Real Estate Walkability Score

The Benefits of Providing Real Estate Walkability Score Data and Tools to Millennials

Marketing experts will tell you that certain words have incredible power. The word “free” or “guaranteed” for example. When marketing to Millennials, real estate brokers and agents would be smart to pay attention to the word “walkability.”

It would also be smart to have real estate data to point out the “walkability” of the properties they are selling. Because here’s the reality: Every generation is different. Some generations loved cars. A car was not always within reach for Americans. Certainly not as many as we have now where mom, dad, son and daughter each own an automobile.

The Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, is the next group coming into money and power after Gen X. But they care a lot less about having a fancy car or watching slick car commercials. They’re sick of cars and driving. They’ve seen their parents slog it out in traffic driving from the suburbs to the cities for work and to the malls for just about everything else.

They don’t want to drive. They want to walk. Or bicycle.

According to an extensive poll of 3,000 Millennials conducted by American Strategies and Meyers Research for the National Association of Realtors, here are some important statistics:

– 79% of Millennials want to live in a home that is within easy walking distance of community amenities.

– 85% want to live in a community with sidewalks.

– 48% said they would be okay with smaller yards as long as they could walk to stores, restaurants and other amenities.

– 25% said they would prefer living in an attached home if the walkability of the area was better.

Small yards. Attached homes. Bike lanes. The whole concept of mom and dad’s big suburban home with the huge yard is going right out the window.

So, what can real estate professionals do to promote the “walkability” of a property?

Well, you can tell people how great a particular property is in regards to walking and biking, or you can provide a wealth of data to show them. Which do you think is more convincing? Especially to the generation that was raised on data and are better at accessing information with their fingers than any other generation in history.

What a broker or agent needs is solid hyper-local data. After all, they not only sell homes, they sell neighborhoods and communities as well.

Companies such as Home Junction specialize in providing customized, hyper-local community data for individual brokers and agents.

Sure, an agent can provide access to MLS listings on their website. But as we can see, that is no longer enough.

With Home Junction, for example, you can show all the local schools in the area. The distance each school is located from a particular property. You can also show local businesses, restaurants, golf courses and so much more.

Brokers and agents have another option that goes one step further. With Home Junction’s  SpatialMatch application, they can also provide a map that can be embedded on their real estate website. Not only does the map show MLS listings and where they are located, but it also shows the location of businesses surrounding any property and the distances.

So, if Yvonne is into yoga, here’s the walking or biking distance to the nearest yoga studio from this particular property.

If Gregory is into sushi, here’s the walking or biking distance to the nearest sushi restaurant.

With this type of data on your site, you can walk the talk.

And “walkability” is what Millennials want to hear when it comes to real estate. So provide that data for them and they will step right into a contract to purchase a home.

Or conversely, show a seller how you are adapting to this new market trend with a website filled with “walkability” tools and data that appeals to Millennials.

To find out how you can make your website more walker and bicyclist friendly, contact Home Junction here.

Read the NAR study on Millennials and walkability here.

Mobile-Friendly

Google Mobile-Friendly Requirements For WordPress Real Estate Websites

As a real estate professional you may have heard about Google’s “Mobilegeddon” event earlier this year. The update to their ranking algorithms took place on April 21 2015, and leading up to that date, Google essentially told all website owners your site had better be “mobile-friendly” or you are going to lose rankings.

But the story doesn’t end there.

And this is why a WordPress real estate website is the best when it comes to “responsive” web platforms that can adapt to all sorts of configurations whether on a desktop, laptop or mobile phone.

Google is smart. They noticed that use of mobile for search is booming. They also noticed that most mobile versions of website were horrible. They were “unresponsive.” They didn’t load quickly, the scrolling was horrible and you couldn’t navigate around the pages.

So Google put the hammer down and announced their April deadline. Everybody scrambled to make sure their site was mobile ready. Google made it easy. They did not create a grading system for various degrees of responsiveness say from Highly mobile-friendly to Low. It was just basically a Pass/Fail.

This meant your site had to have the basics for mobile or you would drop way down in the rankings.

“Mobilegeddon” came and went for businesses including real estate agents and brokers. About 5% of sites improved. Sites either got penalized or they survived.

But that’s the key point. Who wants to be a real estate agent or brokers who just survives?

There’s a hidden message in Google’s mobile initiative. That message is, “Your site had better be great at mobile responsiveness because more and more people are using their mobile devices to search the web.”

Sure, many sites might have passed the basic mobile-friendly test. But are they really functioning as well as they could be on cell phones? Google has also said they are going to continue to tweak their formula for mobile rankings. Is your site ready for more crackdowns by Google?

There’s no doubt mobile is taking over. Tablets are considered mobile devices and by now, just about every American owns one.

Apple and other smartphone manufacturers are making their mobile phone screens larger. If you don’t have a tablet, then chances are you have a mobile phone with a pretty darn big screen.

Many people adjusted their sites to meet Google’s basic requirements. But the truth is, most sites still offer a horrible mobile experience. Pages don’t adjust correctly. Pop ups block the screen. Half an element shows up. You can’t scroll properly. Elements and content move all over the screen like jackrabbits.

Consumers are saying they still find mobile sites annoying. You think Google is listening? You bet they are.

A WordPress real estate website can take care of many of these problems because this web design software is one of the most responsive platforms out there. That’s why most businesses use it.

And here’s why you should consider switching NOW to a WordPress real estate website. The numbers tell the real story.

– 80% of consumers use their mobile phone for search, meaning they are going to search for real estate on their phone. Is your site 100% ready? You don’t want to be 50% ready when someone is searching for a $500,000 house. If they have difficulty, they will leave and go to a competitor.

– 25% of Americans only use a mobile device. They had a desktop once, don’t need it any more. Can you afford to miss 25% of a market?

– 80% of smart phone users say they want sites to be mobile-optimized. If they are not, then good bye.

–  50% of all searches occur on a mobile device. Can you afford to have 50% of potential customers suffer through a bad/poor experience on the mobile version of your website? Can you afford to have low rankings because your site is not responsive?

Here’s an observation you know is true: Most people use a PC during the day but a tablet at night.

If a woman is looking for a home, and she is busy at work all day, she is going to be looking at real estate web sites at night. On her tablet. Is your website 100% tablet-friendly for this night-time consumer?

Choose a “Responsive” WordPress Real Estate Website

That’s the true message of “Mobilegeddon.”

You need to shine on a mobile device. There are companies such as Home Junction that design websites for real estate companies. They know the best platform to use for mobile (and basically the Internet in general) is WordPress. That’s the only platform they use.

Because getting mobile-friendly is a very, very complicated endeavor.

You might look at your site on your mobile phone and think, “Looks good to me.”

But think about your customers and the enormous number of options out there. They are on all sorts of mobile devices – it could be an Apple 6 Plus, an HTC EVO, a Samsung, a mini-tablet, a large tablet.

There is no real standard in sizes for these devices. Your site must work well on ALL OF THEM or you could be missing out on that customer who is looking for that $500,000 home.

A WordPress real estate website is the simple solution. That is why Word Press is the most popular web platform in the world.

The world has gone mobile. You need to be there with them. Not barely. But in a huge way. Stop looking at your site on your laptop, start looking at it on a mobile device. Or a friend’s mobile device.

That’s where your customers are looking, and that’s where your sales are going to come from.

Attract home sellers as well. With a WordPress real estate website, you can show sellers how your site is responsive while some of your competitors’ sites are not.

Google just changed their logo. Google  just changed their corporate structure. Google is a gazillion dollar company. It would be smart to follow their lead when it comes to mobile.

The simple solution is to switch to a WordPress real estate website and work with a company experienced in making sure your WordPress site is using all the mobile capabilities it was designed to use. That’s where Home Junction comes in.