Survey Shows How Much Consumers Use Home Value Widgets To Find What Their Home Is Worth

home value widgetWhile there is much debate in real estate circles about Home Value Widgets or estimator tools, one thing is very clear.

Consumers want to know, “What is my home worth?”

A recent survey conducted by Nerd Wallet in conjunction with the Harris Poll bears this out.

According to their results, 73% of respondents say “Yes,” knowing the value of their home is important to them.

We’re surprised it’s not higher because frankly, a home is usually the biggest item people own.

But here’s another important finding from the survey – 22% of homeowners said they used an online home value widget to find estimates on what their home was worth.

These numbers are significant.

What’s also significant is that today, local brokers and agents now have the ability to add their own home value widgets to their websites.

That national real estate portal that rhymes with “willow” is no longer the only home guessitmate game in town.

By partnering with national real estate data providers such as Home Junction, a local agent can provide a home value estimation tool of their own to catch the attention of homeowners and generate their own leads.

Home value widgets serve this function

There are probably two ways to look at a home value estimator tool.

One might be to simply dismiss the concept, repeating the same old argument that these estimates are not as exact as a Comparative Market Analysis.

But that misses the point.

A home value widget, more technically known as an AVM (Automated Valuation Model), is not meant to be as accurate as a CMA.

That’s not the purpose.

The real purpose is to light a spark for homeowners who might be interested in learning more about the potential value of their home and current market conditions, after they use this tool.

A home value widget is basically a way to start a conversation.

In other words, a lead generation tool.

The great benefit for brokers and agents is that with a home value widget, you don’t need to get 100 phone calls a month asking for more detailed information to make it work. After all, the products you are selling are not toasters, but $300k to $1 million dollars properties.

Just one lead that turns into a listing is huge.

Improvements in home value estimator calculations

What’s even better is that now as we enter 2019, many of the bugs and issues with calculations have improved as the machines now have more historical data and results to work with.

Home value widgets are much better than the days when they were first introduced and prices were all over the place.

Now real estate data providers how more access to property sales records, mortgage data, county records, MLS listings, property characteristics, comparable sales and other sources of information.

The machines are learning…and getting smarter with their estimates.

The computer algorithms have become more advanced and offer a better estimate of a home value’s at a certain point in time. Sure it’s not 100% accurate. The true value of a home will only be determined when someone signs a contract.

These numbers are a starting point.

The quick estimates are also helpful to compare the value of a property with the values of other homes on the same street or in the same neighborhood.

In addition, based on the amount of information provided and how current it is, algorithms have now been developed to offer a better “confidence range” to make it clear about the potential “highs and lows” with any estimate.

Consumers can see, sure here’s what a website presented as a possible value for your property, but there is also a + plus or – minus margin of error to consider.

Most consumers will understand this. They will realize these are fast, machine-based estimates and nothing like a formal CMA.

Multiple opportunities for lead generation

In fact, this presents another opportunity for agents to start a conversation.

After the results come up, offer to help explain how the calculations were created. Talk about all the factors that are involved in developing a true CMA.

There’s no denying, knowing what a home is worth is important to consumers.

An estimate is important to know not only for the sake of their investment in their home, but also for possible refinancing, home equity, homeowner’s insurance and tax assessments.

Promote the fact that you, as a local real estate agent, now provide a home value widget for local residents.

Include a note in your mailings, your email blasts and your social media posts.

People are going to trust someone who lives and works in their neighborhood for answers. They are going to trust that you can help them interpret the results since you live and breathe these local property values in your line of work.

Experts predict 2019 might be a tight year for home sales.

But this advance in real estate technology/lead gen is now available to local agents.

Can you afford not to provide a home value widget on your website, especially when the surveys show consumers want to know these estimates and will use these tools?





Public Real Estate Data A Neccesity To Overcome Seller Concerns About Negative Perceptions

public real estate dataPublic real estate data can be a major selling point when it comes to talking to listing prospects about perceptions on “good” and “bad” neighborhoods.

Here’s an amusing story that illustrates the point.

One writer talked about how the city he lived in appeared on one of those lists as “Worst Places to Live in the US.” The reseseach said unemployment was high. There were quite a few crimes. Lots of abandoned stores and office buildings.

But then, one day, the writer came across another list of “Best Places to Live in the US.” Guess what? His city appeared at the top of the list. That’s because the methodology used in the study was based on highest median income per household and fastest increase in property values.

Funny story right?

But when an agent approaches a potential seller who lives in an area that might not have the greatest reputation, it’s not very funny.

That home seller is concerned. Worried about losing value on their home. Perhaps they need to relocate quickly because of a new job and might be dreading the idea of their home languishing on the market for months.

This is where public real estate data, on your website, can be a major, selling point and a major way to alleviate that seller’s fears.

With today “big data” capabilities, aggregators of public real estate data such as Home Junction, gather an incredible amount of hyper-local statistics.

Recent property sales, market trends, school data, cost of living indices, crime statistics, and much more.

In fact, Home Junction has more than 1,000 data points that they aggregate.

Public real estate data can change perceptions

Here’s the big advantage for real estate agents.

Using Home Junction’s proprietary “Slipstream” real estate data API (Application Programming Interface), an agent can add a widget on their website to tap into this giant warehouse of data.

Now comes the best part. That agent display that data down to the micro-level – not just the county or city level, but right down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

When it comes to providing public real estate data, you can’t get any more hyper-local than that.

Here’s a potential strategy.

An agent can approach a homeowner and show them the public real estate data resources they provide on their website.

They can tell the homeowner: “You know Mr. and Mrs. Seller, according to my real estate market data, I can paint a very appealing picture to potential buyers for your property. (Oh, and by the way, I’m the only agent in this area with this wealth of public real estate data).”

For example, according to the data on my site:

  • School data – you live in a very appealing school district. From the school data on my website, I can show how there are top-ranked schools in your neighborhood. That information can include student/teacher ratios, number of students, student demographics and much more.

With my geospatial data, I can also point out the latest school attendance zones to illustrate how this property falls within the boundaries for these particular schools, including top-notch private schools and charter schools.

  • Rising Property Sales – here’s another key point. Sure, there might be some parts of the county that are depressed and not doing so well. But, in researching the public real estate data on my website, I will feature charts next to your listing showing how the number of home sales in your neighborhood is actually increasing.

I can point out to any potential buyers that not only is your home in a desirable neighborhood, but they better act fast if they want to grab a home here.

  • Home Value Estimator Tool – here’s more data the Seller will appreciate. An agent can add a Home Value Estimator Tool (AVM) on their website that will give a reliable estimate of what a particular property is worth. Included with that data, is a chart that compares a property to the market in general. The comparison will be based on Size of the Property, Price, Price per Square Foot and Age.

So, for example, the results might show that this particular home is in the upper percentile for square footage and age of the home, indicating this is a fairly new house and very large house compared to others in the area. That’s certainly a big plus as well.

  • Real estate maps – Mr. and Mrs. Seller not only will I provide a great array of positive data about your property, I can illustrate some of the key neighborhood amenities on a map in relation to the location of your home.

Take that Whole Foods store by the way. According to the map alongside your listing, it’s only 1.5 miles away. So is that great magnet school for the arts. There’s also a famous sushi restaurant over here and a very popular pilates studio right down the street.

And, let’s not forget that huge public park that is just 2 miles away.

How about access to roadways? According to the maps provided, this property is just two blocks away from the interstate. That’s huge when it comes to making a home appealing to commuters.

Paint a picture with real estate market data

Like an artist, with Home Junction’s public real estate data and geospatial technology, an agent can pull up a number of different data points to paint a very pretty picture of a home for sale.

That picture will be a huge relief to a homeowner.

It will also be a convincing argument to choose that agent – the agent who walks the talk and backs up their marketing with solid, reliable information that answers every concern a buyer might have.

After all, geography matters. So does reality.

We can see from the story above how perceptions can be twisted the wrong way.

Don’t let a misleading rap for an entire area cause problems for a specific property.

Provide this resource of accurate public real estate data to show owners how that information will help overcome any negative perceptions about their home and their neighborhood.