ZeroDown Hot Picks: Criteria and Rationale

Every week our data and real estate experts seek out the best homes on the market in the Bay Area.

They've even developed a criteria ranking system based on a multitude of factors to aid in their hunt - and so ZeroDown Hot Picks was born.

Hot Pick is where we'll be sharing the best of the best homes, every week, in a variety of categories including Smart Value, Best Upgrades, Green, Restful, Neighborly, and New Build - the criteria and rationale for which you can see below!

A 'Smart Value' home is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Located within an area that has seen positive growth in the last three three years in median sale price/sq ft for homes
  • Located in an area with the best home price appreciation within the last three, five, or ten years
  • Has been recently updated or remodeled, adding value
  • Is at the 50th percentile or more of living space on the block
  • Has an estimated $ per sq ft sale price that does not exceed the area median by more than 10%

The core idea is this: As a purchase that is also an investment, does this home really make for a smart purchase?

A home with the 'Best Upgrades' is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Has been recently remodeled, renovated, or otherwise updated
  • Has a recent addition
  • Recent renovation work is of high value projects
  • Public permit records show high-value work done on the home recently.

The core idea is this: Does this home have improvements that significantly increase the comfort and value of the home?

A 'Green' home is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Near transit
  • Has solar installation or solar potential
  • Has EV charging pre-installed or is located in an EV-friendly area (with large number of nearby EV stations)
  • Has energy efficient improvements and/or upgrades 
  • Is located in a walking- and biking-friendly neighborhood

The core idea is this: For a homebuyer who is concerned with reducing their environmental impact, does this home offer amenities, and is it located in a place that can help the buyer achieve those goals?

A 'Restful' home is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Near greenery (trees/parks/trails)
  • Located in a quiet neighborhood
  • Has a large yard or outdoor space
  • Has a large lot size-to-living space ratio
  • Has amenities that enhance comfort and restfulness

The core idea is this: Does this home have amenities and is it located in a place that emphasizes peace and quiet?

A 'Neighborly' home is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Located in a zip code with a low investor score
  • Located in a zip code that is at least 60% owner occupied
  • Has a walk score of at least 60
  • Has a street-facing porch or deck
  • Close to parks, libraries, and other community spaces
  • Part of a planned community with common amenities

The core idea is this: Is this home located in an area and does it have access to amenities that make it conducive to a neighborly, civic lifestyle?

A 'New Build' home is one that fits a number of the following criteria:

  • Newly built/ constructed
  • Has features and amenities that will help "future-proof" the home, such as smart home ecosystems and electric vehicle readiness
  • Has a design that is "timeless," i.e. neutral color schemes that offer flexibility for decorating
  • Is one of the few or only new build homes for sale in the area

The core idea is this: Is this newly built home move-in ready with features that will keep it a comfortable home for decades?

Check out our latest Hot Pick homes here.

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Further reading

5 Tiny Homes for Sale Right Now

Been dreaming of tiny house life? Well, these five tiny homes could be exactly what you've been looking for!

Hot Pick Home: 'Green' in the Bay Area - January 18, 2021

For a homebuyer who is concerned with reducing their environmental impact, does this Morgan Hill home offer amenities, and is it located in a place that can help the buyer achieve those goals?

Hot Pick Home: 'Best Upgrades' in the Bay Area - January 18, 2021

Does this San Jose home have improvements that significantly increase the comfort and value of the home?