You are viewing our site as a Broker, switch your view below:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
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.
MORE >
Rethinking Search Parameters: Lifestyle and Commute Dominate Over Size/Price
Do you currently value homes based solely on bedrooms, baths, and square footage? You – and sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia – may want to consider moving to a new neighborhood. Where are we off to in such a hurry? Meet the new kids on the block… Lifestyle, affordability and commute. These three amigos can make finding the right home for buyers infinitely easier – all with the help of data analytics searches, the latest in real estate trends. What the heck is that? Unlike data searches, which generate an overwhelming glut of options for buyers based on search parameters like bedrooms, baths, price and location, data analytics searches can help pinpoint a few top houses in a market area that best match a buyer’s needs.
MORE >
How to Tip the Scales in Your Direction With School Search and Reports
MORE >
Haus Offers a New Level of Flexibility to Home Search
When I first moved to New York from Seattle, I knew no one and hadn't visited many neighborhoods. I couldn't afford much, but wanted a hood that was relatively quiet, had a short commute to midtown, and was pet-friendly for my 6-month-old mutt. I searched through Brooklyn and Manhattan and ended up in an area and an apartment I put up with, but didn't love. If only Haus was around. Haus recently launched a cloud-based real estate site in the LA market. The site is designed for the modern consumer and gives them more flexibility in how they search for their next property. The site allows search by recent listings, neighborhoods, style of homes, or the type of community. Visitors can look for areas that are family friendly, have good schools, or even easy access to a golf course. As a visitor, you can customize your search based on what's most important to you. "I wanted to reinvent the traditional home search and make it more holistic by personalizing it beyond the tangible, physical characteristics of the house," said Avantika Shahi, Haus Founder and CEO. Haus is designing their site on the belief that a home is more than just the physical structure. The area you live in determines the quality of life you'll have in your new home. Location is also important when looking at real estate as an investment. According to a recent US News Report, location is the number one thing that determines resell value. What makes a good location according to the article are things like the quality of schools, nearby attractions and amenities, and "whether the area has a strong sense of community." Haus was able to utilize the technology provided by Onboard to allow users to find a location that meets these types of requirements.
MORE >
Four Ways to Attract Home Shoppers Earlier
MORE >
Why and How to Circumvent the Home Shopping Process
If you're in the business of mortgages, waiting for home buyers to find you is a losing strategy. With a majority of players either relying on referrals or targeting home buyers too late in the home shopping lifecycle, getting to home shoppers earlier is a great way to stand out from the competition and boost revenue. Becoming a resource earlier in the home shopping lifecycle yields multiple benefits. You'll increase your brand's visibility, build credibility and boost engagement. In a larger sense, you widen your sales funnel and generate more qualified leads through return visits, positive word-of-mouth and conversions. All of these benefits result in your brand standing out in the minds of home shoppers as a trusted resource when they're ready to finance their home. It's an effective approach, but how do you get there? To get return visits, positive word-of-mouth and conversions, home shoppers need to clearly see your value. You need to become their home shopping resource. As a resource, you'll need to offer the information and tools that matter most to your home shopper's decisions. This can include a variety of things like neighborhood comparison tools based on lifestyle or crime data, school comparisons based on ratings, reviews, and test scores, home valuation tools and recent home sales trends and transactions, a mortgage calculator for each potential property, and more. These are the tools home shoppers value most. By including them on your website, you'll ensure your brand receives the recognition and growth it deserves.
MORE >
The Power of Local Information
MORE >
The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Home
This is part three of The Millennial House Hunt, my series on what I, as a millennial, care about and look for when shopping for a home. Over the past week, I've walked through the home buying process through the eyes of a millennial first-time home buyer. Between finding the best website for my search needs to locating the best city and neighborhood (go 49ers!), it's been a productive few days. In the midst of virtually wandering any millennial's dream neighborhood perusing current listings, I found myself drooling over a few million dollar loft spaces before smacking myself with the reality stick and sorting the listings by price. Good news and bad news. The bad news is that it turns out millennials can't hardly afford anything in Mission District. The good news is my listings search has just been filtered down to less than a handful of possibilities. I investigate the most expensive listing in my price range, an open plan loft with floor to ceiling windows. It's small, but it is wondrous. I use Better Home and Garden Real Estate's affordability calculator before I am faced with the numerical truth. Even with a hefty down payment, the monthly payments would be more than $3,000 each, not including utilities or any other costs. I consider bank robbing as an alternative income stream, and am forced to conclude I cannot afford the Wonder Loft.
MORE >
The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Neighborhood
MORE >
Greetings from a Millennial: This is What I Care About in Real Estate Search
All I want is to live next to a bagel store. I want to walk out my apartment door in the morning, smell bagels in the air, and know I'm smelling New York City--or at least breakfast. While I'm pretty sure you've never had this exact thought, if you've ever cursed the six blocks to the nearest grocery store or the six miles to the nearest pharmacy, it boils down to one regret. You really wish you had done more research before moving. You want to be informed, but with the staggering amount of options for where to live, how do you know where to start? Where can you find about neighborhood demographics and the closest bars and restaurants if you don't have 12 hours to spend browsing the census database or perusing different queries on Google maps? The tools are there. If you are interested in neighborhoods (more and more people are finding that neighborhoods are almost as important as the actual home), you'll find the most compelling information on PlaceILive, PadMapper, and StreetAdvisor. PlaceILive PlaceILive takes a wealth of information and formats it into a familiar Google-esque map. It gathers information from public sources and makes it easily accessible. You can search distinct addresses, or whole zip codes and learn the lay of the land. Its signature tool, the Life Quality Index (LQI) is interesting because it meshes the factual information, Census data, business information and safety information with user reviews to create a well-rounded view of an area. The map tool is fun to explore and you can end up learning things you didn't set out to (there is a bagel shop search, if you are interested). PlaceILive launches this week globally in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Berlin, and London.
MORE >
The Value of Real Estate Website Features
MORE >
What is Data Aggregation?
"Data aggregation is any process in which information is gathered and expressed in a summary form, for purposes such as statistical analysis. A common aggregation purpose is to get more information about particular groups based on specific variables such as age, profession, or income." What is data aggregation? – Definition from WhatIs.com Data aggregation at Onboard is one of our key competencies. We aggregate data from many different sources such as the US Census, County tax assessor's offices, NCES, FBI, NOAA, to name just a few. Most often, we aggregate data from one or more time periods (months, years) to a set of geographic areas (ZIP codes, neighborhoods or counties). We also perform data aggregation processes within and between each of these datasets. Levels of Data Aggregation When combining data into information the level of aggregation will determine the message it conveys and its ability to be extrapolated. This runs the spectrum from a factoid to individual transactions. About Data Aggregation – InfoActive.co
MORE >
Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Closing Stage
MORE >
Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Selection 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. So far in our series, we've unveiled how to optimize your site for both potential home shoppers who are casually daydreaming about their next best place as well as serious home shoppers who've delved into the heavy research for their next home. In the third stage of the Home Buying Cycle, the Selection stage, the home shopper has decided on an area or two they would like to live in and is in the process of selecting and securing the perfect listing. Essentially, in the Selection stage of the Home Buying Cycle, it's crunch time. To meet the needs of home shoppers in the Selection stage, the biggest necessity is to have the most accurate, up to date listings as possible. After all, if your listings are not updated on a regular basis, why would serious home buyers keep returning to check on daily or even weekly updates? Even further, once your website is updated with the listings that have been available for a week or two, there's an increased probability that a local or national competitor has displayed the listings long enough for their loyal home shoppers to close in. To avoid this, offer real-time listings. Listings API +, for example, is the first API to provide real-time listings by undergoing multiple listings updates a day. Through this offering, your home shoppers can be the first to receive real-time access to listings as they enter the market, offering them an advantage against other home shoppers and offering you increased engagement and brand loyalty.
MORE >
Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Research Stage
MORE >
Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Discovery 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 four-part series “Optimizing the Home Buying Cycle,” 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. Buying a home is one of the largest, most exciting investments most people make in their lifetime. So, before most home buyers enter the Research stage of critically researching and considering their possibilities, they first go through the Discovery stage, complete with passive research and daydreaming of amenities and possibilities that are within (and outside of) their personal reach and budget. Even though home buying intentions are premature, aligning your website with home shoppers' interests in the Discovery stage can produce an enormous payoff that includes valuable brand loyalty. One way to optimize on the Discovery stage is to offer an Automated Valuation Model tool. This can be used to help home shoppers learn what their current home values may be worth, offering a theoretical budget that's perfect for the Discovery stage. Even more efficiently, AVMs are commonly used as lead capture tools, providing you with the upper hand and ability to reach out to home buyers as they transition into their Research stage. The AVM is a great tool to begin conversations with as well as instill brand loyalty and interest among potential home buyers. Apart from AVM, another way to align your website to the needs of home shoppers in the Discovery stage is to consistently blog about your local markets and communities. Use market and property information to generate blog topics such as "Jersey City Home Prices at a 5 Year High," complete with a link to either the most recent Jersey City listings or to your AVM so Jersey City home owners can see their current home's estimated value. This can inflict inspiration for many non-home shoppers to either begin their Discovery stage or to begin channeling their Discovery stage through your brand.
MORE >
Convert Leads and Close Sales for Less (11/11)
MORE >
Choosing the Best Data Provider for Your Business
Over the past few weeks, we've been helping professionals determine the best data provider for their business goals through The Data Deal Series. Today, I'd like to share this guide highlighting some of the key points provided throughout our series:
MORE >
The Data Deal: Home Sales Trends and Transactions Edition
MORE >
The Data Deal: Community Data Edition
This is part 4 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. When home shoppers search for their next place, they are looking for both a great house and a great community. So, providing expansive, accurate, and valuable community information to home shoppers is critical. When considering which data vendor to utilize for your Community Data which questions should be top of mind? How do you ensure you're choosing the best data vendor for your business? Here are a couple of key questions to ask potential community data providers: How many fields of data do you provide for community demographics? The more the better. Ideally, you want to have options. Companies can range from 10-20 data fields to hundreds. Make sure items like crime, climate and air quality are part of your community package as those are the pieces of information important to shoppers looking for their next home. How is the data delivered? We offer a standard API with XML or JSON output. We also offer the Community data via a bulk file that is delivered via an FTP site in Pipe Delimited format. Either way you choose to have it delivered, you will have complete control over what data is displayed as well as the look and feel of the implementation. Our clients choose to work with the Community API and bulk file to generate SEO and increase user engagement.
MORE >
Lifestyle Search 101
MORE >
The Data Deal: Point of Interest Edition
This is part 3 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 shoppers don't just simply consider a potential home's amenities, they consider the surrounding community as well. In fact, for 52% of homebuyers, finding the "right" home has been the most difficult step in the home buying process for the past several years (The 2013 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers). Implementing Points of Interest alongside your property listings gives the consumer an instant picture of their prospective community and keeps them engaged. With local search on the rise, it is imperative to give consumers a reason to stay on your site for all their information needs. However, what should be considered when choosing a Points of Interest provider? What do home shoppers care about most when it comes to local amenities, and how do you ensure you're choosing the best provider for your business? Here are a few questions to keep in mind when contemplating your Points of Interest provider: Do you offer points of interest? Points of interest can let your visitors know what it's like to live in a certain area. By knowing where the local grocery store, gym, or bank is located in proximity to their new home, they'll get a better sense of the community. Make sure that information is available on your site.
MORE >
The Data Deal Series: School Data Edition
MORE >
The Data Deal Series
Weighing your options on how you obtain data for your website isn't always easy. There are numerous sources out there – some free, some at a cost, some private and some public. How can you make sure you choose the best resource for your business? The Data Deal series helps guide you through the process of choosing that resource by offering questions you should ask and qualities you should look for in a provider. This week, we explore how to get started when shopping for a data resource. What qualities are important to your business and how can you make sure any given provider can provide what you need? Here are three easy questions you can ask to get you started: Can you help me build my business? Data alone isn't enough to create the type of customer experience that will better your business. You need to understand how to incorporate that data into your system so it helps attract leads, promote onsite engagement, and convert visitors into clients. When you hire a company to provide data, make sure they have the ability to ensure you meet your business objectives. Where do you obtain your data? The source of any given data point is important. It speaks to how often that information is updated as well as the quality and reliability of the data. If visitors to your website get inaccurate information, you will immediately lose their trust and, ultimately, the sale. You want to make sure you're providing the most reliable, highest quality data possible.
MORE >
Home Shoppers Will Find Points of Interest One Way or Another
MORE >
School Attendance Zones: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
According to a Redfin study published in 2013, homebuyers are willing to pay on average $50 more per square foot, in order to purchase a home zoned for a higher quality school. In 2013, the National Association of Realtors released statistics showing that 40% of homebuyers had school aged children and 25% of all purchases were directly influenced by the quality of the school district/zone. To cement the fact that schools are important to home buyers, NAR also published that only 3% of people were willing to compromise on the quality of a school. There is a clear connection between a homes value and the attendance zone it falls within. The statistics show that people pay more and actively seek out homes that they feel will have a positive impact on their children's learning. Some leading players in the real estate world already provide school zoning information to their online users, including Trulia, Redfin and Zillow. Without further ado, below are four ways your company can utilize school attendance zone boundaries to have a major impact on your website. SEO - We all know SEO is the name of the game. One way to increase SEO is to make your website bigger, literally. Imagine having a page for every school attendance zone in the country residing on your server. Each of these pages can be populated with detailed information about the schools and homes that fall within the boundaries. The possibilities are endless for creativity and uniqueness. No matter how you slice it, this approach will give you a significant SEO boost and help you get real results on Google. IDX Enhancement - Tag your listings to the appropriate attendance zones that they fall within. Then enable your users to search via attendance zones. Not only will this be a unique function for your IDX but it will also make it easy for your potential home buyers to locate a home that is zoned for a great school. A secondary piece of this is displaying the attendance zone on each listing page that you already have on your site. This will add more content to the page and give the user more information they care about.
MORE >
What the #*[email protected] is Geospatial Data Anyway?
MORE >
Connect Your Clients With Great Schools
It pays to know everything about your real estate market. Most real estate clients with young children expect their Realtors to know a thing or two about local schools, their ratings and districts. Because these districts change often, it can be difficult to speak with absolute authority on local schools. Luckily there's a free mobile iPhone/iPad/iTouch app makes it possible for prospects to research this information on their own. GreatSchools allows you to locate and map nearby elementary, middle, and high schools or search listings across the U.S. You can also view detailed ratings, reviews, and test scores. Key features include: Search the latest school information for more than 125,000 K-12 schools in the U.S., including public, public charter, and private schools Map and compare schools for any city, based on your current location Filter schools by public or private, grade level, distance, GreatSchools Rating, Community Rating or, enrollment size Browse parent reviews, recent test scores, and district info Save schools to your personal list of favorites for quick retrieval later Share schools with family and friends
MORE >
Use case: Buyer alerts for new properties in specific school districts
MORE >
Use case: How School Attendance Zones can capture organic search traffic
This is part 1 of 6 in a series on using School Attendance Zones to solve user engagement and conversion challenges. If you're an Onboard client, you have undoubtedly heard many times about how to leverage our content platform to get them there, keep them there, and convert them (again and again). If you are at the beginning of the process of determining which part of the user journey to prioritize, it comes down to where in the conversion funnel you have the most trouble. I think I'd be hard-pressed to find a web/brand strategist who doesn't want a) more traffic b) more engaged traffic and c) more buy-ready leads. When implemented well, local content can tackle all of these challenges. How many times this year have you heard that winning the search engine race is about having the right content strategy in place? We have studied long-tail referral traffic of over a dozen real estate sites and have found that those with a well-implemented geographic content strategy are capturing traffic that would've otherwise gone to a competing site. Let's assume you have a well-thought out geographic content strategy in play: what more can you do to get buyers as they move along the search process? To me, if a searcher is looking at a particular school district, he or she is emitting stronger buyer signals than someone searching for some variation of "city or town homes for sale." Today, give any school district a browse on Google and chances are you'll find the district site, a link to GreatSchools, and district news. There is a huge opportunity right now for real estate sites to capture school-based home search traffic by providing rich landing pages about the cont they're searching for – without having to compete for tougher search terms that are already saturated.
MORE >
Redfin study shows top school zones are pulling big premiums
MORE >
Choosing a Mapping or Lifestyle Search Solution
What are Mapping and Lifestyle Search Tools? We decided to combine mapping and lifestyle search tools into a single category in our 2013 Technology Guide because they serve a similar very important purpose: enhancing real estate search. 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. Questions to Ask There are some important questions to ask when buying any real estate technology product and some that are unique to choosing a mapping or lifestyle search product. First, let's look at general questions you'll want to ask. What are my objectives for this piece of technology and will this product help me achieve those objectives? What is my budget? Does my MLS or Association have any agreements with any vendors that might help me obtain this product at a discount or for free? What kind of customer service and training programs are available? Are there webinars and, if so, are they recorded so you can view them at any time? Is the vendor's online help sufficient?
MORE >
Fresh Look at Property Search - Search by School
MORE >
3 Ways Brokers Can Help Their Agents Be Local Experts
Brokers, are you doing everything you can to help your agents succeed in a crowded market? Even if you've only been paying minimal attention to real estate marketing talk during the past few years, chances are good that you've heard someone use the term "local expert." It's more than just a trendy marketing phrase, though. Just like consumers need agents to guide them through the maze of paperwork that comes with buying a home, they also need an agent's wealth of community knowledge to help them find the right home. While there are plenty of things that agents can (and should) be doing establish their local credibility, brokers can help their agents get a boost on the competition. Below, we've listed three simple tools that brokers can start using now. Lifestyle Property Search Ninety percent of all consumers search for properties online during the home buying process. They have myriad search options to choose from, too--everything from giant portals like Zillow, Trulia, and big box brokerages to small town realty offices and agent websites. That's why it's important that your brokerage's IDX search solution stands out from the crowd. If you're just offering boring, run-of-the-mill data, buyers have plenty of other places to look online.
MORE >
Match Your Online Presence to Your Offline Personality
MORE >
Product Review: Neighborhood Navigator
Online property search has improved considerably over the years, but the team at Onboard Informatics feels we still have much room for improvement. More specifically, rather than limiting online searchers to traditional criteria (such as price, number of beds/baths, and square footage), we should also be helping them with something just as important: helping evaluate where they want to live. It's a valid point; after all, how many times have you seen a buyer compromise on price in order to live in their desired neighborhood? You can add value by holding their hand as they discover this desired neighborhood, and then transition them easily to looking at specific listings in the area with your traditional property search. Neighborhood Navigator from Onboard Informatics is a plug-and-play tool for real estate brokers who want to offer prospective buyers an improved online property search experience on their consumer-facing website. The functionality is focused on providing data about a specific neighborhood and offering comparisons to other areas. The upside for brokers is increased time on site, repeat visits, and cementing that "neighborhood expert" role. The benefits for consumers are numerous, as you can see from our walk-through of the product. Try It Yourself Onboard Informatics has made it really easy for you to experiment with this product. You can try it for yourself here. We suggest this as more than just a way to get a hands-on experience with the tool. It's also important to look at a countywide snapshot of your area and assess the neighborhood data available. While Onboard Informatics remains at the very top of the data "game" in real estate, it's a Herculean task to look both nationally and locally and achieve 100% accuracy on the fine nuances of both. You can also check out a few of the sites that currently use Neighborhood Navigator to see the different implementation options: Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate (you'll need to enter a city or a zip code), Mel Foster Co. Real Estate (see the "Neighborhood" tab on this property details page), and Lyon Real Estate. We'll talk more about implementation a little later on.
MORE >
Gut Feelings and Lifestyle Needs Reign in Home Search
MORE >
Homebuyers want school data, so give it to them!
This article appeared originally on the Onboard Informatics blog. “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth.” – Mark VanDorn The quality of a school and school district is so important for homebuyers that some base their entire home search around the quality of a school district. In fact, the importance that homebuyers put on living within the right proximity to quality schools could hold them back from buying right away and renting instead until the right home becomes available. With this knowledge, quality school data on broker sites not only benefits your company, but the homebuyer as well.  Engaging the consumers should start with you. You all probably know this stat, but for those who don’t…90% of buyers use the Internet in their home search…don’t let a customer go to a competitors site for information that you can provide them.
MORE >
Is Your Website a Bad Listener?
MORE >