Real Estate Plugins Offer A Quick Way To Upgrade A Website

real estate plugins

When a broker needs to update their website quickly and boost their agents’ marketing efforts, Real Estate Plugins from a reputable provider can help them make a quantum leap.

Real estate plugins are just what they sound like. Something you can plug into your website.

A plugin is basically a few snippets of code. Code that can be added to any page.

By adding real estate plugins, a broker can instantly make a massive improvement that their team will love.

That’s the easy part.

But finding the right plugins can be trying.

Real estate plugins from the right provider

Because here’s the challenge. On WordPress, the most popular Content Management Platform in the world, there are 30,000 plugins. Obviously, not all of them are specifically coded for real estate.

But many of them could apply to a real estate website such as lead generation forms, mapping tools or photo galleries.

We are going to make this process of finding the right real estate plugins from the right source very, very easy.

Talk to the experts at Home Junction.

The founders of Home Junction have been involved in real estate technology for more than a combined 50 years.

They know the business. They know the concerns of brokers and agents.

What’s also very important, the company specializes in real estate technology. (Unlike other companies that perhaps create dozens of plugins for every industry from chiropractors to insurance salesmen).

Because here’s a key issue. You not only want a plugin that is trouble-free, you also want real estate plugins that are continually upgraded and improved.

The web changes quickly. Software on the web has to keep up. That is one reason why even WordPress, for example, regularly offers upgrades.

But let’s get back to what you can do with those plugins.

Home Junction real estate data plugins

Take the suite of real estate plugins from Home Junction.

IDX – need a better way to tap into that MLS database? Consider an IDX from Home Junction. Our customers constantly rave about the efficiency and the speed of our IDX software. In fact, dashCAMm a company that pulls MLS data into a simple CMA, uses our IDX.

One reason – not all MLS structures and policies are the same. Not only between cities. There could be several different MLSs within a city. All with different formats and requirements.

Recent Sales Data – as you know, this information is a must for every broker. Recent Sales Data including charts showing the direction of any given market adds a whole level of information to any real estate website. Plus, this information is a great draw for email campaigns and social media posts.

Home Values – everybody knows that one way the mega-site that begins with a “Z” broke through to become a leading destination site for buyers and sellers – their home estimation tool. Well, guess what, that technology can now be provided right off the shelf by national data aggregators such as Home Junction. Add a few lines of code to your website, and you are able to provide home value estimates to consumers. Everybody who owns a home wants to know the answer to this question, “What is my home worth?”

Providing this tool creates tremendous branding and lead generation opportunities. People trust their local brokers in their neighborhoods more than some far away mega-portal. Now offer the same tools so local residents can find all their answers from a local resource.

Geo-Farms – as we all know, all business is local. Make that hyper-local. Brokers need hyper-local information by neighborhood, not just city or zip code, to truly establish their firm as the local resource. Agents will appreciate that hyper-local data for the specific neighborhoods they are farming. Brokers will truly empower their team members with this data.

New Homes – a big percentage of any home buying segment out there is willing to look at new homes as well as existing properties. You don’t want them going off and finding these new homes on their own. Provide that information for home buyers as well and offer to help them.

Pocket Listings – this is another important segment of any market. Offer a section on your website with this handy plugin.

As we all know, things move fast today. One year we’re talking about hybrid cars, the next it’s electric cars and now cars that drive themselves.

Same with real estate tools.

Savvy brokers can see there are ways to adapt technology quickly such as installing real estate plugins to keep their websites upgraded and stay ahead of the rest of the pack in their markets.



How Timing And Real Estate Market Data Can Enhance Email Campaigns

real estate market data for emails

There are four major components for creating a successful email campaign and Real Estate Market Data is definitely one strategy brokers and agents should have in their marketing toolbox.

Despite all the innovations we’ve seen, Email Marketing is one aspect of the Internet that has survived over the years starting from the early days of AOL discs and dial-up modems.

You can’t beat the fact that you can send a letter instantly, for free, to a large number of people.

However, there’s a problem. Everybody else in the universe loves this tool too.

Therefore, consumer inboxes are continually jammed with incoming emails. Some they signed up for. Others are sent by nefarious means (spam).

When it comes to email marketing, an agent can’t be lackadaisical. They need to use every advantage they can use to make their email stand out above the clutter.

The basics of successful emails

There are four very important components.

Those components are: Subject Line, Content, Segmentation and Time of Delivery.

Let’s start with Time of Delivery.

The great benefit of email campaigns is measurability. There is a ton of data than can be gleaned every time an email is sent out.

How many people opened the email?

How many people clicked on links on the email?

There is also another data point that experts monitor – best times to send an email.

For example, Monday is not a good time to launch an email campaign for business. People are busy on Mondays.

They are tired after a long weekend. They don’t want to do much or they don’t have time to do much. Therefore, the odds of your email getting read are very low.

Experts say the best standard times are Tuesday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

But wait. Some studies conflict with that schedule.

For example, an Experian study discovered that many people like to open their emails late night. Probably quite a few check their email in bed, before they go to sleep. In their study, they found unique open rates averaged 21.7% from 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. (There were even a decent amount of open rates from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. Go figure. Night owls or insomniacs perhaps.)

What’s also interesting is that if the email is a strong one, the difference in open rates per day is not that different. Everybody says Monday is a bad day for emails. But one study revealed the difference between email open rates on a Monday is about 1% less than the average 19.9% of consumers who open their emails on a Tuesday. Saturday is 2% lower on average, but not super low.

Conversely, the study found Tuesday is not the best day for click through rates with links in an email. Surprisingly, that’s Friday with a 4.9% link click rate on average. (Perhaps because people are less busy and winding down at the end of the week).

Here’s the point. Do some experimenting. Most experts say Saturday and Sundays are not great days for email blasts (and it could be because many people want to send emails when their staff is at work during the week).

But, for people looking for homes and perhaps open houses, maybe those are the best days.

Another beautiful thing about email is that you can send the same email multiple times. Send it on a Wednesday in the morning and again later that night. (Most email platforms have a filter where you can just send the email to people who did not open the first email they received).

Try a Saturday morning. Or a Sunday morning when most Open Houses are held.

A study by Deloitte found 40% of consumers check their emails with 5 minutes of waking up. Before going to sleep, 30% check their emails.

Here’s a key point. According to a study by Experian, 54% of people check their email on their phones. Which begs the question: is your website truly mobile-ready? Do your pages resize and adjust correctly when transformed to a mobile device? Does the site load quickly? (A WordPress Real Estate Themed Website is one way to ensure this. We discussed this previously in earlier blogs).

This is where segmentation comes in. Certain groups, say people actively looking for a home, will naturally have higher email open rates than others. Another group, perhaps people who own waterfront homes for example, will be more likely to open emails if they pertain to waterfront homes. Therefore, it’s important to also tailor your message as specifically as you can to the type of audience you are reaching out to.

Do research for your particular niche, not only the real estate business but also for the markets you are farming – for example, golf course communities or investment properties.

Ask other agents in other towns in similar niches what works for them.

Real estate market data provides subject matter

The next key factor is the Subject line. This is a big one.

A subject line is a like a digital billboard. A person’s eyeball can scan down through a list of email subject lines probably faster than a car doing 80 mph on the highway.

An agent has to present some attention-grabbing phrase in the subject line to make it through the clutter.
This is where real estate market data can be super-valuable.

With real estate market data on your website you have powerful content that home owners love to read.

  • Home pricing trends
  • Number of homes sold
  • Home value estimates (A Home Value Estimator tool is now available to local agents from data aggregators such as Home Junction and gives them the ability to compete for leads with the big mega-real estate portals).

Note: Standard tips say a subject line performs best when it’s a “how to,” a “list” or a “question.” Also, keep the subject line and email text informal. People would rather get a friendly email than a salesy one.

As an agent you want to establish a friendly, consultative-type relationship with a prospect, not one like a used-car salesman.

Promote the fact that you have this valuable real estate market data in your subject line. For example, an agent might say:

“Check out the Top 5 fastest selling neighborhoods in your area”

“How to determine if now is a good time to sell your property”

And the ever popular, “What your home is worth? Get a quick estimate here”

Everybody wants to know estimates of what their home is currently worth.

What a great way to stir up the interest of homeowners and perhaps uncover any who are planning to list their properties in the near future.

Provide a strong incentive to visit your website

Another important part of the email equation is content.

Your email might have a few different goals.

  • Brand name recognition
  • Lead generation
  • Traffic to your website

A strong subject line promoting your content will entice prospects to open your email.

But you want them to take action when they read that email.

It would be great if they called.

Or emailed you back.

Or visited your website (where there is more opportunity for them to learn about you, check out listings, use resources on your website and hopefully call or fill out a lead contact form.)

One way to achieve this is to offer compelling real estate market data as content.

Again, let consumers know:

“If you want to see Property Sales Trends in your neighborhood, click here.”

Or, “For a chart on the latest direction of Home Prices, click here.”

Consumers today are very, very busy.

They are also inundated with email.

When they click open your mail, it’s critical they have a satisfying experience.

Otherwise, they won’t keep opening those emails. And then you might lose them.

Either to another agent or perhaps one of the big real estate mega-portals.

Here’s the way to combat this. Everybody loves data.

And they are going to love the agent who is a reliable source of data for them.

Email is incredible. It’s free. It’s fast. It’s a proven marketing tool.

But don’t take it for granted.

Experiment with sending times. Monitor the open and the click-through rates. Break your target audience into segments.

When you send out those emails, make sure they are packed with real estate facts, not fluff.

Feature the most appealing, helpful content you can create, from the most reliable sources you can find.

Real estate market data from Home Junction is one of those sources. (And Home Junction can also help you with the design of your website to optimize lead generation).


How A Property API Helps Agents Establish Trust With Out-of-Town And Foreign Buyers

property API

A Property API is an important tool every agent needs if they truly want to attract the out-of-town buyer by building pages aimed directly at meeting their specific needs.

And out-of-town-buyers could be a hot commodity in your market.

After all, American real estate is still recognized as one of the BEST investments in the world.

Let’s take Florida as an example.

More than 20%, that’s 1 in 5, real estate buyers from 2009 to 2017 in Florida were foreign. Not just from another state, but another country.

Last year, from August 2017 to July 2018, foreigners purchased $8.7 billion worth of property. That’s about double what they spent in 2010.

We also know that foreign buyers are acquiring properties in places like New York, New Jersey. Texas and California.

That certainly should give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the value of real estate in America. You probably won’t find too many other counties with that level volume of interest in real estate.

That’s just buyers from other countries.

Homebuyers are on the move

What about other states?

Well, as you know, things change. Demographic groups, such as Baby Boomers, get older or change preferences.

In addition, governments make changes. Changes that have huge impacts. Take taxes for example. A flood of residents in places such as New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois are leaving their states to seek places with lower taxes, such as Florida, where the state income tax is $0.

From July 2017 to July 2018, Florida had the biggest gain in population while you guessed it, New York had the largest loss.

Bottom line. There are quite a few people from outside your town who may be looking to buy homes in your town and as an agent, you certainly want to generate leads from this group.

Here are some ideas.

For one, create a page specifically for out-of-town buyers and one for foreign buyers.

One of the MOST IMPORTANT needs of these groups is information. Local residents know about whether the local real estate market is hot for example, or they might know about the schools, transportation hubs, demographics or even the cost to live there.

But for out-of-town buyers and especially out-of-country buyers, just assume they know very little about the town.

So create pages which offer basic information about the neighborhoods your are farming.

The history. Population. Economy. Climate. Transportation. Amenities. Landmarks. Points of Interest, etc.

Provide big, beautiful photos of the downtown, malls, parks, lakes, schools, museums, etc. (If you have a WordPress Real Estate Theme website, this would be very easy to do).

Get them excited about moving to your market.

Property API provides the facts out-of-town buyers crave

Then address their concerns about investing in a property.

That’s where a Property API (Application Programming Interface) can be super valuable.

After all, these people need more than flowery descriptions and nice images of the local botanical gardens.

They want hard facts.

With a Property API, an agent can add a few snippets of code to any page and that API will pull in hyper-local data from national resources such as Home Junction.

The real estate data API can show for example:

Trends in Home Sales – what is the pace of home sales? Are they selling rapidly? Is it time to jump in? Or perhaps, are certain markets becoming too hot.

Trends in Prices – again, where are prices heading? Are they moving upward and if people want to move, they should act now? Or is there a lull in price escalation, another signal that now might be a time to buy while prices are flat.

Boundaries – where is the property located? Within city limits where taxes are higher?

School Boundaries – this is super-important, not just to families, but anybody who owns a home. Where are the attendance zones? These zones do change. They are different for elementary, middle and high schools. What about private schools as well?

Neighborhood Demographics – who lives in these neighborhoods? Perhaps a couple that is retiring wants to live in an area where the residents skew older in age. Very important data.

Cost-of-Living Indices – some places are not only expensive when it comes to real estate, but also for other items such as food, clothing or transportation. Display that information on your website.

Crime Ratings – always a concern for buyers.

And more.

Now, here’s where an agent can really show their worth.

Not only can an agent display real estate data by zip code, but with data aggregators such as Home Junction, they can use a Property API to show data for specific neighborhoods or subdivisions.

So maybe home prices are relatively high in ABC Oaks, but the latest charts reveal that prices are lower in XYZ Acres, which is located right next door.

Place all of these charts on an out-of-town page. Or put links for specific neighborhoods on those pages so out-of-town buyers can review them.

Use data API to generate leads and offer regular market updates

Secondly, create a big, highly visible lead form on that page offering to continually send those prospects updates on the market.

That will keep you at the top of their minds when considering property in that area.

And here’s one, somewhat subliminal benefit, of using a Property API to display all of this data.

Because chances are these out-of-town buyers and especially out-of-country buyers, don’t know you personally. In fact, they probably don’t know any local real estate agents.

By providing these hard facts, not fluff, you are also creating a sense of TRUST with them. Imagine how important that is for someone hundreds of miles or even thousands of miles away.

These non-local buyers don’t know people in the community. They probably don’t have anybody to refer agents to them. For the most part, many of them might be flying blind.

In addition, many out-of-town transactions tend to be made quickly, especially if someone is relocating because of a change in employment.

Or perhaps, the prospect is a seller. One of their parents lived in the home and passed away. They need to sell the home, and probably as soon as possible.

TRUST will be a very, very big factor with all of them. Offering valuable data helps to build relationships.

Now, some of this information can be found by searching general information websites. But the agent who has a Property Data API embedded directly on their own website, will MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION in the eyes of prospects. That agent can become that point of reference for distant clients.

People trust facts. They trust data. And they will trust the agent who has an accurate and current Property API that provides them with that hyper-local real estate market data.




Get The Best Real Estate APIs To Keep Your Clients Informed (And Close) For Life

best real estate APIsHome Junction offers some of the Best Real Estate APIs and if you want a steady strategy for keeping in touch with your clients, then consider our Hyper-local Data and MLS products.

A smart agent knows they need the right tools (and information) to become not just an agent for one transaction, but to become THE AGENT for a client for life. Their aim should be to also include every family member and friend of that client.

So you helped a client find a new home. They struck the deal. Nothing feels quite as good as knowing the job you did will give a family comfort and happiness in their new house for years to come.

Once all the papers are signed and the keys are handed over, what comes next?

Keeping up with your customers has never been easier now that agents have the technology to create and distribute newsletters, either by mail or email, to maintain a top-of-mind presence with clients.

But for newsletters you need appealing content. To provide the most interesting content to a homeowner, you need the Best Real Estate APIs (Application Programming Interface) feeding relevant housing data to your website. (You can include tidbits of that content and links back to your website in your newsletter).

In this article, we will discuss ways to keep in touch with past clients to keep them informed on the housing market in their area and maintain their business moving forward.

Anyone involved in business knows that retaining past clients is just as important, if not more important, than finding new clients.

Not only for the referrals you can build to extend your client base (word of mouth is the most effective form of publicity), but also for potential repeat opportunities.

A simple strategy is to use a newsletter with local real estate data.

However, the key to newsletters is to address the specific needs of your subscribers. A newsletter to existing clients who have purchased a home, should be different than a message sent to say first-time buyers who never owned a house.

The more you can tailor your content to your specific audience, the more success you will have with open rates and click-throughs to links in your email.

Deploy the Best Real Estate APIs to offer the best home related content

For example, with a Home Valuation API from Home Junction, you can include a personalized Home Value Report with each publication that gives a family an idea where their property stands in comparison with the neighborhoods around them. Or you can send them a link to the Home Value Widget on your website.

This can entice them into perhaps looking to selling again. Or the data can increase satisfaction that they made the right decision purchasing the home. Maybe it will inspire them to figure out ways to increase their home’s value.

Charts and figures will show where they excel in the market and where they can improve. With a Home Value API an agent can provide estimates on the value of that property and also the position that property currently sits in the marketplace.

Perhaps the home is in mid range for Price per Square Foot, but in the Top 20% for Total Square Footage.

All that information is very informative and important to homeowners. After all, this is probably the biggest investment they own.

Along with the value report, an agent could offer recommendations for moving forward, some tips to increase that home’s particular value, or the hottest new amenity to add to a home. Even when to sell, if that is an option they are considering in the near future.

One way to increase participation would be to involve some kind of question and answer forum in your newsletter. Encourage recipients to ask you questions about market conditions. Use a Property Data API to generate the data to answer those questions.

These newsletters can show customers how loyal and informed you are as their expert on local housing data.

Use a Property Data API for neighborhood housing trends

With a Property Data API, an agent will be able to display hyper-local real estate market data on any given neighborhood, not just zip code. That is powerful. And personal.

That data would include trends in Recent Sales and the direction of Home Prices. This is sure to catch the attention of any homeowner.

Offer comparisons of neighborhoods next door. Provide neighborhood demographic data so a home owner can see the makeup of their community. Include Cost of Living indices to show pricing trends for that area.

Any data and research you can include will reinforce in the minds of readers why they chose you as their Realtor.

A handshake and a smile is never enough. The follow through of a home purchase is the most important part of the sale.

Nurture your connection with your customers by facilitating further conversation after they move in.

With a newsletter, clients can stay informed on the events happening with their neighborhoods.

Updates can be included featuring housing values over time, new amenities, schools, stores and restaurants popping up and other developments in the market surrounding a house.

Try introducing the idea of a newsletter gradually to see how it works for your individual clients – start with a paper survey following up on them housing purchase experience. Ask them if they want to receive your newsletter by email. Try sending updates through snail mail.

Perhaps find someone with graphic design skills to add an extra special touch that makes reading the content even easier.

From a business perspective, it has become increasingly important to maintain past customers to encourage referrals to new clients.

When Next Door Jim asks a client why they know so much about local market conditions, or who they used to purchase their home, or sell their home, it will be very natural for them to offer your name.

Real market data, not fluff, fosters real trust

Building relationships is the most important aspect of sales. We all feel more comfortable putting a huge decision such as buying a house into the hands of someone we recognize, connect with, and trust.

And if we don’t know any Realtors personally, finding someone a friend trusts is the next best thing. Keeping in touch with former clients opens up the door and keeps your name in the running for future business deals.

Trust is not something that can be asked for, and it takes time to develop. Providing real market data, not just fluff or hype, will go a long way in convincing consumers you are the agent with true local knowledge.

Keep your name fresh in clients’ minds with informational charts and graphs detailing local housing market and home value.

As you know, people value long-term relationships. They want to know service providers they can trust and when they find them, they tend to hang on to them for decades.

You know people who talk about their hair stylists, their handyman or their dog groomer.

You want to be known as their real estate agent. For life.

Get the Best Real Estate APIs from companies such as Home Junction so you have access to trustworthy, informative data you can continually send them for top-of-mind awareness. (We also offer MLS APIs for integrating MLS data with real estate websites as well).

These APIs and the data that comes with them give you a better chance of continuing a relationship with your clients (and their friends and family) for a very, very long time.