Enhancing The Open House Handout With Real Estate Databases

open house artReal estate databases can turn a golden opportunity into a platinum opportunity when it comes to open houses.

For years, meeting potential buyers at an open house has always been one of most reliable, time-tested ways to generate leads and new customers.

There are not too many instances in real estate, in fact in any aspect of business, where a potential customer takes the time on a Sunday to drive across town to see you.

There is a debate going on about this practice. In this digital age where buyers now don’t want to get in their cars, a huge percentage look for homes online from their living room.

But for many agents, open houses still work. Very well indeed.

In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, sellers that were surveyed said in 2009 about 59% of the agents they used held an open house. In 2004, that number was 49%.

And of course, sellers do love to see those open houses as well.

So why do so many agents still use the same old one-page sheet printed out from the MLS listing to give to visitors? The one with the basic MLS info – square footage, key attributes like wood floors, types of utilities, etc.

Add real estate databases to impress and persuade

In 2017, with the resources that are available out there, why not step up your game?

Integrate real estate databases and a home value estimator tool. There’s a big opportunity here.

Let’s start with the real estate databases.

By teaming up with national and credible real estate database providers such as Home Junction Inc., a broker or agent can add a widget to their website which gives them access to an enormous bank of hyper-local information.

That information includes school data, recent home sales, home price trends, demographics, cost of living indices, crime ratings and local business listings.

Here’s a simple idea.

Print a second page for any open house handouts. Heck, just use the other side. Include key info from your hyper-local real estate databases.

Now, let’s take Mr. and Mrs. Aloof Buyer. They walk into the open house. They do their best to appear disinterested and display their look that says “we’re just curious and don’t bother us.”

They might be serious buyers. They might be semi-serious. Or, they might just have nothing to do that day and decided to stop by on their Sunday drive around town.

Doesn’t matter. You got something that could just tip any one of them into becoming buyer (and a seller).

Give these visitors the handout. The serious ones have probably already reviewed the basic information on the website.

Now, here’s the kicker, show them Page 2 with real estate databases provided by Home Junction.

For example, recent home sale trends. Point out, for example, home sales in this neighborhood or marketplace are booming. It’s a hot area. If you are truly interested in a property around here, you better move fast.

It’s the law of scarcity. A powerful law that can turn a looker into a buyer, a reluctant shopper into someone who is certainly very interested in making a move, not only to live there, but perhaps as an investment property.

Do the same with home prices. Show the charts for home prices in the area. Point out how those prices are trending upward.

Gee, this home is priced slightly LOWER than other properties in the area, a visitor might realize.

Better grab it.

Home Junction also provides a valuable Home Value Estimator tool, just like those available on the national real estate sites.

Included in that tool is a percentile comparison (shown below).

home value estimator

For example, the home estimation tool crunches the real estate data and spits out how that property compares to other homes in the market for several critical factors – Size, Price, Price per Square Foot, and Age.

Show the results to visitors. Perhaps this home is in the lower percentile for prices per square foot. That’s a bargain.

Or, maybe this is a relatively new home compared to others in the area. That’s a big selling point.

Promote the home estimator tool to all visitors.

Optimize return on investment in open house

You are the local agent. They are going to trust your insight into the local market. They are also going to trust the information and tools you provide about that market on your website.

Let’s recap what happens when those visitors leave.

For one, they will have a two-page handout with in-depth analysis of that property. If they visited other open houses and other agents, they will be impressed with the information you provide compared to the others.

That will go far in looking for properties…and selling their property if they already own in the neighborhood and are looking to upgrade or purchase investment properties.

Secondly, every visitor will now realize that your local real estate website has a home value estimate tool just like the national sites.

Why bother going to those sites anymore to check out the value of their home or other properties or other relevant data such as property sales? This local agent has the same features on THEIR SITE.

Consumers would rather deal with a local agent, someone who LIVES in the area, then a national site based thousands of miles away in another part of the country.

Brokers and agents invest quite a bit of time and money in preparing for open houses. There’s the printing, marketing, advertisements, e-mail blasts, social media posts, signage, balloons, snacks, etc. etc.

Make sure you maximize that opportunity to get a return on that investment. Stack up the info. All it takes is one customer.

When it comes to open houses and frankly any home presentation, for buyers and sellers, real estate databases on your website can make a difference, an effective, hyper-local difference.



Home Value Estimates Gain In Accuracy and Popularity, Nearly Challenging Appraisers

home value artworkHere’s another indicator that every real estate broker and agent must have a tool for home value estimates  on their website.

And it’s a little bit scary. At least for real estate appraisers.

Perhaps you’ve seen the news lately.

Real estate pundits are sounding the horn that perhaps the days of real estate appraisers might be approaching an end. Just like the knockout punch that hit travel agents for example and cut their numbers way back.

There are an estimated 78,000 licensed appraisers in the US right now. That number used to be 120,000.

Should they be worried?

Why are the experts saying this?

Zillow and Redfin for two reasons.

Tools for home value estimates becoming more advanced

Experts are noticing that the Automated Valuation Models used by both Zillow and Redfin are becoming more refined as the years go by.

Those companies are diving deeper into relevant databases to supposedly report a more accurate estimation of the value of a property.

They are continually tweaking their algorithms.  Scraping more relevant data. Their machine learning techniques are becoming more sophisticated.

And both companies are now boasting how accurate their home estimator tools are becoming.

Well, just like people keep hinting at the demise of real estate agents (which will not happen since 95% of the population still employs an agent to buy or sell a home). They are predicting the same thing for real estate appraisers.

Even Zillow admits this is very premature.

The challenge is, home value estimates are still just that, estimates. Even both Zillow and Redfin sometimes show big differences in the value of a property.

As seasoned real estate professionals know, there are quite a few factors that go into establishing the value of a home such as market conditions, mortgage rates, the condition of the home, upgrades to rooms, etc.

Here’s the big point.

As machines for home value estimates become more sophisticated, they are becoming more popular. It’s a proven fact that consumers love them. They get to instantly see the rough value of their most precious possession.

And the more buzz that is generated by home estimator tools, the more popular they are going to become.

The good news is that with advances in data coding and algorithms, these valuable tools are no longer the sole propriety of the mega real estate sites.

Basically, any broker or agent can now add the same type of tool to their websites.

home value estimates tool

Home Junction’s Automated Valuation Model format for home value estimates

National data providers such as Home Junction have made it their mission to provide similar data resources to individual brokers and agents to level the playing field. Even to related companies such as mortgage brokers and banks (and perhaps real estate appraisers, too).

It should be evident by now, that adding this type of functionality to a local real estate website is a necessity.

If you are going to compete with the big boys for customers, you need to provide the same benefits that they offer.

And you can.

With Home Junction’s home estimator technology, consumers can enter their home address and instantly get a result with an estimate of their home value.

Home Junction’s functionality goes several steps further to give home owners a broader picture.

For example, included in the home value estimate are high and low ranges. So a home owner has some parameters for where their property might appear within those estimates.

Next, Home Junction gives additional insight into individual appraisal factors.

For example, it will indicate the average prices per square foot. Then it will give a percentage on how homes in the market fit that particular window of data.

Same with the age of the home.

For example, one property might be relatively new, so the readout will show how that home is in a smaller percentage of homes in that marketplace, thereby adding more value.

All of these factors help to give that property owner a true consensus on their property.

They will appreciate that. Even to the point of filling out a lead generation form if necessary.

Those consumers will also establish in their minds that this local real estate broker or agent is on top of the game in the marketplace when it comes to local knowledge. They will also recognize this broker or agent as being a real pro when it comes to the latest in real estate-related technology.

What it will also do is persuade consumers that they don’t need to go to the mega sites for information. Their local broker and agent provide it for them. That’s including the local in-depth market experience and knowledge that those mega sites will never have.

The writing is on the wall folks. Home estimators tools have taken a quantum leap as far as reliability.

You must add this functionality to your website if you are going to survive in the 21st century. Compete with the big sites. Generate your own leads.

Fortunately for savvy brokers and agents, the ability to add functionality for home value estimates is now in your hands.