What's a Neighborhood?

One’s home is one of the biggest investments one makes. The Real Estate supplement and Real Estate Guide provide current information on the market and complicated transactions, how to increase the value of one’s home, and what trends and neighborhoods are receiving attention.
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One’s home is one of the biggest investments one makes. The Post’s Saturday Real Estate supplement and Sunday Real Estate Guide and online Where We Live section provide current information on the market and its complicated transactions, how to increase the value of one’s home, and what trends are influencing decisions.


Sellers must be aware of the costs involved in selling their house, even in the best of markets. If housing is in short supply, what tips might help find the home of one’s desires? And can owning a home still be part of the American dream for those who are at the extremely low-income level? These are some of the timely and diverse topics found in Real Estate.


Before one has moved into the rented, mortgaged or owned house, one considers factors beyond price and financing. Is this the place one wants to call "my neighborhood"? Does it provide the amenities and other qualities that are important to one’s lifestyle? Is this where I want to be a neighbor?


The activities in this guide work well with business, economics and personal finance as well as civics, art, photography and journalism. They help students understand what’s a neighborhood.



May 2018

Neighborhoods We Call Home
Resource Graphic 

Develop Vocabulary
Business, Economics, English, Personal Finance

In the Know provides terms that are used in The Post’s Real Estate supplement and online as well as in discussions about rental and home ownership. Teachers may find it helpful to get acquainted with the terms as students read the articles or the class discusses personal finance choices.


Capture Your Neighborhood
Art, Civics, English, Photography

KidsPost introduces students to “Everyday D.C.,” a city-wide photography project for middle school students. Before reading “What Washington looks like, from the middle school perspective,” ask students to view the photographs and read the captions.


If teachers wish to create an exhibit of the photographs, refer to Museum Musings for an activity on writing the wall text to accompany each work.


Character of a Community activity may be used with this article or alone. Encourage students to develop their observation skills in words and through the lens. Their photographs may be springboards to discuss the best in the community and what needs attention to create a more livable community.


Meet the Real Estate Editor
Business, Career Education, Economics, English, Personal Finance

V. Dion Haynes, The Post Real Estate editor, answers our questions about his job and background. Before giving students Meet the Real Estate Editor, teachers might introduce students to The Post’s Real Estate supplement that arrives on Saturdays or is found online at washingtonpost.com/wherewelive.

• What type of information is provided?
• Who do they think would be interested in reading different articles?
• Which article did they find most interesting?
• What questions would they have for the editor of the supplement?


Read and discuss Meet the Real Estate Editor.


Meet People Who Help Their Communities
Broadcast, Business, Civics, Economics, Journalism

AARP members are 50 and older. They receive discounts, benefits and advocacy for their concerns and needs. AARP also sponsors a grant challenge to “make communities livable for people of all ages.” Students may be inspired by how these communities define being a good neighbor and the projects they initiated. Teachers could view all of these short pieces and discuss or form four groups for students to watch, discuss and present a summary of the project to the class.


What ideas do they gain that might work in their community?

Charleston West, Virginia
• Helping poor seniors: what it means to be a good neighbor


Macon, Georgia
• Chess tables and sets to facilitate community engagement by all ages


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
• Providing sidewalk art classes for Chinatown residents


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
• Reclaiming a crime-ridden area with an active community association

Money, Money
Resource Graphic 

Write About a House
English, Journalism, Personal Finance

One of the features of the Real Estate supplement is House of the Week. These dwellings are found in the District, Maryland and Virginia. In his interview, Real Estate Editor Dion Haynes explained that the featured house “has to have an interesting story attached to it. Generally, we like houses where famous or just interesting people lived.”


After reading one or more examples of House of the Week, discuss with students the features that are highlighted — landscaping, specific rooms, events held there and the people who have lived there, for example. List the adjectives and phrases that are used to describe and bring the house to life. What other approaches are used?


What house would they feature in their neighborhood? After students have selected their house, list features that make this home special. Which of the approaches discussed before can they employ to strengthen bringing this house to life on paper? Give students House of the Week that provides a template for this writing activity.


Explore the Qualities that Make a Neighborhood
Civics, Economics, Personal Finance

The people who live near us are our neighbors. Neighbors may be physically close, but distant in personal contact; neighbors can become like family. Discuss with students what qualities their ideal neighbors possess.


Expand the concept beyond the immediate neighbor to “neighborhood.” Use What Is a Neighborhood? to consider the qualities that help to define and shape a community. Which of these qualities do they think are most important? What is their perfect neighborhood?


How would they improve their neighborhood?


Find One’s Community
Business, Economics, Personal Finance

Teachers might stimulate interest in this topic by sharing the Illustration of your home as seen from different perspectives or one of the other cartoons about renting, selling and buying houses. What influences how you look at your current home?


What does it mean to be a “buyers market,” a “sellers market” and a “desireable neighborhood”? What do they think is the current home-buying environment in your area? Give students “7 ways to find a home when listings are in short supply.” Discuss ideas that are presented. Which idea would they most likely use?


Using the Real Estate and Real Estate Guide and online resources, search different neighborhoods. 
• How many homes are available for rent or on sale?
• Locate the House of the Week neighborhood on a map. What can you learn about the neighborhood from the article? From other sources? 
• Locate information about a community or area that would interest you. Summarize it. 


Read About Neighbors

Think Like a Reporter
English, U.S. History

Using the different special features in Real Estate as models, compile a list of approaches used by writers to capture readers’ attention, convey information and present technical topics in an understandable manner.

Give students Think Like a Reporter: Develop a Story of Your Neighborhood. A step-by-step approach is used to help students produce a 500- to 1,000-word article about their neighborhood.

Introduce the Economics of Zip Codes
Art, Business, Economics, Journalism, Personal Finance

The Post’s Real Estate supplement editor, Dion Haynes shares an April 2018 article that went from print to online with an interactive map. Read “After a solid year in 2017, can the D.C. area’s housing market remain strong?


• Find the zip code where you live on the interactive map. What information does it give you? 

• Compare and contrast to nearby zip codes.

• Select a zip code in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Compare and contrast them. What accounts for the differences in median sales prices?


Switch the map indicating “Change in median price.”

• What is the minimum number of sales in each ranked zip code?

• Where did the greatest increase in median price occur?


Switch to the map indicating “Sales volume.”

• What is a housing market?

• Where did the most sales take place?

• Enter your zip code to see whether you live in an active or sluggish housing market.



Post NIE Guide Editor | Carol Lange

Post NIE Guide Art Editor | Carol Porter

Resource Graphic 
In The Know 

Adjustable rate When someone is shopping for a home loan, one option is the ARM; these mortgages have rates that are fixed for specific periods of time and change according to a specific schedule
Appraisal Estimate of value of property from analysis of facts about the property; an opinion of value
Assessed value

Amount set by the assessor for the purposes of calculating property taxes


Buyer's market  Real estate situation where buyers have exceptional power over sellers; usually because there are many houses in the area and only a few buyers. May be the result of many people moving out for some reason 

Written document by which title to real estate is conveyed from one party to another



Portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct

Fixed-rate mortgage  The interest on a fixed-rate mortgage remains the same for the life of the loan; typically, a fixed-rate mortgage has a term of 15 or 30 years 

Legal proceeding for the collection of real estate mortgages and other types of liens on real estate, which results in cutting off the right to redeem the mortgaged property and usually involves a judicial sale of the property to pay the mortgage debt


Housing discrimination Act of disallowing a person or group the right to rent or purchase a residence because of their age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or status. Housing discrimination can also occur when multi-dwelling residences choose to rent only to individuals within certain demographics. 
Housing market General market of houses being purchased and sold between buyers and sellers either directly by owners or indirectly through brokers; often refers to the performance of the Housing Market Index 
Interest rate  An amount of money added to the loan; this amount is in addition to the principal amount of the loan. This is how the lender makes a profit from the loan.
Inventory Number of housing units that are available for sale in a given geographic area; includes all single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops; number varies as houses are bought and sold 
Investment property Real estate used as a primary residence and is purchased with the intent of earning a profit can be considered an investment property. A vacation home is also considered an investment property.
Mortgage A temporary conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for the payment of a debt which may be cancelled by payment; from the Latin words “mors” or “mort” meaning death or dead 
Neighborhood District, especially one forming a community within a town or city; neighborly relationships, proximity
Personal property Personal property is any piece of property within the home that is movable; such as appliances, furniture, art 
 Realtor Copyrighted trade name that can be legally used only by those persons belonging to the National Association of Realtors
Real estate Common term used to describe any given piece of land along with anything that is permanently attached to the land, such as buildings, housing, natural resources, and other permanent structures such as fences; also describes the business of buying and selling land and property
Real property

Land that the home sits on and the home itself; also lighting fixtures, doors and windows; the distinction between personal and real property is important in the context of real estate sales

Resale value

Value of a property at some time in the future; several factors can influence the resale value of a home: condition of the neighborhood, nearby amenities, potential expansion in the vicinity, quality of schools as well as the overall economy and housing market

Seller's market

Market where the seller has the upper hand; few good homes are available in a certain area so the seller receives a lot of interest from multiple buyers on any given listing


The rights of ownership recognized and protected by the law; a combination of all the elements that constitute the highest legal right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy and dispose of real estate or an inheritable right or interest



Source: Real Estate Glossary and Century 21 Real Estate Glossary  

ANSWERS. Homes: Technology, Tubs and Trends

1. Answers will vary. Be sure students give an explanation. 2. Check that students have thought of the different physical, educational and recreational needs of each age group; 3. Be sure students have both similarities and differences. 4. Answers will vary. 5. A variety of terms are used and features highlighted, they include: a. Extraordinary, luxury, spectacular amenities, unparalleled attention to details; b. most impressive model home, unique collection of distinctive urban and traditional architectural style, epitome of urban-inspired townhouse living, ultimate new community; c. Recreation center and trail close to shopping, commuter routes and the MARC train; tub with separate glass frame shower, dual sinks and soaking tub; master suite located on the first floor. d. Responses will vary. Be sure students includes some specific details. Some students will have fun with tongue-in-check descriptions.

District of Columbia Public Schools Academic Content Standards 

Social Studies. Students analyze the elements of America’s market economy in a global setting. (E.3. Market Economy)

1. Explain the relationship of the concept of incentives to the law of supply and the relationship of the concept of incentives and substitutes to the law of demand.

2. Describe the effects of changes in supply and/or demand on the relative scarcity, price, and quantity of particular products.

3. Explain the roles of property rights, competition, and profit in a market economy.

4. Explain how prices reflect the relative scarcity of goods and services and perform the allocative function in a market economy.

5. Explain the process by which competition among buyers and sellers determines a market price.


The District of Columbia has adopted the Common Core State Standards in reading and mathematics. In addition, DCPS has adopted new learning standards in arts, health and physical education, science, social studies, technology and world languages.



Academic Content Standards may be found at http://osse.dc.gov/service/dc-educational-standards.

Maryland Academic Content Standards 

Personal Financial Literacy. Compare different types of markets. (1.12.D)

Examine external factors that affect a market such as inflation, and determine the appropriate time to purchase. (Grades 9-12,


Personal Financial Literacy. Evaluate the economic impacts of government, business, and consumer financial decisions. (1.12.E)

Analyze the impacts of business, government, and consumer financial decisions on the individual, family and community (Grades 9-12, 1.12.E.3)


Personal Financial Literacy. Explain that contracts are binding agreements. (3.12.E)

Identify the rights and responsibilities of all parties entering into a contract, such as college loans, cell phones contracts, car loans, collateral loans, passbook loans, and mortgages. (Grades 9-12, 3.12.E.3)

The Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Content Standards can be found online at http://mdk12.org/assessments/standards/9-12.html 

Virginia Academic Content Standards 

Economics and Personal Finance. The student will demonstrate knowledge of planning for living and leisure expenses by

a)  comparing the costs and benefits of purchasing vs. leasing a vehicle;

b)  comparing the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. purchasing a home;

c)  describing the process of renting housing;

d)  describing the process of purchasing a home (EPF.11)


United States Government. The student will demonstrate mastery of the social studies skills responsible citizenship requires, including the ability to

a)  analyze primary and secondary source documents;

b) create and interpret maps, diagrams, tables, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets;

c)  analyze political cartoons, political advertisements, pictures, and other graphic media;

d) distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information;

e)  evaluate information for accuracy, separating fact from opinion;

f)  identify a problem, weigh the expected costs and benefits and possible consequences of proposed solutions, and recommend solutions, using a decision-making model;

g)  select and defend positions in writing, discussion, and debate. (GOVT. 1)



Academic Content Standards may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/index.shtml.

Common Core Standards 

English Language Arts >> History/Social Studies >> Key Ideas and Details. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1


English Language Arts >> History/Social Studies >> Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7


Common Core standards may be found at www.corestandards.org.