How To Use Neighborhood Data, Uber and Open Table To Show Off Local Amenities

neighborhood data and amenities

Use amenities in the community and neighborhood data to add impact to your presentations.

Neighborhood data and the attractiveness of a community can sometimes be the main catalysts to a deal on a home.

Are you familiar with the latest strategies to best promote community amenities?

Because some real estate agents are getting very creative when it comes to selling a neighborhood.

Here’s one idea that’s floating around.

When prospects come to an area, how about booking an Uber or Lyft ride for them to show them around? You can do that remotely with you ride app.

Oftentimes, many homebuyers never get a chance to really visit an area where they might be moving. There are time constraints, deadlines, etc.

Then there’s the other issue of unfamiliarity. People moving into a neighborhood might not know the best places to go. Or they might miss that one crucial area, say a park or other amenity, that could really be the impetus to make a move.

If the agent can’t give them a tour themselves, then book them a ride on Uber or Lyft. These car services can pick people up wherever you want and take them wherever you want them to go.

Have an Uber drop them off in a cute downtown area. Give them time to explore the trendy restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores. Soak in the location.

Then arrange for them to be picked up again.

Or, if the regional mall is the place to be, send them there.

Perhaps the local golf course has an incredible clubhouse with long views overlooking the 18th hole. Don’t want to miss that if the prospect is a golfer.

Lots of towns now provide very exciting water parks. They are massive. Some are indoors for use during the winter. Many are practically mini-Disneylands.

Why not arrange for an Uber to transport a family there?

The smiling faces on the children might just be the touchpoint that gets this couple to say “We want to make an offer.”

To really impress the prospects, you could spend a few extra dollars and order UberLUX – where the car that pulls up to pick up your customers is a Mercedes or something similar. Talk about pulling on the emotional levers.

Book a reservation for prospects at a top restaurant

There are other tech tools agents are using to sell a neighborhood.

For example, say a husband looking to relocate is coming back to town with his wife to view a property.

Using web apps like Open Table, you can book them a reservation at a top restaurant in town.

Frankly, many people might not want to have dinner with an agent, or any salesperson for that matter. Don’t take offense.

If you pick the right restaurant in the right area, you don’t need to be there. All the amenities will make your case for you.

Imagine that couple enjoying a succulent meal with a few glasses of fine wine. Then going for a stroll outside in the downtown area where the trees are lit with beautiful lights, the sounds of soothing music pours from a few clubs and beautiful old buildings portray a town with an interesting history.

That couple might just knock on your door later that night and ask, “Where do we sign?”

Neighborhood data is the other critical high-tech app

There’s another new technology out there that every real estate broker and agent should be using to facilitate how neighborhoods can be a key selling feature.

That tool for real estate agents is neighborhood data.

In the past few years, there have been incredible advances made in “big data” technology. Data aggregators such as Home Junction have the ability to gather and store an incredible amount of real estate market data of all types.

Tapping into various sources – county records, business listings, school databases, etc., Home Junction basically does all the legwork Their techies gather a massive amount of information that is important to home buyers – including neighborhood data.

The big advancement in technology is that a local broker or agent doesn’t have to have a gigantic IBM server in the back of their office to store all this stuff.

All they need to do is embed a few lines of code from a real estate data API into their website.

After that, they have access to a gigantic warehouse of data.

Slice and dice that data for each area you are farming, either by zip code, city or even down to the subdivision level.

Post that data on your website where you want it.

That neighborhood data could be:
Market trend data
• Recent property sales
School databases – this is obviously critical – school rankings, enrollment numbers, student/teacher ratios, contact information, etc.
School attendance boundaries – again, very important to families
Business listings in proximity to a property
Boundaries – county and municipal, which means taxes and other governmental impacts, such as zoning restrictions etc.
Crime statistics
Cost of Living data

Now picture this ideal scenario.

An Uber driver pulls up to the curb. He’s driving a shiny new Cadillac Escalade.

Your prospects get in the SUV and he whisks them off to a popular, Zagat-rated Italian restaurant nearby. One where there’s a month-long waiting list to get in.

A dinner reservation is already arranged for the lucky husband and wife.

They enjoy a fantastic meal.

While they dine, they look over the MLS information you provided to them about the property they are considering.

In that packet, are several printouts of neighborhood data extolling the benefits of the community.

That data can also be tailored to match the particular needs of that couple.

If they have children, then check out all this information gathered from your school data API about the local schools.

Not just public school data.

But information about private schools, religious schools. All schools.

There’s also information about charter schools and magnet schools.

And that’s current data. Not stale or outdated.

Say the couple is older. Well, perhaps your Demographic data shows that the property they are considering is in an area where many of the people are over 35. Perhaps a large number of college graduates, just like them.

They’ll like that picture.

Here’s the icing on the cake. The data desert if you will.

Home Junction also offers geospatial integration of this neighborhood data. For example, you can show all the businesses that are located within a certain distance of a property in question.

Perhaps the wife loves yoga. Well, here’s a very popular yoga studio located just one mile away from the property.

A broker or agent can also integrate all of this key data onto a map. So they can pull the property from the MLS listing and then show the schools, businesses, boundaries in question, and illustrate this data on a map.

Print out those maps and put them in the brochure.

Very strong visual impact.

After digesting that fine dining and all that key information, the couple feels great.

The town looks great. The food at this restaurant tastes great. The neighborhood data is great.

As an agent, you are basically letting the neighborhood sell itself.

Be the agent using these new high tech resources, such as Uber and Open Table, combined with a massive amount of neighborhood data from Home Junction, to make an impressive, 21st Century presentation about community amenities.

Real Estate Data Can Enhance Direct Mail And Improve Response Rates

direct mail real estateDirect mail may seem old fashioned, but when you add the new advantages available with real estate data, it’s smart to pull this strategy out of the marketing toolbox.

Sure, today it seems like all you ever hear about is social media. Even the President of the United States is enamored by his Twitter account.

The reasons are obvious. For one, it’s free. Secondly, it’s fast. All you need to do is post something and your messages instantly get served to the public on a platter of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

All those factors make social media seductive.

But is it the only effective way to reach people?

And what about its many flaws?

Don’t ignore direct mail. Most experienced real estate professionals know this medium can be super-effective for reaching the right prospects – both buyers and sellers.

What’s happens is that many people get lured into the ease of social media. But there are lots of holes in your marketing plans if you just depend on social media.

First of all, many of your prospects are not reachable through social media. They don’t follow you on Facebook. In fact, tons of people don’t even bother with Facebook. Or if they had an account, they got tired of it and never go there anymore.

Same with Twitter or Instagram.

Not only that, for the people who do use social media, the deluge of posts and information is absolutely overwhelming. It’s not a stream of information that is coming at web users today, it’s a deluge. A digital tsunami.

The information passes by an internet user so fast, experts say you have only THREE seconds to catch their attention.

Click rates on ads and posts are brutally low. A 1% click rate on ads or links is considered good.

Real estate data can create an enticing offer

Now, take the time-tested value of direct mail.

A recent study by Epsilon researchers found 98% of people check their mail daily. Talk about high touch. Just about everybody you mail to is going to see your message. You can target whoever you like, whatever neighborhood you want and how often you like (unless they request you don’t, which is unlikely).

There are no spam folders. No one is pushing your post down. People have to touch their mail and many actually enjoy doing so.

According to experts, the open rate for a mail piece is about 45%. That sure beats the web any day. And like anything, that open rate depends on the message on the envelope or post card.

Sounds great, but like any marketing campaign, how you do make it effective? How do you compete with all those other pieces of direct mail? How do you compete with other real estate agents doing the same thing?

Experts will tell you – the key to direct mail marketing is not telling people who you are, how long you’ve been an agent in the market, or how many homes you’ve sold. That’s all important, but it’s not the catalyst that will compel a consumer to act.

You need an offer. A way that will generate a response. An offer that answers questions. Solves problems.

With today’s advancements in “Big Data” technology, one of the best offers you can provide is a sampling of valuable, hyper-local real estate data. Data and statistics focused on a consumer’s particular neighborhood.

The first one’s a no-brainer.

Offer consumers a Home Value Estimator tool. You know the technology that made Zillow so popular? Guess what? Now local brokers and agents can offer the same feature on their websites.

Everybody wonders: “What is my home currently worth?”

Offering a way to answer this question is powerful.

Secondly, with a real estate data feed you can also offer to answer these related questions:

“How is my neighborhood trending as far as home sales? Are homes selling in my area? Is it flat?”

“What’s the current trend for home prices in my neighborhood? Are they increasing? Is it time for me to sell? Is it time for me to buy?”

A broker or agent can now easily acquire this information by just partnering with a real estate data provider such as Home Junction. These data providers have access to enormous databases of local information – tax rolls, boundaries, home sales, demographics, cost of living indices, crime statistics, etc. etc.

Use that information to make your direct mail pieces more effective. Give people a reason to visit your website, sign up for your newsletter or call you. Tailor the message for each particular neighborhood or demographic you are targeting.

Sure, in the past thirty years we’ve entered a new age of communication with emails, text messages and social media.

But don’t ignore a means of communication that has been around for centuries. People still read the mail. Their mailboxes are waiting for your offer. Make it a good one. Offer them valuable real estate data and information about their most precious possession.

Here are some tips and resources on direct mail marketing for real estate professionals.

Why New Technology Won’t Replace Agents But Agents Must Embrace New Technology To Survive

agent neighborhood dataHere we go again. Every once in a while, talk surfaces about technology replacing the need for real estate brokers and agents.

Look at Expedia and travel agents people say. Or look at Uber and taxi drivers.

Now that Zillow introduced their “Instant Offer” service where investors will offer to buy a home quickly, another round of articles have surfaced about the fate of real estate professionals.

Here’s the crux of the issue. There’s a big difference between booking a $10 ride downtown or a $199 airfare compared to the purchase of a $475,000 home. A humungous difference.

And Zillow’s “Instant Offer?” We all know how investors act. They buy low and sell high. How many sellers are going to accept their low offers? We will have to see.

But if you look at the latest statistics in 2016, about 95% of home sales involved the use of a licensed real estate professional. That percentage has actually increased over the years.

The one big flaw is trying to turn homes sales into commodity sales is that homes are far from anything resembling a commodity.

Just about every home is different. Every street is different. Every neighborhood is different. That’s just on the seller’s side.

When it comes to the buyer’s side, every home buyer is different. They are at different stages in their lives – first time home buyers or retirement home buyers. That are different stages in their family makeup. They are at different stages in their financial situation.

Agents can tailor real estate data for each client

The great thing about humans is that they are not made with cookie cutters. We all have different preferences and tastes. One home buyer might love to golf and would never think about sitting on a yoga mat. Another home buyer needs to sit on a yoga mat three times a week and thinks a birdie is that creature in the bird bath in the backyard.

Every market is different. Some are hot, some are not. Some have numerous amenities, others don’t.
This argument about tech replacing agents is going to continue for decades.

One key strategy brokers and agents can use to squash this talk is not to scoff at technology but embrace it.

Sure, Mr. or Mrs. Real Estate Agent may still rely on wearing out the tires driving buyers to look at homes or scuffing up the shoes walking people through open houses.

But the savvy agents will also be immersed in the latest technology that makes them a better agent and resource for the worried home buyer and home seller. That might include drones and virtual reality videos.

And take real estate data for example. Sure, with the web, home buyers can search all over the place for neighborhood information. They can look up crime statistics, school information, and demographics. Or they can turn to national websites.

But, how great would it be if the local broker and agent already had that information available on their website?

Because here’s a fly in the Internet ointment. There is soooo much information pouring out of the web these days, that it’s difficult to tell what’s credible and what is not.

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s an open source of information. Anybody can post relevant content. The bane of the Internet is that it’s an open source of information. Anybody can post content and pretend it’s reliable.

Look at all the fake news out there. How many articles have you seen with the fake headline about how “Oprah did this” or “Obama did that.” Fake. Fake. Fake.

People don’t have time for fake.

If you as a real estate professional, gather up all the relevant information a homeowner might need, then you take away the need for a buyer to conduct their own searches (along with the frustration).

With data providers such as Home Junction, a local broker or agent can literally provide everything a consumer needs:
– Recent Home Sales
– Trends in Home Prices
– School Information
– Crime Statistics
– Demographic Information
– Local Businesses within a certain radius
– Boundaries
– Transportation hubs
– And more…

In essence, a broker or agent can make it seem like when a consumer visits their office, they are also visiting a gigantic data warehouse of hyper-local information.

(However, instead of having banks and banks of high-end servers in a room, an agent would simply load a simple real estate data API with a few lines of code onto on their website. Home Junction would actually gather and manage all that data on their website. It doesn’t get any better than that).

Agents and brokers can also embrace the latest geo-spatial technology.

Present maps on their website showing property listings from MLS integrated into a neighborhood database.

Location is still critical in real estate.

Show where the schools are located compared to properties in question. Show the golf courses and the yoga studios as well.

Here’s the big flaw in all this talk about the end of the real estate professional.

Buying a home, especially in today’s market where prices are booming, is still a big, scary decision. In fact, there is so much real estate content out there that it becomes overwhelming at times.

Consumers are still going to need to hold the hand of a dependable real estate broker and agent.

The smart agent or broker will have their other hand on their smartphone or laptop, ready to access a wealth of high-tech services such as real estate data feeds that they can provide with confidence and credibility.

Real Estate Data Change By Major Website Reveals A BIG Opportunity For Local Brokers And Agents

big real estate data

A very interesting twist on real estate data took place on one of those national real estate websites recently that might represent an Achilles Heel type scenario for brokers and agents.

The twist involves the site’s re-positioning of their neighborhood data from less noticeable areas to a more prominent area near the top of the page.

In fact, on that site, consumers can easily switch back and forth from the listing…to the neighborhood data.

Why the change to put more emphasis on neighborhood real estate data?

For one, the mega company conducted a survey and found that a large majority of homeowners consider the neighborhood to be one of their top priorities when searching for a property. More than ever. In fact, many of them would be willing to give up certain amenities such as a pool or a finished basement for a great neighborhood instead.

Funny. We knew that all along.

That’s why Home Junction has focused on becoming one of the leading providers of hyper-local real estate data to broker and agents.

Use real estate data just like the major websites

But here’s where the Achilles Heel part comes in.

Local brokers and agents don’t have to look at these mega-real estate sites in envy, wishing they could provide the same valuable neighborhood data as they do.

Now, with modern Big Data technology, it’s possible for an agent in Boondock, Iowa, to offer superb, high-quality, accurate real estate data just like the big boys do.

Brokers and agents can parley that local information just like the national sites to generate their own real estate leads. But what’s great about this functionality, they get to keep all their own leads. They don’t have to pay a nickel for them.

And they can also use this neighborhood real estate data to build up their own brand as the go-to company in their market.

They can position themselves as the place with local knowledge. A big advantage every broker or agent should be exploiting against the larger sites that are based somewhere out there in the wilderness and certainly not on Main Street in Your Town USA.

Years ago the process of gathering real estate data may have seen daunting. Pull information from there. Grab information from the local Realtor’s association site (just like every other agent can do.).

But that’s not the case in today’s atmosphere of technological empowerment. Just like you can shoot a photo or a video from your phone, you can also post key neighborhood data on your website.

By just embedding a few lines of code, an agent can pull in reams of hyper-local information and display this data on any page they want.

That includes Recent Home Sales, Sale Price Trends, Local Schools, Crime Ratings, Demographics, Cost of Living Indices, Area Businesses. A wealth of stuff that homebuyers want to know (and sellers want to see next to their listings).

Because here’s another benefit that local real estate data provides. A powerful marketing tool. Don’t just show property listings in your email blasts and social media posts.

Also, show local trends in real estate. Display charts pointing out the direction of home sales each quarter. Show more charts indicating the direction of home prices (talk about a way to get sellers off the fence).

Become a resource for local business people to check the makeup of the community as far as demographics. Give journalists and bloggers some interesting tidbits on the number of college graduates in a given market. Or, let them know how the cost of food and apparel in one market compares to another.

The change that this national real estate website made is very, very revealing. They obviously see the importance of hyper-local real estate data. Neighborhood data. Their research backs it up.

Now, as a local real estate broker or agent, make your move with your own real estate data. You now have the advantage to make yourself more of a local resource than any website based thousands of miles away.