Why We Sing About Being Home For The Holidays


With all the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, brokers, agents and anyone involved in the real estate business might pause for a moment to think about this happy thought.

All of these real estate professionals played an important role in helping people get into the homes they wanted, a place they love, a space where they can spend those precious holidays with their families.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a house, condo, duplex or townhouse. It’s a special place on the planet they can call their own. A shelter where people gather together as husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.

Maya Angelou said it best:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

In fact, the concept of “home” is so important, there are a number of songs that have been written about this subject.

After doing a little bit of research, we found a list of 100 songs that have the word “home” in the title, from “First Train Home” to “Hold On, We’re Coming Home.”

We’re not going to go through all of them here.

But here are several famous Christmas and holiday-related songs that focus on spending that magical time of year at home.

“Please Come Home For Christmas,” written by Charles Brown in 1960. This song was re-released by the Eagles in the 80s and became a big hit, twice.

“There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays,” sung by Perry Como and written by Al Stillman and Robert Allen in 1954

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby and written by Kim Gannon in 1943. Just about every major singer recorded their own version, from Sinatra to Elvis.

“Home (Another Christmas Day)” – Blake Shelton reworked the original lyrics written by Michael Buble in 2005 to include the holidays.

Even with all the showings, listings, networking, numbers, contracts and paperwork, we all know choosing a home is a very emotional experience.

It’s tough on Realtors too. Long hours. Lots of research. Contract negotiations. Plenty of ups and downs.

But when those families are finally in those homes, sitting around the dinner table, enjoying sentimental moments like this season, real estate professionals should take comfort in the fact that they helped make all this happen.

As Perry Como says:

“Oh’s there’s no place like home for the holidays

‘Cause no matter how far away you roam

If you want to be happy in a million ways

For the holidays – you can’t beat home sweet home!”

This December, Have a Happy Holiday In Your Home, Wherever You Are! (and that includes our data clients as well).

From the Staff at Home Junction


Neighborhood Amenities Map Shows More Ways A Home Is A Good Investment

neighborhood amenities map There’s more to a home than bedrooms and baths and a neighborhood amenities map can point out the extra value.

In every neighborhood, there are always at least a couple houses with bonus features that could be a great asset, but only if the value was uncovered correctly.

When a client is looking to invest in a property, their first instinct may be to look for the cheapest, or most basic house they can find in an area.

But an agent can use a neighborhood amenities map and local real estate data to show them sales and pricing trends which reflect the fact that certain features just make better selling points.

Here are some examples.

Neighborhood amenities map adds extra value

A new home owner who works in town may not care about commuting to a big metro area. But a potential buyer later on sure might.

More and more people, especially Millennials, are seeking employment in urban areas. Commuting will be a big factor for them.

Looking for a home that is within a short driving distance to the major city areas, or close to public transit can turn into major dollars later.

With your local real estate data tools and geocoded map software, show your client the difference in sale prices between a house near the city or bus stop, and a house further out of the way or out in the suburbs.

Real estate market data points out position in marketplace

A single person might not need a 2,000 square foot home, or a statuesque multi-story home. Not only would it be too much extra space, but the excess number of rooms also requires heating, cooling, maintenance, and dusting.

However, your real estate data tools will uncover the number of families moving into the neighborhood who would be excited to find a great property with enough room to grow.

Depending on where you are, you may also be able to show a growing population of retiring “baby boomers” who will pay top dollar for a single-story house that they can get around easily. Check the neighborhood demographics. Perhaps this is an area that attracts older residents.

Middle-aged home buyers might also be more comfortable knowing there are people their own age in the community.

A home value tool can also point out how a home is positioned in the market in terms of Size, Age, Price per Square Foot and Price. Maybe an owner with a big home that is relatively new should be looking at asking for a higher price. Words every seller loves to hear.

School data can do the selling for you

It would be impossible to talk about features that make good real estate investments without mentioning highly-rated schools.

Even if the buyers don’t have school age children, there are advantages to showing them the advantages of being located near a top-notch school.

Properties in the best school zones are hot commodities, as research shows parents moving into the area will pay top dollar to get their kids near their best chance at a good education.

Your local real estate boundary tools will show those important school attendance zones pointing out the schools that children will be attending.

Perhaps the school is average. It’s always possible with a change in principals or other personnel that it could be a hot school in the future.

Either way, being located near a school is huge. Parents will pay as much as 20% more to be located near one.

Point them out on your neighborhood amenities map.

Opportunities near desirable neighborhoods

While some buyers  may automatically pass up listings in a hot neighborhood due to pricing, your real estate data tools may be able to show a property in the area nearby that needs some work – and provide an estimate of how a renovated home may reach the price range of other homes and be a nice increase in value.

Some buyers who are looking in the trendier neighborhoods aren’t the DIY type, leaving a potential gold mine sitting on the market waiting for a handy home owner to see all of its possibilities.

According to some, building unique features into a home isn’t a great idea because not everyone will be interested in a home theater, six-car garage, pool, or pizza oven.

However, your real estate data tools will show the higher price range of homes with a little something extra. An investor, who is willing to wait a little longer for the perfect buyer to fall in love, could potentially see a big profit!

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to good neighborhoods, good schools, and desirable home amenities.

But with your neighborhood amenities map and real estate market data, you can point out some very appealing opportunities to potential buyers.



Home Sales Data By Zip Code Can Act As A Mental Trigger With Home Shoppers And Sellers


home sales data by zip code

Homes sales data by zip code can provide brokers and agents with information that can be just the spark to get a potential home buyer or seller to act.

As every agent knows, buying or selling a home is a major, mind-wrenching decision for the average person.

Their faculties get pulled in all directions by national news, emotions, uncertainty, input from family members and a number of other persuasive factors.

With all that noise going through their heads, real hyper-local market data can bring them back to earth and give them a solid overview of properties in their town.

Part of that package is Home Sales Data by Zip Code, even down to the Neighborhood Level, that can really help consumers feel confident in their choices.

Because those facts have impact.

Home Sales Data by Zip Code can create impetus

Marketers have known for years there are certain psychological behaviors that can be prompted by outside stimuli, or what they refer to as “triggers.”

A simple example would be someone who is hungry and driving down the road when they see a McDonald’s truck drive by with a picture of a Big Mac on the side. That image might trigger them to pull into the next McDonald’s they see.

That’s an easy example. But here are a few more sophisticated triggers and how using home sales data by zip code and neighborhoods can get people to purchase something a little big larger than a hamburger.

Take the concept called “Fear of Losing Out.”

Humans are basically hard-wired for “loss aversion.” We are more afraid of losing something rather than taking an risk and benefiting from a potential gain. This is why many people, especially young people, tend to under-invest because they are afraid of losing what they have.

Conversely, people also are concerned about missing out on something beneficial as well.

Say for example you provide home sales data by zip code on your website. The agent can send updates to potential buyers letting them know that home sales are increasing in a particular neighborhood they are interested in.

If they really want to be in that neighborhood, perhaps its time to get serious about making an offer. All the available inventory will soon be gone. In other words, they will miss out.

For home owners who are thinking about selling, when they see real estate market data showing how many of their neighbors are selling their homes, that might prompt them to finally give you that listing.

If Neighbor Jane just sold her home for a nice price, Home Owner Joe certainly doesn’t want to miss out on that heated demand for homes on his street.

Many agents do this now with letters. However, what about sending out graphs, charts and maps showing a bunch of neighbors who have just sold their homes in the area, along with charts showing a spike in home sales.

Geocodes can point out amenities next to listings

An agent can also use local amenities in regard to the concept of missing out.

For example, use geocodes, the location software that integrates a map with MLS listings. With that powerful tool an agent can point out how a home has just become available across the street from a:

a) beautiful Park

b) Whole Foods Store

c) popular Golf Course.

If the potential buyer doesn’t grab that home right away, someone else will.

The same effect can be created when you use home sales data by zip code and neighborhoods to point out trends in prices.

Displaying pricing data in a visual chart is a compelling way to accomplish this.

Visual images are effective. They get right to the point. All a home shopper or seller has to see is a trend line indicating prices are steadily rising in that neighborhood and they get the point.

Time to buy/sell.

For the home shopper, they could miss out on lower prices today.

For the home seller, they could miss out on getting that high price for their property today.

Fear of missing out is a very potent persuader.

The power of other people

Another convincing trigger is the concept of “social proof.”

This is where people make decisions based on what other people are doing.

If a bunch of consumers are buying X product and then telling their friends about it, it must be a good product. If a local restaurant is always packed, consumers assume this must be a great place to eat. If readers see a museum has received a ton of positive reviews on Yelp, then that must be a quality place to visit.

An agent can use home sales data by zip code and neighborhoods for this technique as well.

With home sales and price trends the social proof is very obvious. (But it still might be smart to point this out to a prospect so it resonates with them).

If home sales in a particular neighborhood are trending upward, that’s obviously proof that other consumers out there see the value of buying there.

We’re not talking about the latest Air Jordan sneakers either.

These consumers have obviously made a HUGE commitment by putting down a deposit of thousands of dollars and obtaining a mortgage for hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s certainly proof.

Obviously, the same effect applies to trends in home prices.

If their fellow home shoppers are willing to pay higher prices for homes in one neighborhood, other home shoppers are going to pay attention.

Sellers too.

Hyper-local data shows the true the agent with local knowledge

Another benefit to agents from providing all that home sales data by zip code, etc. would be potential testimonials.

When you sit down with a home shopper and show them in-depth, hyper-local market data, they are going to be impressed.

After they make the decision to purchase and move into the home, ask them for that testimonial. (And referrals).

Same with a listing presentation. When a home owner sees you used your real estate market data to help them understand market conditions and price their home correctly, they will be appreciative. Get that testimonial.

There’s your social proof. Rather than just hearing an agent tell them how great they are, when future home buyers and sellers see testimonials from other consumers, that’s also convincing.

Agents all know the value of referrals.

Adding this home sales data by zip code is just one more factor that can help paint that picture in the mind of shoppers and sellers that this agent is really on the ball.

Consumers today are very savvy. They can find answers to their questions with a few clicks. Hype doesn’t cut it.

But real facts do.

We’re obviously not suggesting you use the concept of “fear of losing out” to scare a shopper into buying a home or an owner to list.

Or to aggressively push a consumer into taking action because all these other consumers are making moves.

If you have the right tools, such as multiple segments of real estate market data, those triggers will happen on their own.

That’s human nature. You are just supplying  the right context for these mental triggers to go into effect.

Bottom line, let home sales data by zip code and neighborhood do the persuading for you.



Property Data API Can Address The Renting Is Better Than Buying Mindset

housing data apiA Property Data API is a powerful tool for clearing up misconceptions formed by information based on national markets and headlines.

Homes prices are going up, people are worrying about a correction and that is sending many people to the rental office.

There has been some buzz in the real estate world about a recent Freddie Mac survey, which showed that 78% of respondents believe that renting is a more affordable housing option than buying.

Additionally, in a 4% increase since the beginning of the year, 58% of renters who responded indicated that they have no plans to purchase a house.

While this information could certainly indicate a trend that is a bit disturbing to a real estate agent, there’s a little more to the situation than a headline can convey.

And as we know, markets differ. What’s taking place in Des Moines is not necessarily the same as Fort Lauderdale. And certainly no market is like San Francisco.

That’s why a Property Data API is a powerful tool to counter the rental mentality.

There are effective ways to use this tool to talk to clients about their options.

After the recession, we saw a huge increase in the demand for rental housing. Young people faced difficulties purchasing property due to low wages and tight credit. Families lost their houses due to foreclosure.

Rent prices soared in many areas throughout the country. For-sale home pricing dropped dramatically.

A large number of people, especially Millennials, lived through that time. Understandably, it might be making them skittish today as home prices shoot upward again.

Home purchase prices nationally are rising quicker than both wages and inflation. This trend, combined with higher mortgage rates, is currently making it a bit more expensive for individuals to purchase new homes and can be making many clients shy away from getting out of a rental situation.

But Freddie Mac president David Brickman has stated that while buying is difficult for many right now, even renting is pretty hard to afford these days.

Property Data API supplies facts about local markets

What’s a person to do?

First of all, it would be helpful for an agent to supply consumers with facts. The key here is local facts. Hyper-local facts.

And the key to local facts, is to have home sales data for individual markets, not only home sale values by zip code, but neighborhoods and subdivisions as well.

For example, a potential home buyer might be worried about buying a home in a certain area.

With your Property Data API, you can show that buyer a few local facts.

Perhaps home sales are rising. That’s an indication that other people are still buying in that neighborhood.

Social proof is a powerful persuader.

Showing rising home sales in a market is about the best testimonial you can get.  Better than word of mouth. Call it “Word of Wallet.” That data shows people are still plunking down money to purchase a home.

Conversely, if home sales are flat, then perhaps, the buyer can see that in this particular neighborhood, they can still find a decent home at a decent price.

Run a comparison on monthly mortgage payments compared to monthly rental payments and perhaps that consumer will be convinced they would rather own their home place instead.

Same goes for prices. With a Property Data API an agent can show trends in home prices.

If prices are going up, perhaps that’s an indication that a consumer better make a move sooner than later. If that trend continues, that home should be worth more in the future.

Again, if in that particular market prices are flat, then the home buyer can see there is still an opportunity to get into a home without paying an inflated price.

Each market will be different. Each market will have its own characteristics.

Show how amenities add value

With other data an agent can also point out other characteristics that support buying that particular home as a sound investment decision.

Use school data to show how great the schools are down the street.

Add a geo-coded plug-in to integrate listings with points of interest. Maybe a property is close to a park, which should give it a higher value, say 10% to 20%, than other properties.

Is a Whole Foods going up in the area? Also point that out with your Property Data API. That’s a sure sign that someone believes this is an up and coming area.

There are many programs in existence to help buyers, especially first-time buyers, find a path to home ownership. Not everyone is aware of things like FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans.

In addition to these programs offered by the federal government, potential buyers should also be encouraged to do some research into their local city or state programs for housing grants and first-time-buyer programs.

While home ownership does come with some extra work and potential costs compared to renting, point out how that owner will be in possession of a valuable asset which can make a difference in their future.

For example, adding upgrades and improvements can help owners sell later at a profit.

The best way that you can help potential buyers make this decision is to use your local real estate data tools to show property values and house prices in their markets, so they can make an informed decision based on local conditions.

And how they can use those monthly payments toward building owner’s equity rather than filling the landlord’s pockets.

Real estate agents should also take actions to get renters signing up for their online mailing lists. This is a great opportunity to provide them with local market data each week, or month, allowing a renter to jump on a property when they feel comfortable – either when prices stabilize or start to rise and a renter knows they must make a decision.

Buying a home is a scary proposition for many people. Certainly for first-time buyers. But also for veteran home owners as well.

But 2018 is not 2008. Lessons were learned. Safeguards put in place. People can no longer purchase a home with no down payment, no reported income and interest only loans.

A Property Data API, with real estate market data down to the neighborhood level, can present a clearer, rational picture for a specific area a person is considering…and overcome any sort of headline-grabbing hysteria presented on a national level.