explored in the map view to get a broad idea of where your lifestyle matches are located. Image: contribued)

The serendipitous encounter

Have you ever stumbled upon a place that was perfect, somewhere that put all your favorite activities, weather, and overall vibe in one place to make you feel like you’d found your own personal paradise? That was the case for my girlfriend and her family. Just three years ago they were living in Lake Stevens, Washington, that is until a conversation with a complete stranger who told her she belonged in Santa Cruz, CA. That serendipitous encounter led to some searching online, a visit with the family, and just a few months later they sold their house and moved down to Santa Cruz.

Finding your little (or big) gem

Many Santa Cruz residents share a similar story of finding this little gem on the coast by accident, while on a road trip, during a company retreat, or through recommendations from friends. One real estate agent in particular took note of how often there was an element of randomness to how people end up finding where to live. That peculiarity became a real issue when one of her trusted clients asked her to find a second home for them that was ocean front, had a five car garage, had good surfing, but could be anywhere in California. Some relocation sites exist but they tend to focus on schools, crime rate, average price, etc. and while those factors are important to certain types of buyers there was no real tool available to search by true lifestyle preferences. That experience planted the seed for her to later bring together a group of people up to the task of building a brand new tool for real estate search.

User search results are displayed in descending order according to the best possible location-home match in our database. The user can also adjust the importance of each search tag, as well as add or remove tags, and even save multiple search profiles.

User search results are displayed in descending order according to the best possible location-home match in our database. The user can also adjust the importance of each search tag, as well as add or remove tags, and even save multiple search profiles. (Image: contribued)

Lifestyled Listings — born out of the desire to help people discover their own personal paradise in a purposeful way

So how do we do it? The process starts with looking at what data already exists in the form of lifestyle specific magazines, articles, and bloggers. For example, we looked at over 200 articles and blogs related to the “best places to live for golf” to create a meta-analysis of available guides. From there we did some more digging of our own and rated each lifestyle hotspot across all lifestyle categories so that they could be compared directly with one another through any combination of lifestyle preferences we allow, more than 1.3 trillion unique combinations to be more specific. And even that is without considering the ability to adjust the importance of each factor individually. We combine our proprietary location specific data with real estate listings from the data provider Listhub, the original data source for the familiar Zillow and Trulia. Our data feed of listings covers all 50 states and is roughly 85% of all listings available on the market at any given time, which gives us the largest database of homes searchable by lifestyle.

For home buyers we start you off by asking how broad of an area you are considering, you can search nation wide, by state, a certain radius around a city, or within an individual city. Next, you take the Lifestyled Assessment (or skip straight to browsing), an image based questionnaire that collects your location and home preferences. Keep in mind that matches are made on a best-fit basis, so selecting features won’t actually eliminate worthy candidates that don’t have every single thing you’re looking for. Your results come in the form of a custom “feed” of homes that display a large image, basic property information, and most importantly the percentage match for location and home. A quick click switches your results to a map view in case you want to see where your top matches land geographically. Selecting a listing allows you to see the detailed description, listing agent information, and the complete image gallery. Features still being built include a point of interest map and local area guides.

Currently in live-beta and hungry for feedback

Lifestyled Listings is currently in live-beta, which means the core functions of the site are running smoothly and are available to users but you may hit a glitch or two that needs to be ironed out. We are hungry for feedback to guide what we pursue going forward and are already testing our next phase of development based on our focus groups. We are really excited to build from the baseline we’ve set so far and in the next few weeks we will be hitting the road to meet in person with users and real estate agents, collect more lifestyle data, and measure how accurate our matches are on the ground.

We invite you to checkout the amazing places we are lucky to have across the U.S and invite your friends to do the same. For more information, visit: lifestyledlistings.com.

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