The Law of Geography

When Marketing Real Estate, Are You Obeying the “Law of Geography?”

There seems to be a bunch of very unique laws out there. I’m not talking about regulations against speeding or stealing.

But laws concerning big ticket items — Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, or the Law of Large Numbers.

There’s one law that everybody in the real estate profession should be familiar with: The Law of Geography. It was developed by a brilliant American-Swiss doctor of geography, Waldo Tobler.

The First Law of Geography states: “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”

Now most “laws” seem to be a simple matter of common sense. Regarding gravity, yeah, what goes up, must come down. And regarding the Law of Large Numbers, if you test something numerous times, you tend to get a reliable prediction of the outcome.

The same could be said for Tobler’s treatise. But there’s something else going on here to pay attention to. It’s how location affects the attraction of a certain home. There are many implications.

You may live in a place like New York City, with its multitude of fine restaurants and theaters, but you find yourself spending 50% of your time in that diner across the street.

Or, a buyer who doesn’t like any of the properties you are showing, can be sold on the fact that one property is right down the street from L.A. Fitness, where in reality she will be spending a large amount of her time. And she knows it.

Or take a seller who fails to notice, and you the expert get to point out, that their property is within five miles of a baseball field, tennis court, racquetball court, jogging trail and golf course. Something that is very marketable.

This is where a tool like SpatialMatch comes into the picture.

With SpatialMatch, you can show the interconnectedness of any property with the amenities surrounding it. In a very close proximity, as low as half a mile, a few blocks. Marketing real estate using geography has never been easier.

Using the IDX functionality, a user can choose a home with their preferences — number of bedrooms, square footage, etc.

Then, with the home information still open on the screen, they can search through the enormous database of neighborhood information to see the amenities that surround the property: restaurants. hospitals, parks, schools. etc.

All this information is displayed on a map. With searches that can be saved and emailed.

And this powerful tool resides on your real estate website, not someone else’s. So you retain that prospect as your client. They won’t be lured somewhere else.

Tobler was born in 1930 and created a few geo-spatial tools himself. If he were active today, he  just might have created software like SpatialMatch.

For when it comes to marketing real estate, it’s smart to obey the law.

That’s Tobler’s law of geography and the importance of things close by.

To read about the “first law of geography” go here.

To read about this interesting cartographer-type fellow, click here.


For a demo on how to use SpatialMatch to market local properties, click here.

Applying Geospatial Information With Real Estate

Applying Geospatial Information With Real Estate Is One of the Top Tech Trends… And We’ve Got It

Remember all those years of geography you studied in grammar school and high school pouring over maps, globes and textbooks?

Those classes certainly instilled in students a fascination with the world and distant lands. But underneath all those discussions about the Himalayas, the Great Wall in China and Machu Picchu in Peru, there is an underlying lesson that is resurfacing:

Geography matters.

If you look at your smart phone or Google’s home page, you can see how technologists realize this as well.

Now it seems that most searches and information on your computer or your smart phone are somehow tied into location. Even social networking has a location element that lets you know where your friends are or where they’ve been.

It’s called geospatial visualization. And it’s going to be big in the next decade.

The famous consulting company, Deloitte, recently cited geospatial visualization as one of the top Tech Trends of 2012. These guys are smart, and they know how to see the writing on the wall before it’s even written.

Their article stated: “The human brain is naturally wired to process visual images by recognizing patterns, inferring relationships and discerning features. Analytic visualization connects these perceptual and cognitive strengths with modern statistical computing capabilities and can enable decision makers to pull significant results quickly out of tremendous volumes of complex and diverse data.”

Let me put this into layman’s terms for you – data integrated into a map is better for consumers.

And this is catching on big time.

It makes sense. With modern computing and the incredible capability of chips, processors and web connectivity, there’s a boatload of data that is available.

Take SpatialMatch for example. Our hyper-local database contains millions of home listings, homes not-for-sale, public records, 130,000 schools and 12 million businesses. An IDX database combined with lifestyle information to give home buyers everything they need in one place.

Throwing all that info at a home buyer on a web site would be like tossing a giant pie of pixels in their face. Yuck.

So we made it geospatial – enabling users to pick and choose what part of that database they wanted to show on a map. For every market in the US.

This location-based visualization is trending now and will probably be tied into just about everything that has to do with anything in the future. Embedding this capability on your real estate web site is going to give you a tremendous advantage in your local market.

Here’s are a few examples of how you can use it:

a)     Send screen shots to prospects – consumers are already attuned to this new trend in mapping, so it will immediate make sense to them and let them know you have the latest located-based technology.

b)     Market your site as geospatial based – looking for a unique selling proposition – here’s one.

c)     Go social with it – every time you point out something on Facebook or Twitter, use a link to your map from SpatialMatch.

This is a new reality folks. The amount of data that can be processed on the web today is astronomical. The key, as Deloitte points out, it’s not how much you have, it’s how you display it; how you tie it into a consumer’s location.

To read Deloitte’s report on Geospatial Visualization and other trends click here.

To see the SpatialMatch geospatial application for real estate sites, look here.

Lifestyle Search Engine

When Selling a Development With No Amenities, Turn to Our Lifestyle Search Engine

It makes sense that real estate would be booming in a city that never sleeps — NYC.

Believe it or not, some experts say those insane housing prices in New York City are a bargain.

Sure, they are high, but they are not hysterically high like in Tokyo or London or Paris.

There are other factors causing the boom — super low interest rates in the US, inquiries from overseas investors and a scramble by Wall Street wonders who now apparently have more faith in real estate than in the stocks they sell.

This has caused some interesting trends, including a rush to buy now before someone else grabs it and to buy pre-construction before it’s built.

But there’s another trend that caught our eye: don’t count on amenities. Builders are scaling back on rooftop pools, bars, gyms, etc.  In this economy, high-rises are getting mean and lean. Extravagance went out the window years ago.

Now some real estate professionals will definitely see this as a downer. There’s no sizzle on this steak. No fun in the sun.

“Buyers today are more practical and are looking for value,” said Stephen Kliegerman, with Halstead Property Development Marketing.

But who wants to sell nothing more than a giant steel and concrete box? A very expensive concrete box at that.

Savvy brokers and agents can turn this around with a tool like SpatialMatch, the lifestyle search engine combined with a robust IDX.

SpatialMatch has an enormous database of millions of businesses. You can designate any business in relation to distance away from any property. You can easily illustrate these businesses on a colorful map, surrounded by icons for Homes (IDX), Lifestyle, Value, Areas, Favorites, and Alerts.

So, Mr. Buyer likes to swim. With SpatialMatch’s lifestyle search engine, you find a pool so close to the property, he can practically walk there in his bathrobe.

Mrs. Buyer likes to go to the gym twice a week. Well, we don’t have a gym in the building. (That’s actually a plus, Mrs. Buyer, since you don’t have to pay for it in your common area fees for ALL the other days you and your fellow condo owners are not there.)

With SpatialMatch, you can show her a few quality gyms nearby. You can walk to them in your sneakers and start working out before you even break a sweat getting there.

(See our example of Fitness Centers in mid-Manhattan below).

You don’t have to be in NYC to provide this information to buyers. Or show sellers how you will use it to market their property. You can do it in Peoria as well.

You can make any property more desirable. You can add amenities to any location. With SpatialMatch, you can put that sizzle on any steak.

To read the article about the boom in NYC, click here.

To test drive the SpatialMatch lifestyle search engine in action, click here.


Market Real Estate

How to Market Real Estate With School Data

I was speaking with an acquaintance of mine the other day and was surprised to hear he recently moved to the other side of the country.

“Yea, we like the schools here better.  We were considering a private school where we lived before but thought it would smarter to just relocate.”

2,000 miles!

That’s quite a leap.

Now I know he didn’t just move 2,000 miles for the schools, but our conversation kept nagging at me and I would not be surprised if it was 80% of the reason why he hauled his wife and two kids more than halfway across the country.

Every Realtor knows schools are a big issue with home buyers. But in this increasingly competitive day and age, it’s no secret that issue is getting more intense.

So, what have you done to increase the intensity of school information you can provide to prospects? Do you know how to market real estate in relation to schools?

I looked at a few real estate sites, and yes, they had school-related information on their site. And that school information consisted of a list. School names and addresses.

A list? This is the era of the iPhone, Google and Facebook. A time when you can be sitting at a Starbucks with your smart phone and can access all the information in the world.

And some real estate web sites just post a list. That’s it.

There is a huge opportunity to market real estate that’s being missed here.

What if your website had this school information instead:

  • a map pointing out the location of schools, public and private, in relation to any property under consideration.
  • sliding distance circles allowing you to determine how far away each school is from a certain property.
  • data on the number of teachers.
  • the number of students.
  • enrollment of students per grade.
  • ratio of male/female students.
  • enrollment by ethnicity.
  • school lunch information.
  • school district boundaries.

And what if your site could provide this data in an interactive search engine?

Integrated with a robust IDX real estate system that lets you research homes along with this critical school information.

Where you could save and email the results.

SpatialMatch is a tool that provides an IDX and Lifestyle database that can be embedded directly onto your site. Your valuable prospects don’t need to go wandering on the web to find this information. You’ve got it.

And when you approach sellers, when you show them how you are going to market their properties, you can point out to them how you are going to position their listing as an ideal property in terms of addressing the educational needs of buyers. In terms of distance, public and private schools, detailed information about those schools, etc.

This is how you market real estate in today’s world.

This is how you educate home buyers and sellers on one of the most pressing concerns of the day.

See an example below of how schools can be indicated on a SpatialMatch search platform for any neighborhood.

For a demo or more information on how you can immediately add this enormous educational database to your site, call 858-224-3535 or click here.