How a Property Data API can Help Make Any Home Unique Header

How a Property Data API can Help Make Any Home Unique Even if You Don’t Have A Dance Floor, Oceanfront Views, and a DJ Booth

A property data API is a valuable resource when it comes to marketing a home for sale and differentiating it from others in the same neighborhood.

Not every home for sale can be like this one in Miami – an 8,000 square foot penthouse condo with views of both the OCEAN and the CITY. Five bedrooms and 6.5 baths. With a hot tub. Did we forget to mention the dance floor, DJ booth and the soundproof walls and floor?

Right after an agent turns on that rave music and the dance floor lights for a potential buyer, that property is going to sell itself.

Let’s face it, for real estate agents in the rest of the country, sometimes it is difficult to make one home appear unique and different than the others (although many times the homeowner won’t see it that way). An agent might not have a dance floor, a DJ booth, or even a waterfront view to work with.

But, they can use data. Data that puts that property in a unique light. And that’s the data they can use to show home sellers how they will go to new heights to market their property.

Property Data API can Create a Distinct Profile


All it takes is a property data API (Application Programming Interface). It’s very easy to add this API to an agent’s website. But once they do, the code opens a door into a huge warehouse of hyper-local real estate market data – data that is very relevant to every home buyer.

That data includes:

  • Recent home sales
  • Pricing trends
  • School data
  • School district boundaries and attendance zones
  • Municipal boundaries
  • Neighborhood demographics
  • Cost of Living Indices
  • Crime ratings
  • And much more.

One powerful tool for creating a unique value proposition for a home seller is the home value estimator tool, because much more information can be extrapolated with this tool than just a home estimate. With the home value estimator tool from Home Junction, for example, an agent can show how a specific property ranks for several key factors.

That would include:

  • Age of the Home
  • Size of the Home
  • Price
  • Price per square foot

Imagine how a homeowner’s eyes would light up when an agent shows them a printout indicating their property ranks like this compared to other properties in the marketplace:

  • Top 80% for square footage
  • Bottom 40% for price per square foot

That’s a unique selling proposition all spelled out for any buyer. Not only is this property priced reasonably compared to others, it is one of the LARGEST in the neighborhood. That makes it unique. That makes it valuable. That’s a compelling reason for a home buyer to make an offer right away. Or frankly, for several buyers to make multiple offers quickly.

An agent can almost see the smile on a seller’s face when they point out this valuable information about their home.

Conversely, home value estimate tools are super valuable for agents as well in terms of lead generation. Google data shows there are several thousand searches for this term every month – “What is my home worth?”

You can be sure a large number of local homeowners will constantly be checking the results of those machine-generated estimates. (Naturally, they are not as accurate as a CMA. But what a great opportunity to offer a formal CMA to a homeowner!)

An agent can also use those other property dataset to show the uniqueness of a home compared to others.

Perhaps their prospect’s 3/2 is very similar to several other 3/2s on the market. However, using school attendance zone data, an agent can point out how that specific property is within the boundaries for the most desirable schools in the district.

Same with neighborhood demographics – perhaps this home is in an area where the residents tend to skew younger in age…and have children. That’s a great place to raise a family.

The next homeowner an agent talks to might not have that disco in their basement, or a hot tub overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. But with this hyper-local data supplied by a property data API, the agent now has a myriad of ways they can take an ordinary home, and show a seller how they can make it very unique.

Support High Home Price with a Geocode API Tool & Amenities Header

Support High Home Price with a Geocode API Tool & Amenities

A geocode API tool can add an important new dimension to an agent’s website that can be critical when home prices in local marketplaces are at all time highs. That’s one of the situations we face today as inventory is low…and prices for entry-level homes keep escalating; which is causing people to stretch their dollars and look at higher end properties.

Difficult situation.

But as with any challenging scenario, there are ways to frame a property so the price at this point in time seems justified. For one, mortgage rates are super low. That helps buyers justify paying more, when the effect on their monthly loan payments are still reasonable. But here’s a major factor – a silver lining for many properties – neighborhood amenities surrounding that property.

And Millennials, who now make up a huge bubble of buyers, like those amenities. Their eyes light up when you tell them there’s a cool cafe or new wave sushi place down the street (frankly, that works for many buyers in any age group).

Homeowners will love to hear how an agent is going to market their property and support that price by promoting the value of their location. Let’s face it. There might not be many homes in a certain price range. But if that buyer looks a little higher up, there could be quite a few choices available for them. Home shoppers might be discouraged by the price per square foot. The fact that there are actually quite a few homes available in that price range might cause them to sit back and wait for prices to drop.

But here’s the kicker, while Properties A, B and C are all similar in price, Property A has something extra going for it – a great location.

Geocode API Visually Illustrates Value of Location


Using a Geocode API map tool, an agent can point out all the cool amenities located near Property A. They can use a map…or present those amenities in list form by distance.

For example, there might be a Whole Foods right down the street, within a short bike ride. Or perhaps a LA Fitness gym around the corner. Then, there’s that cool espresso cafe with the homemade muffins and lattes to die for.

For newly married Millennials, schools will play an important factor. Use the neighborhood amenities map to show that elementary school, middle school and high school within easy reach. Their kids could complete the journey from kindergarten up to senior year in high school all from that one home nearby.

What about workplaces? Perhaps Property A is also located near several business parks. A great source of jobs for any new home buyer. Maybe there’s an industrial park a mile away with plenty of office and warehouse space for a company owner. Same with a hospital or college that employs hundreds of local people.

Another factor to point out is walkability. (Don’t forget bikeability either. There has been a surge recently in people buying bicycles and commuting by bike to work). Millennials are not crazy about cars. They prefer alternative means of transportation.  Show them how Property A can reach plenty of great amenities by walking, or just a short bike ride. Leave that car in the garage. Take a bike ride to get that latte.

When an agent uses their geocode API to point out these amenities, the value of the property will go up in the mind of the buyer.

There’s also another persuasive argument going on here as well – the law of scarcity. Not only does Property A have this great location, but it’s one of the few properties that is so close to so many cool places. Which means, somebody is going to make an offer very quickly. Perhaps there will be even multiple offers coming in at some point. Time to move fast.

That’s what agents can also tell their listing prospects as well. When they create their marketing package, the agent can show them how they are going to use that Geocode API to illustrate the proximity of these great amenities to their home. And how that location makes their property unique.

In fact, there is actual research that shows how the location of a park, for example, can increase home values by 10% to 20%. For example, there is plenty of documentation to show how properties near the popular High Line Park in Manhattan have skyrocketed in value. And that’s only for a little 1.4 mile linear park built on some abandoned railroad tracks.

It’s ironic. Now that this huge segment of the population, Millennials, has finally understood the value of owning their own home, there aren’t many homes on the market to sell them. They are finding they have to bid higher if they want to get in a property today.

Pointing out that appealing grocery store, restaurant, club, yoga studio, golf course, park, etc., with a geocode API will certainly go a long way in helping to justify the added value of a property.

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Residential Property Data API Helps Explain Market Anomalies

Sometimes there are strange variances in real estate that a residential property data API with pricing trends can help agents provide explanations about what is going on. Let’s talk about the current situation.

Sure, during Covid 19, the real estate industry ground to a halt for a few weeks as the country adjusted to this health crisis. Now, markets are slowly opening up. So, with the current situation, especially with the large number of unemployed, one might think home prices would drop significantly. But just the opposite is occurring.

For the week ending May 23, according to, home list prices nationwide actually jumped up 3.1%. In fact, home prices increased in 75% of the 77 biggest metro areas.

Wait what? Why? Blame it on lack of inventory. “There are still buyers in the market,” said Senior Economist George Ratiu, “But given the very limited number of properties available, buyers are willing to pay more.” That’s quite a jump when you consider before all this, back in March, home prices were increasing at a 4.4% annual rate.

There are some very positive factors out there pushing those prices. For one, mortgage rates are at record lows. It’s still less expensive to take out a home loan today than many other times in history. Secondly, Millennials have caught the home-buying bug. After years of renting and sitting on the fence NOW they want to buy. Plus, it’s the home buying season time of year.

However, the challenge most agents face is that listings are few. reports the number of homes for sale during that same week in May dropped 22% year over year. “The mix of homes that are on the market now is a little bit different,” reported the Economist. “What’s really selling at a premium are lower-priced homes. The higher-priced homes are sitting on the market longer.”

Residential Property Data API Points Out Pricing Trends


Buyers and sellers will look for the agents who can offer an explanation of this anomaly. And they will want statistics to back it up. The Millennial who wants to buy that house, will wonder why during these times, they have to offer more for a home? Home owners, who have expressed an interest in selling, will surely want to be notified that pricing trends right now are actually in their favor.

There’s a tool for that – a residential property data API.

A residential property data API (Application Programming Interface) is simply some snippets of code that a data aggregator provides to an agent to insert into their website. That little bit of code opens up a huge door to an enormous database of hyper-local data. An agent can then display this relevant data on any page on their website.

One of those data points is local pricing trends. An agent can have those price points converted into a handy and easy to grasp chart. That agent, and this is a MAJOR point, can also have those data points customized all the way down to the neighborhood level they are farming. This is huge. This is what local knowledge is all about. With this data, the agent can point out how home prices in general in XYZ neighborhood are going up, despite the economy.

If a buyer sees a home they like, that data suggests they might want to jump on it NOW. There’s more power in owning that data.

For example, say there’s a buyer out there who is interested in ABC neighborhood. But prices there for some reason are flat or have actually dipped. Show that buyer pricing trend data – nationwide – and in nearby neighborhoods. Point out how these homes are priced reasonably, maybe at a bargain level, compared to the rest of the country and frankly, the rest of that town. Again, this could be the persuasive tipping point to get that buyer to act.

Agents know they can reverse the use of this data and apply it to homeowners. Many homeowners may be under the impression, given the circumstances, that now is not a good time to list their properties. Au contraire! The data shows home prices are going UP. Mr. and Mrs. HomeOwner, why wait? The data shows conditions are favorable to list your home NOW.

In this topsy-turvy economy, who knows what those home prices will be next year? (Of course, the agent with the data will know). Speculation and misconceptions will always create a murky atmosphere during times of uncertainty. Facts and data can cut through that fog. Those same facts and data can also be used in social media posts and other marketing to help generate leads and inquiries.

Agents: give consumers something solid to help with their decision-making – a residential property data API that displays those pricing trends right on their website, by target neighborhoods.

Real Estate Agent Doing Virtual Home Tour on Laptop

The Future of Real Estate After COVID-19

The economy was healthy until a few months ago, but COVID-19 changed that pretty quickly. Over the past few months, some internet- and service-related businesses thrived, while many companies — and even industries — either slowed significantly or came to a complete halt. Sadly, the unemployment rate jumped from 4.4% in March to a staggering 14.7% in April. But what does all this mean for the future of real estate?

It’s tough to predict housing market trends due to our ongoing circumstances, but experience and current indicators can shed light on some of the possibilities.

Possible Winner: Residential Real Estate


Several variables will affect home sales following COVID-19, most notable of which is the reaction of the job market once people return to work. If the unemployment rate continues to creep upward, a large percentage of potential buyers won’t qualify for a mortgage. How these variables fall into place will determine if real estate predictions will pan out as expected.

According to a study by Zillow, Hong Kong’s economy was heavily affected by the SARS virus outbreak in 2003, but it bounced back in a relatively short period. The country’s real estate prices remained fairly stable throughout the pandemic months, but transaction numbers decreased sharply; however, once the crisis ended, real estate sales in Hong Kong were back to normal.

COVID-19 is hurting the United States’ economy more drastically than SARS affected Hong Kong, but that doesn’t mean it will affect the housing market trend negatively. A possible effect of people being stuck in quarantine is that it brings their housing situation to the forefront.

Many tenants and homeowners who were only considering buying a home or moving to a bigger house will now likely push to turn their thoughts into reality. Relatively low mortgage rates should also help the situation, assuming the job market rebounds successfully.


Office Space for Real Estate

Likely Troubled Area: Office Space


Working remotely wasn’t the world’s best-kept secret even before COVID-19. In 2016, 43% of employees worked remotely with some consistency. An even more telling poll revealed that 80% of employees said they would like to work from home at least part-time.

People are more interested in maintaining a healthy work/life balance than ever. Employers gain in several ways by allowing remote work. Some of the advantages include:

  • Reduced office space, which translates to lower rent and utility bills
  • Employee retention
  • Increased production by employees

The pandemic served as an excellent trial run for many businesses that were reluctant to allow workers to work remotely. In a recent MIT survey, more than a third of the respondents indicated they switched from commuting to remote work due to the virus.

When COVID-19 passes, employers whose companies operated successfully during the crisis will likely consider allowing their employees to continue working from home. While this might not put an end to office buildings, many business owners and corporate heads are bound to reassess their office space needs as they consider making remote work the new norm for their companies.


Person Virtually Searching for Real Estate with Home Junction Real Estate Data

Probable Industry Changes


Virtual real estate — as popular as it was until now — will grow exponentially in the coming months and years. During COVID-19, realtors who use virtual tours of homes and neighborhoods in their listings are the most likely to sell a house.

With the right data and visuals, potential buyers could get a clear picture of the house they are researching. They might still need to do a quick walkthrough, but at least they’ll get to see the homes initially on their own time.

Real estate agents will likely continue to up their virtual skills and capabilities after seeing the impact that comprehensive website tools have on their bottom line. Using their site to its fullest will help them engage clients and increase their sales flow. Having access to real estate data can also help clients navigate the real estate market by providing insight into the things that really matter to them. Touring neighborhoods, points of interest, school districts, and more may be difficult during COVID-19, but can be made easier by presenting the data digitally.

Building trust and relationships with clients traditionally require face-to-face interaction, but the future of real estate will likely involve a shift to using digital tools and virtual tactics to become a trusted expert in any given real estate market.

Inman Connect 2020


If you’re in the real estate industry, all of these possibilities probably have you on edge. Every professional should be in tune with impending changes that might affect their line of work. During turbulent times such as these, it’s crucial for people in the industry to keep up with possible housing market trends and the future of real estate.

Inman Connect Now is a live, online event taking place between June 2–4. Thousands of professionals and vendors will gather virtually to discuss the current and future state of the real estate industry. This event presents an excellent opportunity for you to stay informed and prepared for what will come when we return to business as usual.

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Property Data APIs & Virtual Tours Will be Key as Market Adapts

At times in the world of business, when a major event takes place, such as this COVID-19 crisis, market practices change. Some events can even be a catalyst for lasting change. Let’s face it, conditions in 2020 have certainly altered the real estate landscape. However, one of the great attributes of the real estate industry is its resilience. It will adapt to market conditions. Rapidly.

The home selling business has always been a necessity, unlike some other industries such as entertainment. People need to move. Some have to buy homes to relocate to a new job. Senior citizens who have left their jobs need to downsize, sell their homes and move to a retirement community or state. That’s the good news for real estate professionals.

As we are seeing, even a major situation like COVID-19 cannot stop the real estate business. Many Realtors across America are reporting that now that local economies are opening up, business is brisk. For one, there is the pent-up demand from the lockdown. Secondly, this is the busy spring selling season. Third, mortgage rates are still at super historic lows.

There are mixed signals in the environment as well. Several realtor associations are reporting a drop in home sales. But many others are citing a major reason for this is because inventory is still low, which frankly, was an issue earlier. Thousands of Millennials, ready to purchase homes, can’t find properties in their price range for sale. They are ready and eager to purchase a home, if homeowners would just list them. The demand is there.

Obviously, the real estate marketplace is going to be different until the COVID-19 crisis ends. But as markets open up and more people get back to work, home sales should also see a return back to earlier days. It won’t exactly be normal. Many experts are referring to the current situation as a “new normal.”

Virtual Home Tours Help Narrow Down Selection


What will this new normal be like? Well for one, much of it will be “virtual.”

An even larger part of the home search process will be conducted online. Because it may be difficult for buyers to visit multiple properties and attend open houses, the search process will need to be narrowed down ahead of time. That’s where virtual tour cameras and property data APIs will play a large part.


Virtual Home Tours

As many agents know, this technology is starting to boom. Now that people are reluctant to allow visitors to their properties and buyers are not really sure they want to visit properties, the use of virtual tours is increasing. In fact, many realtors are now reporting that some homes are selling without a buyer ever visiting the property. In some cases, the agent has never seen the property in person. There’s more of this technology, what experts refer to as “prop tech,” on the way.

The next big thing could be “Virtual reality home selling.” In this case, a buyer would put on a VR headset and virtually be able to walk through a home, looking in any direction. For all intents and purposes, they would be as close to actually visiting that home as possible.


Augmented Reality

Another proptech innovation that is gaining in popularity is augmented reality. With this technology, an agent might have a new home or an empty property for sale, and they could insert furniture and other items to give the buyer an idea of what it would look like fully furnished.

As we all know – staging works. About 90% of buyers’ agents report it certainly does help a buyer visualize what that space would like fully furnished. Forty percent of buyer’s agents say staging has an impact on a shopper’s decision. That’s huge.



Drones are another innovation that can help buyers see what a property is like, from even a better angle than just walking around on the ground.

Note: Sellers know this technology is out there too. In fact, we are hearing reports that many homeowners do not want agents to bring potential buyers to their properties unless they are very serious and have narrowed down their choices. That means they have researched other properties online and even embarked on virtual tours to be sure this is one of their top picks on the list.

Property Data APIs Help with Decision Making


Since an agent will be conducting most of their showings in the webisphere, this is also a great opportunity for them to provide property data to help buyers narrow down their choice of homes. With a property data API supplied by providers such as Home Junction, an agent has the chance to show, rather than tell, the relevant data involved with any particular property.

For example, they can show charts indicating recent home sales in that particular neighborhood. Or, they can show charts with pricing trends for that area, revealing perhaps that home prices recently took a dip and NOW is the time to make an offer.

Other data that can be offered that will be a major influence on buyers will be school information, school attendance zones, municipal and neighborhood boundaries, neighborhood demographics, crime ratings, cost of living indices, and other information.

Incorporating a feed by a property data provider today is super simple. All an agent has to do is insert a few lines of API code (Application Programming Interface) to their web pages for any property, and the data aggregator does the rest. The property data provider gathers ALL the information, organizes it and sends it out through the API on a consistent basis.

Just think of the opportunity. Here an agent has a buyer’s attention online, and they can show them facts that will help persuade them that one particular property is right for them. This property not only has emotional appeal to them, but meets all the checkboxes for their criteria. That criteria might include schools nearby, low tax rates, certain age groups in the neighborhood, local amenities such as fitness studios and coffee shops, etc.

When walking with an agent, just mentioning there are great schools nearby does not have the same impact as showing the actual School Data and a map indicating just how close the schools are to that particular property.

There Could be an Upside to All this Change


With virtual tours, future VR tours and in-depth property data – the home buying process might actually speed up. The buyers save time. (And if they have to travel, they will save money). The agent saves time and can therefore do more of the other tasks they need to do. And the customers get a chance to shorten the home buying (or selling) process which as we all know, can be emotional and gut-wrenching for a family making such a BIG decision.

Get on board. Start working on those virtual tours and add a property data API as this shift in real estate best practices takes place and those who adapt will be ahead of the pack.

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How to Create Real Estate Videos with a Property API

A property API displaying the trends in local market conditions adds impact to any simple screen-recorded real estate videos. During slowdowns, it might be smart for local brokers and agents to comb that hair, set up a nice background in a room and create some screen recorded videos on their computers.

There are a few compelling reasons to have a real estate video strategy in place.

Real Estate Videos are a Necessity Today


When market conditions change, consumers out there want to know the latest news. In fact, they will frequently rely on the agent that provides them with that news in a quick and easy to comprehend manner. That’s where video comes in.

We are not talking about major productions where an agent hires a film crew to produce a slick, documentary style production. We are talking about screen recorded videos. The technology that allows an agent to make quick and informative videos on a variety of topics right from their desk with their computer.

Because here’s the data behind the use of videos: People like them. Millennials love them.

For example, did you know YouTube is the SECOND most visited website on the World Wide Web? Three hundred hours of videos are uploaded to that website EVERY MINUTE. FIVE BILLION videos are viewed worldwide EVERY DAY.

Here’s another bit of data that should catch every agent’s attention: Because of high-speed connections and more powerful phones and smartphones on the market, HALF of all videos today are viewed on Mobile Devices. As you can imagine, high speed mobile devices have increased the viewing of videos astronomically.

How to Create a Real Estate Video Strategy


Every agent should have a video strategy in their marketing plan. Thanks to technology today, it’s not difficult.

An agent can sit down at their desk and use tools such as Movie Maker, Free Cam, Camtasia, Ice Scream, OBS Studio, Recmaster, Share X or a variety of other on-screen recorders to easily create a video. Many of these screen recorders are free to use. Or charge a small amount.

We are also not talking about hour-long epics either. Keep those videos short. One minute is fine. For the most part, internet surfers just want to view a quick video. A clip that covers a subject in a short period of time. Leave a call to action and display links where the viewer can get more information (such as calling that agent for more details).

Obviously, the more in-depth the subject, the longer the video. For example, in a video on “How to Price Your Home for Sale” an agent might take several minutes to cover this subject because of the many factors involved and the degree of importance.

Creating an office or home studio is not a big endeavor. Find a place with a nice, uncluttered background. Make sure there won’t be any annoying noises in the background such as other agents talking on the phone or a dog barking at the front door.

Lighting is key. One of the most important aspects of screen-recorded videos is the lighting. Walk around the house or office to find a source of light that best illuminates an agent’s face. Natural light from a big window is usually a great source. Another is a simple “ring” light that provides a nice, soft even lighting.

Be sure to position the camera lens a little higher than the subject’s face for a more flattering look. For these types of videos, an agent doesn’t have to wear a tuxedo or a formal dining gown. But it would certainly be smart to dress professionally in business casual attire.

Another important tool is the microphone. A microphone built into the computer might not provide the best quality. Use an ancillary microphone or one on a headset.

There are a Variety of Real Estate Topics to Cover


Now that an agent has an adequate studio set up, obviously the next important step will be content. The obvious one is listing videos. But there are other opportunities out there as well to help consumers with a simple screen recording.

Those topics can include local housing marketing conditions, informative talks about important subjects such as financing, short sales, etc., or topics surrounding local neighborhoods that the agent is farming.

Also consider videos with helpful advice: how to declutter a home, tips for creating more curb appeal, staging, etc.

Use a video to give information on an agent’s background and qualifications. Add a screen recording to the About Us page to give a bird’s eye view of the broker’s office.

Mention big community events that might be coming up. Or, talk about improvements taking place in the local community, such as the addition of a new park or Whole Foods store, that add value to a neighborhood.

Even create a humorous video every once in a while, just to create some buzz.

Property API Data Boosts Credibility and Interest


One of the most important videos an agent can create during a downturn will cover local housing market conditions. People will want to know: what is the latest trend in homes sales? How much inventory is out there? What’s the direction of home prices? This is where a property API can be an important tool to use.

An agent can sit there at their desk and give a dissertation on what they think about the status of the local housing market. Or, they can add real impact by providing screen shots of actual market data from their website. They can easily incorporate this data with the use of a Property API. That API (Application Programming Interface) from a national real estate data aggregator can feed local market data to any page on an agent’s website.

(By the way, studies show if you don’t grab someone’s attention in the first 20 seconds, they will leave the video. So right up front, agents should tell viewers what they plan to tell and show them in their clip.)

The property API can provide the latest data on recent homes sales, trends in local home prices, neighborhood demographics, school data, etc. And with most of these screen recording programs, you can make it easy to insert a chart or other data to share.

Displaying that data will certainly enhance the credibility of that agent. That data, provided by their own property API on their website, will reinforce in the mind of any viewer, that this agent is definitely an expert on their local community, and they have the facts and figures to back that up.

During market slowdowns, where anxious buyers are keeping their eyes on the market and homeowners are wondering whether now is a good time to list their properties, imagine the value of providing brief, informative clips on local conditions.

Post links to those clips on social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Encourage people to share these videos with friends and family.

An agent can spend just a few dollars to push these short videos out to the type of consumers they want to reach. Facebook for example, has highly targeted platforms where agents can promote their posts to a certain geographic area, age group, etc. for just a few dollars a day. Try a short ad campaign. If the videos get results, add a few more dollars to increase distribution.

And always be sure to include a call to action. After all, an agent’s video might be informative and comprehensive, but there is nothing like a one-on-one phone call to help a client or prospect get the answers they need. As we also know, everybody has different circumstances that require personal attention specific to their particular needs.

The major point here is that the technology is out there to create simple real estate videos. There are also tools out there, such as a Property API, that will add validity to your video messages and reinforce an agent’s image as a true hyper-local expert – with the data to back it up.

Now’s the time to add those real estate videos. Roll camera!

Ideas to Help Prepare Clients when Real Estate Market Reopens Header

Ideas to Help Prepare Clients when Real Estate Market Reopens

There are times when the real estate market slows down, but there could still be ways to keep in touch with clients and provide them with valuable property data software for when business cranks back up. Those slowdowns could be seasonal. Or, caused by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or forest fire. Or they could be totally unexpected, like the situation we find ourselves in today. Even still, there is quite a bit of chatter out there on preparing for when the real estate market reopens.

Real estate transactions are a way of life in the United States. With a vibrant economic system and the freedom to move about any city, state and country, change will occur. People need to sell homes. They need to relocate. Workers get a new job and need to buy a home. Renters want to own property. Seniors need to downsize or move for retirement. Etc. Etc.

There is so much activity that takes place in the real estate industry, for example, that experts say it contributes to a significant 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. Every real estate transaction touches an estimated 13 people.

In other words, this business does not stand still.

Some experts predict that when markets do re-open, there is going to be a flurry of activity. But since our current situation is so unique, forecasts differ on what type of activity. Some people say there will be a surge of homes for sale. People looking to relocate. Maybe rental property investors looking to let go of some properties.

On the other hand, will there be a surge of buyers? Before the crisis, in most towns, inventory for homes in the $300,000 range was low. Will those buyers now be back? Will many of them be able to go back to work?

There are quite a few unanswered questions out there.

And as agents know, every market is different. It’s not so much the national real estate market that matters, as much as the local marketplace they service. With that in mind, some agents are sharing suggestions with their clients on how to get ready when the real estate market is back in full swing again.

Provide Tips and Use Property Data Software


To prepare homeowners who plan to sell when the real estate market reopens, this break is an opportunity to:

  • Declutter that house (there always seems to be more that can be done to get rid of those personal items that distract buyers).
  • Make repairs (e.g. fix that squeaky door, replace those cracked tiles, etc).
  • Paint and liven up some rooms and add neutral colors that most buyers prefer.
  • Improve curb appeal (plant flowers, trim hedges, etc).
  • Find a storage area for things they can remove from the house now. And for after closing when the needs to move, and needs a place to store additional items.
  • Make major repairs (many contractors might not be as busy as earlier in the year, so they might be eager to take on some home improvement projects such as replacing kitchen cabinets, etc.)
  • Use property data software. This is also an opportunity when homeowners can do some of their own research into local market conditions.

Agents can advise them to check out charts on trends for home sales and prices in their neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. (The agent can provide this information with a property data API that feeds this data directly onto their website). If home prices are going up, that gives owners some valuable information on pricing their own property.

Also look at available inventory. If there aren’t many homes for sale that are similar to theirs in terms of square footage, location, price range, etc., then they also know they are in a stronger position as far as value.

Offers Suggestions and Real Estate Data to Help Buyers Decide


To prepare home buyers for when the real estate market reopens, some agents suggest to:

  • Keep searching online and narrow down a few properties buyers want to review.
  • If they are considering a specific property, perhaps get an estimate on some of the improvements they might want to make such as upgrading those kitchen cabinets, etc.
  • Shop for appliances that buyers might need or perhaps doors, ceiling fans, etc. Go through the process of finding the style and model they want, the colors, etc. Getting all of that done during these slow times can save quite a bit of time later.
  • Start the search for contractors. If a buyer anticipates needing one, take this free time to vet them and find the one that can make the improvements they are planning  to do.
  • Research property data software. Now is also a good time to do further research into the neighborhoods on the buyer’s checklist. Review school data, school attendance zones, municipal boundaries, crime ratings, neighborhood demographics, and cost of living indices.

Performing this research now will give buyers a better and more detailed overview of the areas they are considering.

Compare neighborhoods. Check out charts for recent home sales and sales price trends. Perhaps during this search, they will find another neighborhood that comes close to matching one of the original neighborhoods where they wanted to move. But that neighborhood has lower home prices on average. That’s a good thing to know. Gives them more options.

Also check out home value estimator software. These tools are super popular with consumers. Naturally, they are not as detailed as a CMA or Appraisal, but they will help buyers get a sense of the home values in each neighborhood and also the trends for those values. If those quick estimates start dropping, it might be a time for them to make a move.

They might also find that attractive 3/2 homes in Neighborhood B, are estimated to cost less than a similar property for a home they wanted in Neighborhood A. A home they did not get because they were outbid by another buyer.

Sending advice to clients and prospects and keeping them informed of property data and local market conditions will help them be prepared when markets do re-open and recover. Also, contacting local residents, homeowners and renters, and offering to provide this valuable advice and property data, is a good way to start a dialogue with new customers.

Sure, during a slow down it might seem like nothing much is happening. But savvy agents can keep things moving and build up momentum for when their local area recovers and the real estate market reopens. By providing expert advice and hyper-local property data software, that agent shows their true value with in-depth knowledge that will keep clients engaged.

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Real Estate Tools Help Add New Clients During Slow Periods

When agents come across slow times, current property data and real estate marketing automation tools can be used to attract new clients and keep them updated as conditions change. As we all know, successful people keep themselves busy during downturns.

There are plenty of prospects sitting out there even if they just might not be ready to take action now. When an agent has some free time, that is an opportunity to reach out to new prospects and get them in the sales funnel. This way, when the market does break upward, those prospects know who to call. The agent will have plenty of clients in their contact list who are prepped and ready to make a move.

But to take these efforts to the next level with the smart use of technology, consider using current property data feeds and real estate marketing automation tools.

Property Data API and Email Marketing Automation


These are some solid reasons why an agent should use these programs:

Create Content Automatically for Buyers

Current property data such as home sales and pricing trends can be fed right onto an agent’s website. To obtain current market data, just add a Property Data API (a piece of software code provided by a data aggregator). The information will then be fed onto any page on the agent’s website. Plug in the prospect’s contact information into the automated email program and the type of homes they are looking for. The program will pull listings that meet that criteria right out the local MLS and send it to them.

Creates Content Automatically for Potential Sellers

Add the data tools to a website. In the automated program, plug in homeowners who have expressed an interest in selling. The software will send them market updates with the number of homes for sale, existing inventory, trends in sale prices, and other critical data.

Email Campaigns Sent on a Consistent Basis

The key to marketing is to not make just one contact with a prospect. But to make repeated contacts. Stay in front of prospects on a regular basis. The repeated touches will result in brand recognition. In addition, that consistent outreach could come at a moment when a buyer or seller decides, yes, I’m ready to act. When that moment takes place, an agent wants their name to be top of mind.

Shows Who is Active

With some real estate marketing automation programs, such as Listing Leader by Home Junction, agents can also check a dashboard to see which recipients of the email are actively opening and reading the content. That is a HUGE buying signal. Obviously, these people are very, very interested in market conditions. Reach out to them to see if they need additional information or guidance.

Prioritizes Clients

Another benefit of the dashboard that allows you to see which prospects are more active is that it helps agents prioritize which clients to focus on first. They may have a huge database of prospects. Many times it is hard to determine who is lower down in the sales funnel and ready to make a decision. But with this email activity dashboard, an agent can SEE in real time, the clients who are continually reading the content and who are more likely to be closer to taking action.

Offer to send the latest property data on your social media websites. People who respond are obviously interested in current real estate conditions. That could also be a sales signal.

Saves Valuable Time

Sure, during slow periods, agents might have more free time. But then there will be periods when they get busy. Perhaps they have an open house coming up. Or they are busy on a direct mail campaign. Maybe there is a personal, family matter that takes up their time. Hey, life happens. But with an automated real estate marketing program, an agent can relax knowing an automated email will be sent out to ALL of their prospects in the program on a consistent scheduled basis.

This is certainly an incredible time saver compared to if the agent had to hand type a message to each and every one of those prospects. And, had to do that every week or at a certain time in the month on a consistent basis. The life of a real estate agent, and life in general, does not work that way.

Same goes with property data. The data feed updates the information on Home Sales and Price Trends. Use that as your content to distribute to prospects.

Lowers Cost

This is the technological age. The cost of highly-sophisticated marketing automation programs have come way down in price. Give Home Junction a call to see their pricing options. For all the time that is saved and the leads that are generated, agents will find the cost to be minimal and a savvy investment.

Target Real Estate Market Segments


Now that an agent has this remarkable, automated bucket to fill with prospects, as many know, here are some market segments to target:


Many renters, especially Millennials, know it’s generally smarter to invest in a home than to keep sending money to a landlord. Many renters will be on the lookout for homes for sale. They will want to know about market conditions. They will especially want to know about home prices and trends during a slow period when it tends to be a buyers’ market.

Keep them in the loop. Educate them again on the benefits of buying a home. Educate them about the mortgage process. And stay in touch with them with your automated real estate marketing program.

Former Clients

As we all know, referrals are golden. Most of the clients that you helped move into a home will still be curious about market conditions. After all, they might want to keep track of the value of their home, their most valuable possession. (You can also easily add a home value estimator tool to a website for quick, computer-generated estimates). Offer to send them market information. They will appreciate it. And at that point, they also might be likely to let you know any family members or friends who might be in need of a real estate agent and interested in that data.

Expired Listings

When the market is slow, many listings will expire. Reach out to these prospects. Offer to send them this valuable Property Data. Get them in the pipeline. Get them in your automated real estate marketing program. They might not want to keep their home on the market, but you can be sure they will want to be kept up to date on what is taking place out there. Offer to provide that information for them. Automatically. On a consistent basis.


Same with this group. When a market is slow for sellers, they might become more likely to finally agree it’s better to use a Realtor to sell their home. They will be interested in market information as well. And when you send it to them, they will be able to see the value and in-depth knowledge and tools a professional real estate agent brings to the table. Property data tools they don’t have.


Slow markets are when this segment of buyers is most active. Be sure to get them in your database. Attract more of them with your array of current property data tools. Keep them in the loop with your automated email program. Real estate markets are never consistent, that’s a certainty. But look for the opportunities in between the peaks.

Use property data feeds and real estate marketing automation as valuable tools to attract prospects with valuable and consistent updates on market conditions.

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Market Data for Real Estate Helps Counter Low-Ball Offers

Market data for real estate can be a blessing when it comes to helping your listing clients respond to off-the-wall, low-ball offers. As we all know, market conditions fluctuate. In one instance, you have sellers enjoying multiple offers on a property and achieving a nice percentage increase above their asking price. And then the economy changes, and the equation reverses. It is during those times that homeowners will really come to depend on their agent for assistance.

When it’s a buyer’s market, there are the reasonable buyers who might come in a little low on an offer. Then there are the extreme opportunistic buyers. Buyers who take an almost predatory approach with a ridiculous “take it or leave it” type of stance. As we know, in some situations, sellers will cave in. Usually because they have to. But many homeowners might think they have to accept an unreasonable offer during a downturn, when in reality, they really don’t.

Unfortunately, in these situations,  sellers may believe their home is still worth a decent asking price and become emotional when these crazy offers come in. They feel insulted. Angry. It can get ugly. Experienced agents are familiar with this dance. There are tools they can use to help that homeowner feel confident about their price point with strategies on how to deal with any hard-driving buyers.

This is where current market data for real estate comes in. An agent can use this data to show a seller how they are going to counter-attack any insane offers. They can point out how they can use this information to persuade a buyer’s agent to convince their client that the offer is way out of line.

Because here’s another side of the emotion equation: A seller might become in love with that property. The more they negotiate, the more they want to own that house. And that is when they are more likely to be receptive to hard, factual market data for real estate that gives them a picture of the correct asking price.

Market Data for Real Estate Helps with Negotiations


With any negotiations, savvy business people know it’s best to try to keep emotions off the table. A low-ball offer comes in. Knocks everybody back for a loop. The smart thing to do is not get into an argument. Or, try to one up the buyer and tell them the asking price just went up another 10%. In most cases, the smart thing to do is come back with a counter-offer, even if it is a small reduction.

Negotiating experts say it’s best to always try to keep discussions moving. Keep everybody at the negotiating table. There are other factors that can be negotiated as well that would be favorable to a seller such as closing dates, down-payments, pre-approved mortgages, etc.

That’s also the time to present your market data and the comparables you have found that justify the seller’s asking price. There is a plethora of market data for real estate that can be obtained from national aggregators such as Home Junction. The aggregators go through all the effort of tapping into relevant sources – property records, tax assessments, recent home sales, and other historical data. They verify, organize and filter that enormous number of data points.

All the agent has to do is add some software code to their website for a feed. That code immediately lets them display all this relevant information on any page on their website. Place charts for recent home sales and trends in home prices right alongside that seller’s listing.

Point out to sellers how you are going to show buyers how those charts are relevant to that neighborhood. These are not charts that show national, county or city market data. Or by zip code. These charts show the data for that specific neighborhood or subdivision where the property is located.

Sure, home prices nationally might be soft. Maybe inventory is high for that particular county. However, maybe those neighborhood charts show a different picture. Perhaps home sales there have been on the rise. So have prices. Show them some comps.

“Hey, Mr. Buyer, if you look at this market data, homes in this area are going fast. You might not only think about raising that crazy offer up to a reasonable level, but you better act fast because this property in this desirable community may go quickly.”

Hyper-Local Data Gives Agents More Negotiating Power


Surveys of home sellers show that one of the traits they look for in a listing agent is someone who can negotiate on their behalf. When the seller’s market is rocky, they are going to want that reassurance more than ever. After all, this is probably their most valuable possession. Add that hyper-local market data for real estate to an agent’s website. This way, not only can an agent tell them how they are going to negotiate hard on their behalf, they also have the tools to display the cold hard facts to back them up.

Buyers certainly aren’t perfect. Sometimes they come from out of town. They might not have any idea of the local marketplace. Or they forget how homes values in different neighborhoods can vary. Same with the volume of homes sales. Sure, they might love that one property for sale in that awesome country club. But they might not realize how many other people are also looking to move into that awesome country club as well.

Agents are familiar with these scenarios. Now they can easily add market data for real estate to their website, by neighborhoods, to use facts to get those buyers’ heads out of the clouds and convince them to come back with a sensible offer worth discussing.

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Property Data Providers are Allies When Markets Change

Property data providers such as Home Junction can help brokers and agents during periods when there are major changes in the local real estate marketplace. One thing we do know on a consistent basis… is that conditions never stay consistent. Market dynamics will change from time to time. Sometimes the changes are minor. Sometimes they are drastic (such as conditions created by COVID-19).

But one factor we also know is that Americans still need to buy and sell homes. People who retire want to move out of their homes and relocate. People change jobs. Renters want to own property. People want second vacation homes (or, they need to unload those second homes). Investors still want to buy rental properties.

One item that can really help during uncertain times is up to date and accurate real estate market data.

When changes are drastic, there is no lack of speculation circulating out there. Where is the market going? What will it be like in three months or six months? Is this a good time to buy or sell? What’s available for sale?

Even while some economic indicators, such as the stock market, interest rates or unemployment point in one direction (or several directions); a certain segment wants to know what is the status of the real estate market. (And as we know, these indicators aren’t always in alignment). People want to know not only what is taking place in real estate on a national scale, but more importantly, what is occurring in their neighborhood and local markets?

Not every market is the same. One county might see volatile change; another county a few states or even miles away might not see any changes at all. This is where property data providers such as Home Junction can help brokers and agents provide the information that helps consumers make informed decisions.

Facts can help overcome uncertainty. Data can help buyers and sellers get a clearer picture of what is taking place right now. Not across all of America. But where they are specifically located or where they want to relocate. That is incredibly valuable. And comforting to a consumer.

A Snapshot of What’s Taking Place at the Moment


A recent survey at the beginning of April by the National Association of Realtors found a large majority of agents report activity has slowed down drastically.

“The housing market is going to be stalled for the spring,” predicted Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of research. “Buyers and sellers are not necessarily buying and purchasing right now unless they have to. They’re delaying the process for a couple of months.”

That’s understandable. Many potential sellers don’t want open houses and are reluctant to have people walking through their homes. Retirees up north are deciding to stay put for a little while longer. Some people are having difficulty obtaining mortgages.

However, as we know, many people expect economic conditions to begin improving soon. And they are also predicting that when they do, there will actually be a large surge in activity. All that pent-up business that was postponed and delayed might suddenly hit the market all at once.

The real estate forecast is no different.

“Realtors do expect there will be a rebound,” says Lautz. “We’re going to see demand coming out of this.”

Property Data Providers can Offer Hyper-Local Insights


These are times when real estate market information provided by national property data providers can be super important. For example, consider these three data offerings:

  • Trends in home prices
  • Instant home value estimator APIs
  • Number of recent home sales

Property data providers such as Home Junction gather data nationwide from a variety of sources to compile this information. They provide local brokers and agents with software that enables them to tap into this gigantic database of current statistics for the local markets they serve. This is not just county or city data. Its data parsed all the way down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

Think how valuable it will be to provide consumers a chart showing where home prices are heading… every month. Perhaps prices are holding steady. Maybe they are dropping and it’s time for renters to make a move. When real estate market conditions change, things happen.

For example, many experts say that some owners of second homes, vacation homes, or rental homes, might decide they need to cut back on expenses. Those homes are the most likely to come on the market during volatile times. Since inventory is tight, and there is still a huge number of Millennials out there looking to purchase, that will create activity even during a slowdown.

Pricing charts, with monthly updates, can also be an indicator of changes.

Another valuable tool is a home value estimator API. This software (an API means “Applied Programming Interface” which is basically a snippet of software code) can easily be integrated into an agent’s website. The home value estimator API provides instant, machine-generated property value estimates.

But now, thanks to advances in technology, local brokers and agents can also offer this same valuable feature on their own local websites. They can provide local consumers with answers to this very popular question: “What is that property worth?”

Again, property data providers such as Home Junction do all the work. Their data experts calculate these estimates based on the large amount of relevant data points they aggregate. That information includes public records, tax assessments, recent homes sales, property attributes, and a number of other factors.

All the agent has to do is add the software to their website (which technology companies such as Home Junction will help them do).

Instantly, that agent now has the ability to offer quick home value estimates. Now while these estimates are not as formal as a CMA or an Appraisal, they can help give homeowners and buyers an idea on where the market is heading. Not on the national level, but on the community level. Right down to the street in that neighborhood. Consumers can see if prices are changing. They can see estimates for other homes in that area. They can compare how prices might have changed in the past few months.

With Home Junction, there is also a ranking feature which shows how a particular property ranks in their area for price, square footage, price per square foot, and age of the property. For example, a home that is 2,800 sq. ft. might be in the upper 10% in that area for property size compared to other homes. A very important piece of data to know.

This is valuable information in challenging times. This is the type of information that a consumer wants to see from a local broker or agent. These are the types of features agents can promote on their social media platforms, in email campaigns and through direct mail. All indications from experts, including the NAR’s researcher listed above, point to a rebound in the housing market.

Distribute this valuable data to attract prospects. Contact a property data provider such as Home Junction so you have the ability to provide in-depth and current market intelligence to open a dialogue with both buyers and sellers NOW for when those conditions do start to turn upward.

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Differences Between a Home Value Estimator API & Appraisals

There is no disputing that a home value estimator API tool on an agent’s website can be a powerful draw for traffic, prospects and leads. In 2018, customers of Home Junction saw more than 1.1 million uses of the home value estimator tool by consumers on their websites. (Also known as an AVM – “Automated Valuation Model.”)

This feature acts like a magnet for people who want to know the answer to this simple and popular question: “How much is my home worth?” According to Google, more than 10,000 people type in this phrase or a variation of it every month on their search engine. There is an obvious interest there. Now, many agents and consumers may have some reservations on the results of a home value estimator API.

An API is a software term for “Applied Programming Interface.” The interface is basically the software that property data providers such as Home Junction offer agents so they can add the property value estimate feature to their website. Home Junction actually gathers all the data points and uses its algorithms to make the calculations.

Just like an appraisal, the home value estimate algorithm takes into account standard attributes such as the address, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, property sizes, etc. The software then makes calculations based on property records, recent sales, historical data, and other factors.

Even still, it is commonly acknowledged (or it should be) that the machine-generate estimate is not always as accurate as an in-depth comparative market analysis by a real estate professional or a full appraisal by a licensed professional appraiser.

A Home Value Estimator API Offers Instant Estimates


But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? The home value estimates are generated quickly. People use this tool because they want a quick overview of the market.

The available data is run through a formula at a certain point in time to come up with a best guesstimate. Those estimates come with a high and low range as well, indicating the probability of variations based on the data gathered. This is what you would expect from a report on home values generated in seconds. Obviously, the property is not inspected in person, like would be found with a CMA or appraisal.

Secondly, the computer does not have the ability to inspect the condition of the property. Perhaps the roof of the garage is damaged, which would lower the value. Or maybe the kitchen was upgraded substantially, which would raise the value.

As we know, deficiencies, repairs or upgrades seen in person will influence an appraisal. In addition, there are other factors that can affect the price of a home, such as popular schools, neighborhood amenities, etc. Therefore, the savvy agent would be smart to provide this tool for quick estimates. But they need to be sure to let users know the parameters involved in how these numbers are calculated.

More importantly, this tool creates a HUGE opening for that agent. The person looking for a home value estimate is obviously a prospect, either immediate or long term. The agent can tap into that homeowner’s interest to offer a more detailed, in-person CMA of that property. For buyers, they can offer them an in-person assessment of the local housing market.

Factors Used in Creating Property Estimates


Here are some of the factors that agents can point out that are involved in creating those machine-generated estimates as opposed to the more formal personalized option. Some of those factors include:

Property Data Records

Home value estimator calculations depend on correct property data records for their calculations. As the saying goes, when you put accurate info in, you get accurate info out. If some of the information in those records is not precise, it could affect the machine-generated estimates. An address could be wrong. The square footage could be off. Etc. Etc.

Comparable Properties

Agents and appraisers use comparables to make their assessments and price projections. Computers do the same. The more similar properties that are out there, the better the results on the estimates. For example, if you have a neighborhood where all the homes are cookie cutter and very similar, then the home value estimate will have a smaller variation than an area where the homes are all different.

Which brings us to this factor – time.

Freshness of the Data

Time frames are important. If there is a neighborhood where there have been several recent closings in a relatively short period of time, the computer formula is generally able to come up with a more accurate forecast. That’s because the data is fairly current. Market conditions such as mortgage rates, economic conditions, etc. might not have changed that much in that short time frame. Conversely, if there haven’t been many sales in that area over a long period of time, there could be a wider margin of prices in the calculation.

As we said, it is still wise for many agents to focus on the opportunity that adding a home value estimator API can provide. Make it very clear, the results of the home estimator feature are estimates.

Also, when the results are presented on a website to a visitor, make an offer very clear that you can provide more in-depth, personalized information for them.

Add language such as:

“Are you interested in a more accurate in-person assessment of your property?”
“Would you like me to prepare a more formal Comparative Market Analysis and let me explain the results in person?”
“Would you like to meet with a real estate professional to discuss strategies for the pricing of your home?”

Home value estimator APIs have come a long way in recent years. Lenders consistently use them to quickly assess the value of a property. Investment companies that make remote purchases of properties basically use these calculations to formulate their offers.

It’s a powerful tool. Like any tool, it has to be used correctly. Agents would be smart to add it to their website. Make it very clear in explaining how the estimates are calculated. And as we all know, the value of a property is really only determined at the end of the day by what someone is willing to pay for it. Use this popular estimator tool to start a conversation with a prospect.

Sure, we’re in that age where computers are a dominant force in our lives. But at the same time, those computer calculations can be difficult to comprehend.

We are also in an age where even with all the software that’s out there; people still want the comfort of a personal consultation with a professional to make major decisions. Especially with decisions on the magnitude of pricing a home or making an offer on a property.

That’s where the one-on-one involvement of a real estate professional enters into the equation. Savvy agents can use this combination of the technology of a Home Value Estimator API plus their offer of personal expertise to get their clients the answers they need and want.

Neighborhood in Severe Flood Zone Designation

What are Flood Zones? A Guide to Flood Zone Designations

Natural disasters that cause flooding, such as Hurricane Harvey that wiped out much of Houston and the gulf coast in 2017 and Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana in 2005, have a significant financial impact on communities, homeowners, and home insurance providers. Hurricane Harvey cost an estimated $125 billion in damages and affected 13 million people. >Hurricane Katrina left 300,000 homes destroyed or uninhabitable, with $250 in economic impact and damages.

Aside from the financial impact, natural disasters cause a lot of grief, heartache, and stress for individuals and families who face the need to rebuild their lives and homes. As a result, a concern for home buyers is whether or not the home they are purchasing is in a flood zone area, and if it is, what it means for them. As their realtor, you can support home buyers by sharing valuable information about flood zone designations and answering the common question, “What are flood zones?”

Flood Zone Designations


FEMA has created flood zone designations based on the percent likelihood a specific area is to be flooded in any given year. The zones are broken down into Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), moderate flood hazard areas, and minimal flood hazard areas, all of which are highlighted on an area’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).


Special Flood Hazard Areas

SFHAs are areas at risk of being inundated by a flood event having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any year. The 1% annual chance of flood is also known as the base flood or 100-year flood zone. Zones that fall within SFHA on the FIRM include all Zones that start with an A and V, including Zone A, A1-A30, AE, AO, AH, AR, AR/AE, A99, AR/A1-A30, AR/A, AR/AO, V, V1-V30, and VE.


Moderate Flood Hazard Areas

Flood hazard areas with a moderate rating include Zone B and Zone X (shaded) on the FIRM. These zones are rated to have a 0.2% chance of an annual flood, also referred to as the 500-year flood area.


Minimal Flood Hazard Areas

Zone C and Zone X (unshaded) on the FIRM are considered to be minimal flood hazard areas. These zones fall outside of SFHAs and have an elevation higher than the areas with a 0.2% chance of an annual flood.


Car Driving Through Water of Flood Zone

Flood Map Service Center


FEMA’s Map Service Center (MSC) is a handy tool for you to use and share with home buyers. The MSC offers portions of a FIRM, also referred to as FIRMettes, that are created dynamically from the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL)-based maps. From the MSC, you can identify flood zones by zip code or address by simply entering a value in the appropriate field.

You can pull interactive views and customizable maps that you can print from the MSC, as well. The data provided to populate the maps are updated periodically, so it’s a good idea to pull a new map of a particular area if several months have gone by since you last viewed or printed the map of that area. You can also find a tutorial on how to read a flood insurance rate map from FEMA’s MSC.

Mandatory Flood Insurance


Mandatory flood insurance is required for homes that fall within a high-risk flood area and are funded by a federally insured or regulated lender. Some private lenders might also require mandatory flood insurance for homes that fall within the high-risk flood areas. The two options for home buyers is to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private lender. Flood insurance typically costs between $400 and $800 annually.

For homes that fall in moderate-to-low flood zone designations, it’s still wise for homebuyers to consider flood insurance. Flood damage is costly. A single inch of water in a home can result in more than $25,000 worth of damages. Homeowners in moderate-to-low flood zone designations are five times more likely to experience a loss due to flooding vs. a fire within a 30-year period, and most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding.


Flood Protection Sandbags in Front of Homes

Using Flood Zone Maps in Real Estate


The increase in natural disasters, coupled with the devastation many have witnessed due to flooding, home buyers are more concerned now than ever before about purchasing homes in high-risk flood zone areas and finding ways to protect themselves when they do.

As a neighborhood real estate expert, being able to access, understand, and share information about what are flood zones and flood zone designations is essential. Understanding all resources available from the FEMA MSC and how to read flood zone maps are some of the necessary real estate tools to support you in being readily available and able to answer home buyers’ flood zone questions when they arise.

With the help of Home Junction, you can provide insight on flood zones by zip code, neighborhood, or even subdivision level. With boundary data from 2,300 counties where flooding may arise, you will be equipped with everything you need to put your buyers’ and sellers’ minds at rest. If your local area is prone to floods, consider incorporating the Slipstream real estate data API into your practice, and contact us today for more information.