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Yelp This House!

Posted by admin | October 24, 2011

Consumer reviews have made it easy to check out professionals (hello, real estate agents!) and services. Product reviews (hello, Amazon!) have made it easy and amusing to find out what others think of books, electronics and other gizmos. Open Table makes sharing your opinion of dinner easier than sharing dessert.

So why is it so hard for consumers to share their opinions about houses?

One researcher thinks it’s time that changed.

The Harvard Joint Center on Housing just released a paper proposing a way to quantify house characteristics. The idea is to have standard categories that allow for consistent comparisons and ratings. The categories are:

Energy efficiency – Utility bills are a good indicator of this factor

Life cycle, emissions and waste – Does the house require lots of upkeep?

Water – Does the property require a lot of water?

Design – Does the house make good use of natural light; is it handicapped accessible so owners can ‘age in place:’ is the layout easily adapted as the owners’ needs change?

Accessibility & Connectivity –  Is the property situated for easy walking and public transit access to work, shopping and recreation centers?

Services and Infrastructure – This city actually does pick up garbage regularly and the local power company actually does keep the lights on…right?

Maintenance and operations –  How aged are the heating, cooling, plumbing, and electric systems in the house?

Financial indicators – Is the house in a neighborhood that is appreciating, stable or deteriorating?

Seems to us that these are smart factors for creating a snapshot of universal value factors. What do you think?

Image courtesy of Morguefile contributor mantasmagorical