When brokers and agents figure their budgets for technology, are they dedicating anything to one of the most important tools they can use – a real estate data API.
“A what?” some agents might ask.
Let’s face it. This is the technological age. Yet, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors in 2012 on what people spend on technology, the investment seems relatively minor.
The survey found on average, agents spent $848 in the last 12 months on technology. Sounds somewhat impressive. But that doesn’t even cover the cost of the new iPhone.
Brokers spent $1,410. Not much more. That’s maybe two laptops.
Again, this is the tech age. A time of incredible advances in how agents can reach out to consumers – smartphones, tablets, websites, email, social media.
Used to be an agent made a point every few years to spend money on a nice car to drive prospects around.
Now it’s a smartphone or a tablet.
And, unfortunately, a person needs to keep those devices up-to-date.
Every year, new gizmos and gadgets are introduced with faster web access, better screen resolution, incredible photographic capabilities and a new slew of bells and whistles.
All the features you believe make you a better real estate agent. (And come on. Admit it. Most of the time your current device is operating just fine. But you just have to have that new Google Pixel with the cool portrait mode like they show on TV).
Include real estate data API on tech wish list
These new inventions are wonderful.
But every broker and agent should be asking themselves this question as well: What about the content you are displaying and promoting on these devices?
What are you investing in that?
How are you using the latest technology to upgrade information on your website?
What are you doing, tech-wise, to improve the way you appear as a resource to home buyers and sellers?
Because the other amazing technology that’s related to the real estate business is the aggregation of hyper-local information.
Remember the days when it took five IBM computers to hold one gigabyte of data?
With advances in big data technology, a single agent is now able to tap into a gigantic warehouse of terabytes of hyper-local data about their market area.
And display this incredible wealth of information on their website with a simple real estate data API (Applied Programming Interface).
The great thing is, companies such as Home Junction, do the coding to develop a real estate market API. Not the brokers or agents.
All they have to do is to integrate this coding into their website.
And then the magic begins.
A huge database of relevant info for home buyers
That single agent can offer:
- School information such as student/teacher ratios and demographics of the student body
- Recent property sales data – including trend charts
- Boundary information – showing school attendance zones, city and county borders (which is critical for taxes) etc.
- Local business information – integrated with geo-spatial data showing the distance of these businesses from certain properties
- Demographics – age, education, income
- Crime statistics
- and more.
That data can be parsed by counties, cities, zip codes and even down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.
So, with your new devices, you can send out a quick note on Twitter from your Samsung Galaxy 9. Or add a post on Facebook while sitting on your couch with your iPad.
But according to the same survey, 9 out of 10 real estate agents are also doing the same thing.
The big question is, what unique and informative item are you posting on social media?
Again, investing in information, like a real estate market API, has a huge payoff.
Think of the power of sending out a post announcing the latest data on property sales in the county. Or in a neighborhood you happen to be farming.
Think of the power of sending out a link with a chart on local home pricing trends.
Same goes with email.
Brokers and agents go through a lot if trouble enticing consumers to sign up for email, knowing some of them will eventually turn into buyers or sellers.
But what are you going to send them via email to catch their attention?
With a real estate market data API, you have a wealth of ideas to draw upon for social media posts and email blasts.
What you don’t want to do, is point out valuable real estate market data that sends a prospect to somebody’s else’s website, even if it is not an agent.
Put that information on your own website with your own real estate data API.
Sure, investing in the latest shiny new device is practical, and frankly, exciting.
But be sure to set aside a budget to upgrade your position as a resource for real estate market data.
Because in that same survey, brokers and agents noted they “Value tools that make them look technologically savvy to their clients.”
Consumers don’t care about how you reach them. They care about what you are providing for them.
When a mother seeks information about the latest schools her children will attend, she doesn’t give a hoot if you provide that data from an iPad or an Android. She just wants the data.
So what’s your investment in big data technology?
Now is the point in time to add a real estate market API to your technology budget.