How many times have you moved to another location and realized you didn't know enough about the neighborhood before making commitments to live there? While doing a Google search can usually turn up information on the type of house you want and if it's near schools, it doesn't always show you the bigger picture. Most importantly, you want to know if you want to live in a particular neighborhood in the first place.
Recently, New York startup PicketFencer had a feature in The New York Times that presented examples of how some apps help the moving process work easier. PicketFencer is particularly notable because it's a graduate of the New York Founder Institute.
Founded by David Leibowitz, the idea behind PicketFencer came from Leibowitz moving his family from New York City to New Jersey. He realized there wasn't any online source available enabling families to find the right hometown for them. This led to him creating an app that lets you home in on exactly where you want to live.
Let's take a look at how PicketFencer works and what its future is.
More on David Leibowitz's Background
The above-mentioned feature in The New York Times is truly a boon for Leibowitz's company. Even though they aren't the only app mentioned, they stand out because his service focuses on New Yorkers in particular.
As an MBA graduate of NYU Stern, Leibowitz already has a thorough education in place to think with an innovative frame of mind. He also has over fifteen years of experience doing strategic planning at major digital agencies, including for Fortune 500 companies.
His experience in moving his family to Maplewood, New Jersey made him realize how protracted it is to find information on the right neighborhoods. PicketFencer manages to take personal information on individual personalities (and other unique needs) to give a more fine-tuned picture of where to live in the New York area.
How PicketFencer Works
One thing pointed out in the media is PicketFencer currently has the most comprehensive guide to living in NYC suburbs, giving the site no current peer. They do this effectively first with a comprehensive database listing over 600 towns throughout New York. You can filter this database by commute time, schools, affordability, and how far it takes to walk to nearby locations.
The company places a convenient search box at the top of their home page so you can start searching if you already have a town in mind. It tackles everything from Newark, NJ to Manhasset, NY.
However, they also have a five-question questionnaire to help whittle down exactly what you have in mind. Based on your answers, the automated system gives you recommendations in seconds.
If this isn't enough to help you find the right town, PicketFencer gives you a personal concierge to work with you one-on-one in finding the right place. Part of this involves a free tour of local housing in the neighborhoods interesting you.
What The Future Portends for PicketFencer
David Liebowitz's entire staff has vast experience in the startup and digital agency worlds, so the company is in good hands. They're also still in the process of hiring more executive advisorswith experience in fundraising, growth, marketing, and social media.
In the latter case, a lot of the information they use to gather town information comes from social channels. It helps bring more comprehensiveness and immediacy to what's occurring in each community.
Because nobody else is doing what they do, PicketFencer has opportunity now to expand beyond New York and possibly provide the same services to other states. Those living across America could benefit immensely from these tools and not feel like they've made a mistake living in a neighborhood not fitting their personal criteria.