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Consider a Lifestyle Section for Your Real Estate Website
A huge chunk of our business is locating homes and facilitating their sale, and our real estate websites are a big part of our marketing. People have a great many requirements for what they want in a home, from size and bedrooms to neighborhood and amenities. People want to enjoy their time in their homes, but they also spend a great deal of time away from home engaged in activities other than their jobs. Concentrating just on the four walls and the home's features leaves a lot of buyers doing their own research into what they like to do or enjoy near prospective homes.
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The 5 Best APIs for Demographics
There are a handful of ways to get demographic data for your business. The best source for you will depend on how you plan to use the data. This list includes the best sources of demographic data to provide application users an overview of an area. Demographic data can be used from everything to personalizing website experiences to deciding where to build your next business. Because of the variety of uses, it's important to set the parameters up front. If you are building something like a social platform or a real estate portal, providing your users an overview of an area can be valuable. If that's the type of experience you are trying to create, these are some great sources of demographic data.
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Rethinking Search Parameters: Lifestyle and Commute Dominate Over Size/Price
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How to Tip the Scales in Your Direction With School Search and Reports
To a large extent, the quality of a school district is a top factor for parents considering where to live. Test scores, parent reviews, enrollment data and more help REALTORS® quickly drill down to schools best suited to client needs and expectations. What’s more, once a school is identified, users can easily search for up to 20 nearby listings. Welcome to RPR Schools, part of our series for new and seasoned RPR users. Here we will offer basic tips and tools on how to help your clients successfully integrate school preferences into a home search using RPR. Then, we’ll show you how to master the art of creating marketing materials that will build your brand and create a wow factor for your clients using the RPRSchool Report.
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Haus Offers a New Level of Flexibility to Home Search
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Four Ways to Attract Home Shoppers Earlier
A good way to increase conversions in real estate is to become an invaluable resource to home buyers. Getting to home shoppers earlier in their buying cycle is a great way to get out in front of your competition and ultimately drive more revenue. Check out four easy ways you can do this: Build Awareness Build your brand awareness, and you'll be top of mind when someone is ready to purchase a home. Get your name out there to create interest in your brand. If you're independent, you can do this through an office with large signage, a strong website, and perhaps some low level advertising. If you're a larger brand, dedicate some of your marketing resources to promoting overall brand recognition and awareness. Be "Search Friendly" Over 90 percent of home-buyers start the process online. When they search homes for sale, make sure your company floats to the top of the list. Create a strong, search-friendly strategy that generates trust, reinforces awareness, and raises the visibility of your services. There are numerous ways to boost your rankings in search, often referred to as SEO. More information can be found on optimizing pages for search.
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Why and How to Circumvent the Home Shopping Process
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The Power of Local Information
This post is based on a quote I came across from Kevin Coleman describing how raw data fuels intelligence: Data when processed becomes information, information when analyzed becomes knowledge, and knowledge when applied becomes intelligence. – Kevin Coleman, Chief Strategist at Netscape The following diagram describes the power of local information and how it fuels intelligent decisions: For context, here's how this process works when a broker comes to Onboard to help power their business: Data We partner with various data providers to pull together local data from a bunch of different sources. The data is out there in various formats and through numerous companies, but it's kind of all over the place. We pull it into one place.
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The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Home
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The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Neighborhood
This is part two of The Millennial House Hunt, my series on what I, as a millennial, care about and look for when shopping for a home. Last week, I began my house hunt by finding suitable cities for millennial home buyers. Looking through several articles, I set my eyes on San Francisco, CA as a viable place for millennials to purchase their first home. Today, through Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate's website, we'll look at the most important neighborhood qualities we look for and narrow my search to a more manageable area. In regards to what's most important to today's millennial home buyer, I think I have reached one truth so far through my vast and varied apartment-life experience: Location, location, location. One of the main drawbacks of most of the sites I've come across is that the first-time home buyer is given no guidance about which neighborhoods are best for them. Scattering listings across an entire city is okay, but without context (where is the nightlife, other young people, low crime rates, and something I can afford), we are essentially left to fend for ourselves. On Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, I took advantage of their search parameters to remedy this. Since I don't plan on starting another series about buying my first car, my first requirement was access to public transportation. I started a search focused on homes near mass transit with a price tag that wouldn't have me resorting to monopoly money. I also factored in home size and only included homes with at least one bedroom (because despite my fantasies of being Harry Potter, I am not planning to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs).
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Greetings from a Millennial: This is What I Care About in Real Estate Search
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The Value of Real Estate Website Features
In the 2014 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers, the National Association of Realtors surveyed over 6,500 recent home buyers on their 2014 home shopping experiences and identified which website features were most valued by today's home shoppers. Results from the National Association of Realtors' 2014 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers Overall, it seems like the more people can get a sense of the home, the area, and the neighborhood online, the more pleased they are with the process. For example, 83% of the survey's respondents indicated that property photos were very useful. Without high-quality, detailed pictures of a property, it's difficult to get a sense of the property. Words are great, but pictures are more impactful.
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What is Data Aggregation?
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Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Closing Stage
<pHome shoppers can spend months on multiple websites as they transition through the four Home-Buyer Life Cycle Stages of Discovery, Research, Selection, and Closing. In our Optimizing the Home Buying Cycle series, we uncover all the ways to align your website to the needs of each of these four stages in order to deliver a consistently optimized and impressively effective home shopping experience. >As we progressed through the series, we've uncovered how to align your site for the needs of the causal, daydreaming home shoppers in the Discovery stage, for the serious home shoppers in the Research stage, and even for the home shoppers closing in on their perfect home in the Selection stage. At this point in the home buying cycle, the Closing stage, your home shopper has found their perfect community and is signing for their perfect home. They have developed immense brand loyalty due to your offerings, and they have had a consistently optimized home shopping experience regardless of their Home Buying Cycle stage.
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Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Selection Stage
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Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Research Stage
Home shoppers can spend months on multiple websites as they transition through the four Home-Buyer Life Cycle Stages of Discovery, Research, Selection, and Closing. In our Optimizing the Home Buying Cycle series, we uncover all the ways to align your website to the needs of each of these four stages in order to deliver a consistently optimized and impressively effective home shopping experience. Last week, we went over some great ways to optimize your site for home shoppers who are casually looking at their next home's possibilities. While we saw some fun, effective strategies to help draw in the Discovery crowds, as home shoppers transition into the Research stage of their Home Buying Cycle their questions, interests, and demands become more specific, critical, prominent, and stressful. To align, your website should be equipped with granular and informative content that answer the questions most critical in the Research stage while still remaining user friendly and engaging. One of the major tools we discussed for the Discovery phase is the Automated Valuation Model, an estimation tool that helps potential home sellers discover the worth of their home. On the opposite site of the spectrum, in the Research phase, home shoppers become much more concerned with the investment they are about to make than the potential worth of their current home. To help put their questions and stress to rest, offer them Home Sales Trends and Transactions, a frequently updated data set complete with local housing trends and market information.
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Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Discovery Stage
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Convert Leads and Close Sales for Less (11/11)
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST November 11, Onboard Informatics and Commissions Inc will show you how technology can help you convert more leads without spending additional resources. Learn how to use technology to: Highlight the expertise of your agents Reach out to leads with consistent and custom messaging that works Create an online environment that encourages return visits and data capture Respond to leads with your iPad or smartphone 24/7 Join the discussion November 11, 2014 and learn how to get smarter with lead generation and conversion. In real estate, what's more important than that? Register now!
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Choosing the Best Data Provider for Your Business
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The Data Deal: Home Sales Trends and Transactions Edition
This is part 5 of the The Data Deal,a series that helps guide professionals through the process of choosing the best data vendor resource for their business by offering questions and qualities prospects should look for in their data vendor. Home owners often monitor the value of not only their house but houses in other potential communities. A decision whether or not now is the time to sell or move can be based on the perceived value and market trends for their current home vs. their potential next community. Real estate companies can increase traffic to their sites, and especially the amount of time spent on their sites, by offering Home Sales Trends and Transactions data to users. However, when weighing options on how to integrate this rich information as well as which home sales data provider to obtain this information from, there are a couple of key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best home sales data resource for your business: How often are Home Sales Transactions updated? Home sales are constantly changing and are often the first thing that drives visitors to your site. You want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information possible. If the data you provide is inaccurate or infrequently updated, it can result in consumer and agent complaints that will undermine your company's credibility. How often are Sales Trends updated? Find out how often market price and volume metrics of home sales are updated and make sure they are provided at the local level including zip code, neighborhood, school attendance zone, county and city. This way you know you'll get the latest, most accurate information and your visitors will be able to find the data in a variety of ways. For example, showing users a trend line or a graph that explains how many townhomes, condos or single family homes have sold in a neighborhood and what the average prices have been will help your potential clients understand an area on a deeper level.
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The Data Deal: Community Data Edition
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Lifestyle Search 101
Lifestyle search is an enhanced type of property search that lets users find homes for sale based on criteria that goes well beyond the typical price and location filters. Online home shoppers can fine-tune their search by looking for properties based on school attendance zones, proximity to attractions, commute time, and more. This benefits brokers and MLSs by improving user experience on their consumer-facing websites. It also benefits property searchers, who can more easily and enjoyably find the right property. To help you learn more about lifestyle search, we recommend reading the following articles. They're a good place to get started: Match Your Online Presence to Your Offline Personality School Attendance Zones: Do You Know Where Your Children Are? The Data Deal: Point of Interest Edition Choosing the Right Tool If you're in the market for a lifestyle search solution, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: Will this solution be able to access MLS data? Where does the data come from? How difficult will this solution be to add to my website? Will the listing display and lifestyle information conform to MLS rules and regulations for IDX and VOW websites? Is the vendor using the free version of the mapping software or are they using an enterprise license? (FYI – Google Maps comes in both a free and enterprise version; the free version does not have update support, among other things.) Will visitors stay on my website when using this solution or will they be sent to an external site?
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The Data Deal: Point of Interest Edition
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The Data Deal Series: School Data Edition
This is part 2 of The Data Deal, a series that helps guide professionals through the process of choosing the best data vendor resource for their business by offering questions and qualities prospects should look for in their data vendor. 40% of home buyers today have school-aged children and home buyers overall will pay $50 more per square foot to belong to a well-ranked school district. A decision of which community to move to and how much a home shopper is willing to pay may hinge solely on the quality of local schools. Because your home shoppers care about schools, you want to supply them with the most accurate, up to date, and expansive School Data. However, what is it you should be asking school data vendors? What is it home shoppers value most when it comes to school data? Here are a few critical questions you should ask when contemplating which school data vendor is best for your business: Do you offer school data? Schools are incredibly important to your customers. Of all the local data that influence a buyer's purchase decision, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential. 25% of home buyers listed school quality and 19% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase, according to a 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
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The Data Deal Series
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Home Shoppers Will Find Points of Interest One Way or Another
Justin was born in rural Mississippi. Growing up, his local points of interest were limited to a single gas station, one small grocery store, and two movie rental stores. In 2007, fed up with the constraints of his rural town, Justin and his wife relocated to Portland, OR. Now surrounded with an abundance of activities, stores, and other exciting points of interest, Justin found his best place to live, for the time being. Justin and his wife had a daughter who needed a backyard and open space to play in, so the family moved to suburbia. But to find the family's next best place to live, Justin wanted to locate a home that was within five blocks to a grocery store as well as public transportation. Not finding any Realtors who supplied Points of Interest in the local area, Justin decided to become the local expert himself. He aggregated and mapped out a vast amount of open data in order to generate his own micro-version of Points of Interest. This is something that, if offered by any local real estate company at the time, would have converted this lead into a satisfied client. The real estate community continues to ask how they can remain relevant. The answer is that Realtors need to become local experts in their respective communities. Home shoppers want local data on their potential communities more and more. The necessity of local data, and more-so finding home shoppers their best places to live, is now escalated to the point that not supplying this local data doesn't only risk losing leads to competitors, it risks home shoppers overstepping agents altogether.
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School Attendance Zones: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
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What the #*[email protected] is Geospatial Data Anyway?
If you are like me and don't spend your days tinkering in Alteryx, you may be wondering what geospatial data is and where it fits into the bigger picture of what your business goals are. Today I will share how what seems like 'data' on the surface is actually a cohesive set of decision support criteria, linked through a data network that enables our clients to create amazing experiences on their sites and mobile apps. Let's pretend for a second you have been traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Atlanta Falcons. You are a father of three and your wife is a professor who will be teaching at Georgia State. There are so many questions you have to answer to make this exciting opportunity work for you and your family.  An example of a few questions you may have: Where area can I relocate to that offers a short commute to the stadium (my office) and the university so that my wife can get to her classes in a timely fashion? For the areas I do identify, what schools will my kids attend and how do they rate compared to where they go now and do they have the programs that they need to continue their educations at a high level? What's in my area as far as eating, shopping, safety, and parks? If I don't make the playoffs, then I'll just have to play some extra golf, my second love, so I'd like to be rather close to a nice club or course. The list can go on!
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Connect Your Clients With Great Schools
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Use case: Buyer alerts for new properties in specific school districts
When my wife and I were looking for our current house, our children were in middle and elementary school. We both attended public schools all the way through college and believe strongly in supporting public schools. There were many factors in our home selection, but we were sure which high school we wanted our kids to attend. This school, Grimsley High (Go Whirlies!), had just been ranked in the Top 100 high schools in the country and had all the AP and IB programs we wanted our kids to be able to choose from. This home search was eight years ago, and there were not nearly as many choices for finding listing information online. We did get daily e-mail updates from our agent with information from the local MLS, except not all of the houses would send our kids to the schools we wanted. It didn't seem like there was a way to get just the current listings that belonged to the 'right' school zone sent to us. We would have to take those e-mails and that double check against a list of streets that the school district published, and occasionally be disappointed that a specific property in the e-mail wasn't going to work for us. We found a great house. The kids are now off to college and this story has a happy ending. But all of this got me thinking. Many agents, brokers, brands, and portals have drip marketing newsletters and alerts. They range from seasonal greetings, quarterly market updates, and monthly lifestyle pages to daily or 'instant' property alerts. All of these have different purposes and appeal to different types of consumers, or to consumers at various points in time. Many of them are designed to 'keep in touch' or to stay 'top of mind' during the long periods when most people are not actively pursuing a transaction. But in all of the time and technological improvements we have seen in the real estate industry since 2005, there are still almost no websites, brokers or agents who have the ability to send out automated listing updates based on the school attendance zones. This ability would have made my personal home search much more efficient and less stressful.
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Use case: How School Attendance Zones can capture organic search traffic
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Redfin study shows top school zones are pulling big premiums
While you would probably assume top school districts correlate with higher prices, would you have guessed people are paying an average of $50 per square foot more? A new Redfin study showcasing data from Onboard Informatics, Maponics, and GreatSchools dives into how housing prices are affected by the quality of the local school zones. The study evaluated school districts nationwide based on its test scores and proved that, in school districts with good test scores, homes were more expensive. Although this isn't shocking news, the magnitude of the pricing inequalities across school districts is. What Redfin found is that, even if the only attribute separating homes of equal sizes and accommodations is one school boundary zone and less than a mile of distance, price differences can still be as drastic as $130,000. Even if a school's test score percentile is diminished from a 90 to an 80, housing prices in that district can plummet by over $60,000.
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Choosing a Mapping or Lifestyle Search Solution
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Fresh Look at Property Search - Search by School
Take a look at your website, and try to search for property by school. Then come right back to this article. Searching by school or school district has been a problem for real estate since property search was born. The primary and most relevant issue is related to liability. No broker or agent can guarantee that a property is associated with a particular school without contacting the school. Even then, it is still a bit risky. Depending on your area, school district maps are strange, cumbersome, and often overlap depending on the level of school – grammar, middle, or high school. The good news is that data has gotten better. Here at AgentAchieve, we can associate property rooftops geocoding with schools. This means that the problems associated with searching by school district are behind us.
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3 Ways Brokers Can Help Their Agents Be Local Experts
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Match Your Online Presence to Your Offline Personality
"We're looking for a three bedroom between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet. We want to find a place in the 10028 or 10128 zip codes." When was the last time any buying conversation started like that? Unfortunately, many real estate sites aren't bridging that gap between what their database can spit out and the way an agent actually sells a home, taking in the real needs of their buyer. "We're looking for a three bedroom in a good area with good schools and two dogs who have a lot of energy. Fun places to go on the weekends are important, but we're looking for all that within a 30-minute commute of my new job." Sound more familiar? Conversations like these – and the fabric of our communities – are the reasons why properties are built and priced they are. It's also why people are way less willing to compromise on the quality of their neighborhood and schools than they are on price (according to the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers).
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Product Review: Neighborhood Navigator
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Gut Feelings and Lifestyle Needs Reign in Home Search
Coldwell Banker's survey of 1,000 people is meant to highlight some of the gender differences that come into play when buying a home, but really shows the need for consumers to find a place that matches their lifestyle.
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Homebuyers want school data, so give it to them!
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Is Your Website a Bad Listener?
Guest contributor Mike Demetriou says:   Whether you realize it or not, every time a consumer comes onto a broker's website and begins searching for homes, the broker's website is engaging the end-user in a dialogue. Assuming I'm shopping for a home – which is a big assumption, considering I'd rather face the repercussions of wearing a Red Sox jersey to work at Onboard than move again any time soon – I'm having a conversation with the search box. I'm telling you the number of bedrooms and bathrooms I want, my price range, and not much else. In other words, I'm telling you everything I need to know in regards to the physical and monetary characteristics of my dream home. Anyone that has ever shopped for a new home knows that that's only half of the story.
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