What does a star review look like?

Writing a review

Our mission is to share useful insights on what it’s really like to live in a particular area. HomeViews Streets gives you detailed reviews from the best and most trusted source: the people who actually live there. And while we are big believers in publishing a wide range of reviews, the usefulness of a review depends on the insights it contains – so we want as many as possible!

A star review is a review that goes above and beyond to describe the experience of living in that area. It goes further than what you could find out with a simple Google search, but delves deep into the hidden treasures and/or complications of the area. The things that you wouldn’t find out until you actually lived there yourself.

Below we have outlined how you can write a star review, with tips and examples for each question on our review form. So, you can write a star review too!

Please comment on the amenities in your local area

For this question, we really want reviewers to focus on their local amenities, rather than writing about all the other amazing or not so amazing parts of the area. We are only asking about amenities here, we will ask you about the other aspects later on.

Star answers to this question will focus not only on listing nearby shops, restaurants or bars, but will dive deeper into what makes these specific amenities special to them, for example, one reviewer commented:

“In this quiet section of NW1/Castle road, there is a well-known pub where the locals can connect over a drink – this infamous pub is “Tapping the Admiral”, which unites teachers, key workers, local residents, and people of all classes.”

As well as this, previous star answers have made an active effort to think and comment on the ways in which the amenities could be improved:

Something missing in my area would be youth clubs. There were a few quite a few years ago but have all now vanished. I think the absence of youth clubs in the area is the reason our youngsters get themselves into trouble and fall victim to trouble.

Please comment on the convenience and availability of transport links in your local area

While reviewers usually have no problem answering this question, there are a few insights that could take your answer to star review status.

Try not to just list out all of the different buses or trains that stop nearby, as this is information that a prospective resident could easily get whilst researching their move.

Instead, think of the experiences that you have had on local public transport. What times of the day are they busiest? Do you live in a commuter location? Are the services regular enough? Is there a local school that turns your bus into a school bus at 3pm? These are all key insights that will help readers understand and imagine what their transport experience will be like should they chose to move to your area.

Also, try to think of other modes of transport. What are the cycle routes like around? How convenient is it to access the roads leading out of the city? Are there potholes or is the road well maintained?

A star answer to this question will include comments, such as:

“As this area is very residential, there are lots of people travelling to work towards central London which can be a bit of a pain during rush hour, often the Victoria Line is fast despite it being packed, the Piccadilly Line, however, tends to be a bit slower and the tubes arrive with less frequency.”

As well as:

“The majority of roads have cycle lanes and some B roads are for cycles ONLY! This makes NW1/The borough of Camden very cyclist friendly. Examples of cycle lanes can be seen on Hawley road and Prince of Wales road, where there has been a new lane obstructed near the bus lanes for cyclists to cycle safely.”

Please share the good aspects of living on your street

This question is asking for insights on your specific street, so make sure to focus that and not on your area as a whole. We’re also only asking for the positive points here – don’t worry, you can tell us about the less positive things in your next answer!

Star answers here will consider what makes their street special. How friendly are your neighbours? What type of demographic live there? Do you live in a CPZ or does the street have driveways? Reviewers will make an effort to describe and explain what they love about their street.

For example, some previous star answers commented on the sense of community on their street and how this manifests itself:

“On my street, the residents all get along and often see each other at the park, while walking the dog or even at the local corner store buying milk.”

“The family that live below us knocked every single night of Ramadan with a different delicious dish for us all to enjoy! And to the right an Australian teacher helped us out with homeschooling projects and made great friends with our dog :)”

As well as this, they have been many other insightful star answers to this question:

“The lovely period properties, wide tree-lined streets and the original wall and gates make you feel like you’ve stepped into the turn of the twentieth century.”

“There are not many garages available but mostly off street parking which you can pay using an app on your phone while visiting.”

Please share the bad aspects of living on your street

Just like the previous question, this one focuses on the specific street. This time it is asking reviewers to focus on the negative aspects, the things you wish you could improve. We want to know what you wish you had known before moving to your specific street: what didn’t the estate agent tell you?

This time try and think of all of the little niggles that make your street less than ideal. Is there a main road nearby that gives off noise pollution? Do the local teenager loiter around and cause mischief? Make sure to include anything that would be useful for a prospective resident to read if they didn’t already know the area.

Star answers will give a detailed explanation of anything that they feel their street could improve on. For example, one reviewer commented:

“The only thing I dislike is that there are no spaces for bins – the rubbish bags are always left outside of the flats, on the side of the road, whilst bin collection is always effective, one can always see rubbish next to the doors waiting to be collected. Sometimes this results in litter on the pavement, too”

And another commented on the antisocial behaviour that tends to go on, on their street:

“There are many instances teenagers will sit in the stairs smoking and drinking. They often leave mess and spit on the stairs, leaving the caretakers with an awful mess to clean up. It can also be intimidating for any single people to walk past them alone.”

Please tell us anything else that comes to mind about your local area?

This is the final question on the review form that requires a qualitative answer. It is a chance to include anything in your review that we did not ask about in our previous questions. Star answers will often bring up niche experiences or qualities of their area that aren’t commonly known by the wider population.

Think about the vibe of your area, is it trendy? Has it been gentrified? What made you move there? These are just some of the key insights that you could include in your answer, we are really looking for something that makes your review unique. Depending on age, occupation, interests and a variety of other things, one persons experience could be completely different to another’s, so try and write from your perspective, not from how your area has been stereotyped.

Previous star answers have commented on how family or pet friendly the area is:

“The best thing about my local area is that it is very children friendly. It has schools close by, children centres also close by for toddlers and young babies. As a mother myself it really helps”

“With the thought-provoking Parkland Walk hanging over the nature Concrete Hive you get a lot of both worlds, when you need some fresh air you can take a walk of that refreshing trail and pet some dogs on your way (a clearly great place to please your pets).

As well as this, other insightful comments included:

“There are perfectly divided but easily accessible sections of society where families, pets and couples can settle down, rise up or float in the middle in what really is a scaled down version of central version enhanced by the locality of it’s resident, but even then once can isolate should they want to and they will be left unbothered. You are given total freedom within the walls of cohabitation and living, perfectly versatile and well structured as is. A marvel of civilisation.”

“The lack of option for sustainable living is overwhelming, the area could do with something like that, although I fear those things tend to be overpriced.
The farmer’s market by the library is a joke, there’s three stalls and two have already made food.”

Please tell us about the good and bad aspects of living in your local area

This question is asking you to provide a summary of what it’s like to live in your area. We will normally ask you this question instead of asking all of the above questions, so we’re really asking you to include as many insights on the different positive and negative aspects of living in your local area as you can think of. Star reviews will normally include useful insights in each of the ‘categories’ of question above, i.e. amenities, transport, good and bad aspects of living on your specific street, and anything else that would have been useful to know prior to moving in to your area. To help to write the best answer possible to this question, we suggest providing insights on each of the individual questions above in turn.

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