This Labor Day, Consider The Impact Of Real Estate Professionals On Jobs And The Economy

For this Labor Day, one might reflect on how brokers and agents in the real estate business have a major impact on jobs and the US economy in general.

Traditionally when you think of the American labor force you typically see images of factory workers or construction workers or maybe even restaurant workers.

But what about real estate brokers and agents?

As we can see by the real estate data, this is a BIG industry. That generates quite a few jobs.

Number of home sales and their impact

Look at these numbers from the National Associaton of Realtors:

  • As of July 2019, there were 1.38 million NAR members
  • It is estimated there are two million active real estate licenses in the US
  • They work for 86,004 real estate brokerage firms
  • Those professionals sold 5.34 million existing homes in 2018.
  • There are about 121 million total occupied housing units in the US.

Now, let’s talk about the impact.

First of all, two million people are directly involved in the selling of homes and other properties. That’s a big labor force.

Secondly, being responsible for the sale of 5.5 million homes in one year is a major accomplishment.

Think about the rippling effect of those sales.

All those sales mean billions of dollars in transactions.

Those transactions have many side effects besides just putting a family into a house.

For example, look at all the parties involved and how those sales support so many occupations.

Besides the brokers and agents, you have a support staff that works at those realty firms.

Then the bankers and mortgage brokers that fund the sale. Don’t forget the credit companies either. Or the property appraisers,

Prior to a sale, you have contractors, landscapers, repair people, painters and home stagers helping to get a property in saleable shape.

Once a deal is made, then the home inspectors, title companies and movers get involved.

Think about the money spent after a home is acquired. Again, putting contractors and painters to work.

There’s the impact of dollars spent on new appliances and furniture. Think of all the retail employees and factory workers impacted by those expenditures.

Then you have all the ancillary companies and their employees that are involved in real estate.

For example, technology companies like this one, Home Junction Inc., which provides property data, WordPress real estate themed websites, WordPress plugins, MLS APIs and other services for real estate companies.

Heck, there’s even a rise now in the demand for drone pilots.

All this activity adds up. Creates a large number of paychecks.

And it all starts with a broker or agent.

Profile of real estate agents

Here are a few statistics about those real estate professionals:

According to, 68% of Realtors are female. The average Realtor is a 54-year old female who attended college and is a homeowner.

Most work about 35 hours per week on average.

The medium gross income of Realtors is $41,800 in 2018. In 2017 it was $39,800.

About 87% are independent contractors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed different numbers, based on ALL real estate professionals. They are working from a broader real estate segment than just NAR members.

Their data shows 1.56 million in the real estate workforce with 1.1 million females and 1.13 million males.

They cite the average wage at $61,081.

And they project a growth rate of 2.17%.

What all this data shows is that this is certainly a group that works hard for their money.

The actions of brokers and agents certainly have a major impact throughout many diverse parts of the economy.

As that famous quote by Elliott Burdett goes, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.”

This Labor Day, it’s certainly worth noting that real estate professionals are one group that continually makes something happen in the US economy and support quite a few workers and their families.

Why You Need Real Estate Market Data On Your Website To Earn The Trust Of Millennials

real estate market data artMillennials are now the hottest home buying segment of the population and there are several reasons why adding real estate market data to your website is a necessity when dealing with this group.

First of all, hopefully, you are paying attention to the Millennial generation. That’s the huge bubble of consumers created in the 1980s to 2000 by that first huge bubble of consumers – the Baby Boomers.

This giant segment of consumers, estimated at 76 million strong, has now entered the home buying stage of their lives. It was a long journey to get there. For one, they lived through the Great Recession when the economy took a nosedive and they watched the price of their parents’ homes go downward as well.

But that was in 2008. The economy has recovered. Millennials are starting to make some money. They are tired of paying rent. Rents that continue to go up. They finally see the value of investing in a house. They know mortgage rates are low but they are noticing how they are starting to creep upward.

Research shows 80% of Millennials want to purchase a home. They make up 66% of new home buyers and more than a third of all home buyers in general. Many definitely plan to buy a home in the next five years.

How great is that?

Real estate professionals have to love the fact that a big part of the population is now eager to purchase a home.

It took a while to get there. Because this is a skeptical bunch.

This is also a wired bunch of consumers, that are digitally savvy.

That means they know they have the ability to use those little devices in their pockets to find the questions they want to be answered. They trust their own abilities, instead of relying on hype, or in this day and age, fake information.

For that reason, many facets of old marketing models don’t work with this group.

In fact, in a study titled “Engaging Millennials, Trust and Attention Survey” nearly 85% of Millennials say they don’t trust traditional advertising.

Uh oh. That means all those newspaper ads, direct mail pieces, and radio spots are not as appealing as they once were, at least to this audience.

Because Millennials are more interested in content than hype.

According to one study, Millennials are 84% more likely to look for and trust experts than ads.

And, since they have been wired since birth, they know how to find information and people with expertise on the web.

Whoa. That’s a tough crowd.

But the great thing about the digital age, especially for brokers and agents, is that it works both ways.

Sure, people today have incredible access to an abundance of knowledge through their iPads, laptops and smartphones.

But in this era of Big Data Technology, a local broker or agent has the ability to provide a tremendous amount of that reliable, trustworthy content directly to Millennials from their website.

(And frankly, one could argue that today, that Generation X before the Millennials is just as wired and even many Baby Boomers are the same way. After all, it was Boomers Like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that made the digital age happen).

Real estate market data tech goes local

After all these advances with personal computers and smartphones, it took a while for big data technology to catch up. For one, the pipelines (broadband and wifi) to distribute that data had to be created

But today, brokers and agents can easily add a few snippets of code and tap into giant databases of local real estate market data and offer that critical content to Millennials themselves.

National data aggregators such as Home Junction have the ability to gather massive amounts of that real estate related content. They have the expertise to access public records, MLS listings, property sales data, US Census results and dozens of other sources.

Some of the records they can pull include:

  • Recent property sales
  • Characteristics about properties – eg square footage, number of beds, baths, etc.
  • School data – the number of students enrolled, number of teachers, student demographics
  • Area amenities, eg restaurants, parks, golf courses, etc.
  • Cost of living indices
  • Real estate demographic data, eg gathered from sources such as US Census data
  • And hundreds of other detailed datasets

Home Junction’s data developers created an API (Application Programming Interface) they call “Slipstream” to facilitate the transmission of this data from their massive national database to a local agent’s website.

These real estate data APIs or school data APIs “feed” a local agent in Anywhere USA hundreds of datasets about their particular market. That agent can decide where and how they want to display that data on their own website.

What does all this have to do with marketing to Millennials?


This is the arena where Millennials like to play. Finding their own answers to their questions.

If they want to know about Market Trends in an area, you want them to go to your website.

If they are thinking about starting a family and want to research schools, you want them to go your website.

If they are checking out crime statistics for a neighborhood, you want them to go to your website.

Remember, these people are buyers.

Data has tremendous appeal to Millennials

You don’t want them venturing all over the web looking for answers, perhaps visiting one of the large real estate portals, and letting some other agent capture that lead.

You want them on your website and you want to generate that lead for yourself.

Use the real estate market data on your website to promote your website as a resource for Millennials.

Don’t just post listings on your Facebook page or Twitter posts, but also promote real estate market data as well.

Show Millennials charts pointing out trends in home sales in different neighborhoods. Point out to them how home prices in one area of town are not moving as fast as other areas which might indicate a good buying opportunity.

(This is especially critical at the moment when home for sales are scarce, which naturally has occurred because guess what, this massive shift in Millennials regarding home ownership).

If you send out an email, send out valuable content to entice Millennials back to your website to learn more.

Even on your mailings, offer to create a custom presentation for Millennials with all the data they want to know for their particular needs – school data if they are starting a family, demographic data if they are interested in moving to a neighborhood where there are lots of professionals like themselves, cost of living information if they are concerned about expenses, and so on.

If you provide all of this data to Millennials, they will see you as an expert. The expert on the markets they are considering.

Because here’s another fantastic factor when dealing with Millennials: they also like to read user-generated content and reviews.

If you use your wealth of hyper-local real estate market data to impress them, Millennials will express their satisfaction in positive reviews on Google or Yelp. They will share your information on Facebook or Twitter with their friends. They will forward those emails to others.

Sure, marketing to Millennials might be hard. But if you do it right, it could be incredibly rewarding with referrals coming to you at the speed of an electron.

The game has changed. Technology has changed. Attitudes have changed. Marketing to prospects has changed. But, fortunately, some aspects of marketing, such as adding real estate market data to your website, have gotten easier.









Real Estate Data Providers Can Make A Big Difference With Difficult Homes

messy houseReal estate data providers can be a real lifesaver when it comes to prepping a home for sale, especially when a seller is strapped for cash or not the tidiest.

Sure, every broker and agent would love to see a seller upgrade that ancient kitchen.

Or, for a homeowner to remodel an ugly bathroom.

But how willing are sellers to dish out the money for upgrades?

Also factor in today’s marketplace, where it’s hard to find a reliable contractor.

Who charges reasonable prices. And happens to be available during the right time frame.

Normal prep costs, such as painting and minor repairs, can run into the thousands. About $3800 in most markets.

But what about major improvements?

According to a recent article in, the national average cost to remodel a kitchen is $20,000.

To upgrade a bathroom, a seller will have to spend $9,000 on average.

A new roof? Expect to pay $20,000 on average.

Replace the floors with wood floors – $4,000. Laminate floors will be about half that cost.

Not too many sellers are eager to part with that kind of money. They expect the agent instead, to perform miracles.

So what can an agent do when they have a home with a kitchen from 1950, a crummy bathroom, worn out floors or a leaking room?

One strategy is to turn to real estate data providers such as Home Junction.

Real estate data providers offer a different view of a property

Because while the home might not be in the best shape, the real estate market data tied into that property could be the catalyst that turns that old horse into a Preakness winner.

Home Junction is an aggregator of millions of bits of data that is all relevant to the purchase of a property.

The company has gathered detailed, in-depth information from a number of sources to create detailed, in-depth datasets about properties, neighborhoods and schools.

Say for example, Mr. and Mrs. Lazy Homeowner don’t want to bother fixing the shutters hanging sideways near the front windows.

Or, they don’t really want to clean the rug in the living room with all the wine stains.

They use the bathrooms every day to get ready for work. Why should they clean them for an open house?

When an agent takes a potential buyer to a property like this, they know they have a challenge.

But that’s where the real estate data providers can be a lifesaver.

Sure, Mr. and Mrs. Reluctant Homebuyers, this house does need work.

But, have you seen the latest chart on my website for Recent Home Sales. They are trending up. Like Space X rocket trajectory upward. You might reconsider.

Yes, the house is not pretty.

The agent knows the young couple have a young child with one more on the way.

But if you check the school data on my website (provided by Home Junction’s proprietary school data API coding), you will see that Charming Middle School down the street is a top-rated school with a fantastic ratio of students to teachers.

Back at his or her office, the agent is able to show the couple the demographics of that particular neighborhood.

The information (provided by Home Junction’s real estate data API) shows this particular neighborhood has lots of young families with children. Plenty of friends for their children to play with. Plenty of moms and dads to meet at the local park.

Check out the Home Value Estimator on the agent’s website. The results show that particular home is in the lower 20% range when it comes to price per square foot. If you want to live in this neighborhood with those great schools, this house is a bargain.

Agents don’t control condition of the home, but can control the data picture

As agents know, the home buying experience is an emotional one. If a couple walks into a home and sees walls marked by crayons, a towel rack barely hanging from the bathroom wall and a kitchen with puke-colored cabinets, it’s gonna be a tough sell.

But those items can be repaired. Those are cosmetic factors. Items an agent will try their best to get out of the minds of buyers.

Or, they might be talking to sellers who need to get out a home quickly or don’t have the funds to replace those ugly kitchen cabinets. Or maybe they are sellers, who tried their best, agreed to paint the walls, and the crayon marks still show through.

Those crayon marks are only a small part of the picture.

There’s a bigger picture out there. The picture you paint with the information you gathered from real estate data providers such as Home Junction and embedded on your website.

The numbers picture. And boundaries as well. All those datasets that come together to show this is a desirable property in a rising sales marketplace.

Priced below other homes that recently sold in this market. With a low crime rate. In the right school attendance zones. Located in an area with a low tax rate compared to other areas that are within city limits.

This data is so powerful, an agent could almost print it out and tape it over the crayon marks on the wall and say, “Which image is more important to you? Those red scribble marks or this chart showing property sales moving quickly in this community?”

There’s emotion and there are facts. When emotions are running in one direction, real estate market data can help counter those feelings and point them in another.

That’s why in this day and age, before you encounter your next Mr. Messy Homeowner,  it’s smart to get in touch with real estate data providers such as Home Junction.







Real Estate Data Gives Agents The Best Resource For Multiple Touchpoints

real estate data touchpointsReal estate data is a tremendous tool when it comes to touchpoints.

What are touchpoints? As everyone in any type of sales knows, it’s very rare to land a customer on the first try. So you need to reach out to them multiple times in multiple ways.

Imagine how important this strategy is today when consumers are touched, let’s say bombarded, by so many messages and promotions daily.

Used to be, people were hit by promotions and advertisements every day by traditional media – TV or newspapers in the morning, radio on the way to work and then TV in the evening.

Then the computer and the internet came along. Consumers were subject to a daily barrage of banner ads and promotional emails.

Now, along comes the iPhone and the smartphone. In this day and age, consumers are now under constant attack from ads and messages on their phones, computers, TVs, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc., etc., etc. on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even their own voicemail.

Let’s call it what it really is – clutter.

So, how is a real estate broker or agent going to cut through all that clutter to get their message across?

First of all, hoping a one-time promotion lands a deal in one-shot is really like hoping that unicorns will come flying down from the clouds with signed home sale contracts.

There’s too much noise. A promotion sent out today is soon engulfed in a torrent of promotional messages that will follow in the next 24 hours. How can you catch the attention of someone in that river of information?

Today, marketers have to have a plan for repeated touchpoints.

But as a real estate agent or broker, how do you come up with six or seven exciting, appealing, attention-getting messages for each prospect?

You can’t keep telling them about the same property over and over.

First of all, there’s nothing new in that message.

Secondly, they are going to see that you are just going to keep hammering them with the same message over and over.

Real estate data provides compelling content

But what if you were armed with a full array of information on market conditions. National bulk real estate data providers such as Home Junction now a full database of hyper-local information to brokers and agents.

With advances in “big data” technology, a single agent in Pahokee, Fla.,  sitting alone at their desk can embed a few lines of code onto their website that gives them access (and visitors to their website) to a gigantic amount of information pulled from local county and municipal records and other sources.

That information includes – Recent Property Sales, charts that display local trends in Home Sales and Home Prices, Comparison Charts for where a property stands in relation to other properties in that market, School Data, Demographics, Crime Statistics, Cost of Living Indices, Government Boundaries and much more.

Talk about a source of information for multiple touchpoints!

Talk about an easy well of data that agents can turn to for constant promotions!

Talk about promotions that are sure to catch the attention of prospects, say for example a breaking news alert on changes in average home prices in XYZ neighborhood!

This is the type of content that cuts through all that clutter.

This content is also gathered not just on the county or city level, but all the way down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

Someone who is looking to move into XYZ neighborhood is going to be very interested in what an agent has to tell them about that neighborhood.

There are plenty of touchpoints to deploy

The most obvious way to transmit this data is by email.

Create compelling subject lines: “See the latest home price data for XYZ!”

But why not use all the different media out there that consumers interact with as well?

Reach them on social media. Post a notice on Facebook or Twitter announcing  “News alert – latest market update released on XYZ neighborhood. Click to read the full report.”

Contact them with a visual promotion through Instagram. Send out a visual chart showing rising trend lines in XYZ neighborhood for home sales.

Put an ad in the newspaper – contact this agent for a full and FREE market analysis.

Talk to editors at the newspaper. They are always looking for story ideas. They don’t know local real estate like you do.

Use this data to point out interesting trends taking place in their readership area.

Same with radio. Run some promotions on the radio with offers to provide a full market analysis to listeners.

And, there’s nothing as powerful as a good old-fashioned phone call. With real estate data from Home Junction, you can offer a reason for people to listen to you. Or, in this day and age of voice mail, a reason to return your call.

What would be more appealing?

“Hello, this is Andy the real estate agent. Are you finally ready to buy (or sell) a house?”

Or, “Hello, this is Andy. I’ve just received the latest data about market conditions in the XYZ neighborhood that you were interested in and I think you will find this information very interesting. Please call me, I would be glad to share it with you.”

You have all these touchpoints to reach out to prospects with. Over and over again.

You have the resource to make these contact points effective. A data feed from Home Junction will continually supply you with fresh content and fresh ideas you can use for repeatedly.

Every day, there is literally an avalanche of promotions coming at consumers.

A real estate broker and agent today must equip themselves with the right tools to push and scrape their way past all those promotions to get compelling, relevant information to their customers.

Hype and gimmicks might catch someone’s attention, but you can only fool a consumer once. If you want to continually reach out to consumers you need to provide something real and reliable.

Real estate data is that tool.










Real Estate Data Can Make You An Expert In Any Niche Overnight

real estate data nicheWhen it comes to niches for brokers and agents, advances in the ability to deliver real estate data feeds to a website can give someone instant expertise in any area they choose.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of real estate agents. According to the Association of Real Estate Law Officials, there are some 2 million real estate licenses that are active in the US.

When any business faces a situation where the field is crowded, experts say the smart strategy is to find a smaller niche and dominate it.

Sure, real estate agents must be all things to all people. Sometimes they have clients with children who want to know about schools. Other times they have working professionals as clients who are concerned about commuting times. Or perhaps they have some clients who have a strong lifestyle interest in golf or yoga.

But this is standard for every agent.

The savvy agents know to pick a particular niche and really dig down deep into the details. They make themselves the go-to expert for that niche. So if a consumer is interested in waterfront properties for example, that agent with the reputation of knowing the waterways will prevail.

You can basically carve a niche out of anything – waterfront property, golf communities, equestrian properties, multi-family housing, etc.

Then there’s the geographic niche where an agent can be the one with the most knowledge and referrals – it could be Desirable Acres Subdivision over there or the popular Hit and Giggle Golf Community over here.

To become an expert in that niche, an agent needs to know the specific issues confronted by people who live in those areas or desire to move into those communities.

Take waterfront properties for example. There are several particular issues that people are concerned about. Flood insurance is one. Where they are located in the flood plain is another. Historical data on river levels could be another. What about dockage? Or how about the boating – what is the water depth and what size boats can navigate those waters.

Or take golf communities. What are the issues that people living on golf courses encounter? What are the annual membership dues? What about initial golf certificates? What shape is the golf course in? Is there a major redevelopment project on the horizon that will result in major assessments for each home? How does that golf course rank compared to others in the area? Is the public allowed to play there, etc.?

Learning about issues does take time and research.

Get a jump on that niche with real estate data

But there is one strategy that can quickly give you a leg up on the competition – real estate data.

Big data providers such as Home Junction can instantly give a broker or agent data feeds for any particular county, town, zip code and even down to the neighborhood level.

Data down to the neighborhood level is absolutely critical. That’s the bread and butter on how a broker or agent can start carving out their own niche.

Take the fictional Pleasant Oaks subdivision.

With the easy to install Home Junction Slipstream API, a broker or agent can arrange for a data feed for a ton of information about Pleasant Oaks, all in easy to search and easy to digest chunks.

That agent can display this critical real estate data right on their site – Recent Property Sales, Home Price Trends, Demographics, Crime Statistics, Nearby School Information, Cost of Living Indices and much more.

How cool would it be to be able to tell clients interested in Pleasant Oaks that your charts show home prices are steadily increasing, the makeup of residents in that area are mostly college-educated people in their 40s, crime is low and give the breakdown of students compared to teachers at the high school down the road?

That’s powerful stuff. That shows you know your niche.

Home Junction goes even further. Their database also contains accurate boundary information. So you can show potential buyers that Pleasant Oaks is located just outside city limits so the taxes there are less, and the community is located in one of the best school districts in the state.

Go geo-spatial

There’s more. Here’s the proverbial icing on the real estate data cake.

With Home Junction’s geo-spatial map plugin, a broker or agent can pull up homes listed in the MLS database using their accurate IDX and integrate those listings with a map.

The broker or agent can then show clients a list of properties in Pleasant Oaks and their relative distance to a host of important amenities.

If the clients have kids, show them the location of the nearest schools on the map. If they are golfers, show them how close several popular golf courses are located near the property. Maybe they are foodies (and who doesn’t like to eat a great meal). Show them on the map the location of several popular restaurants – not on the other side of town, but just a mile or two down the road.

A niche doesn’t have to be a geographic area. Slice and dice the data for a particular market – such as equestrian properties. Pull up data that compares on equestrian community with another in regard to home price trends, demographics, boundaries, etc.

This detailed data is very convincing. Showing rather than telling is also impressionable. Psychologically, a broker or agent is embedding a belief in the mind of their clients that, “This agent really knows their stuff about this particular community.”

Sure, there might be other issues involved. Maybe a major road will be expanded nearby. Or the state is adding another train stop. There are plans to build a major retail center with a Whole Foods next year.

Those are other issues that a broker or agent should know and research if they are going to promote their expertise in this particular niche.

But embedding this hard data onto your website can literally set an broker or agent apart in an instant.

The world and society are becoming more diversified. There aren’t just four TV channels any more, there are hundreds. People don’t just go to theater to watch movies, they also view them on Netflix, Amazon, AOL and other sources. There are dozens of different niches in music.

Technology is a major drive for this diversification. The smart broker or agent will use today’s technology regarding real estate data to dominate their own particular niches.

The amazing development today, is that with a real estate data feed, you can become an expert in a niche (or multiple niches) in just a few days. Seize the data and you will seize the day!





Real Estate Forecast for 2018 Is A Positive One, But Is Your Real Estate Website Maximized For This Windfall?

real estate forecastWhile the real estate forecast for 2018 is looking very bright indeed, are you still using a clunky old website from years ago?

Have you seen the data? All indicators are a “go” when it comes to the economy in 2018.

Finally. After suffering through an anemic economy with slow growth since the Great Recession, it’s great to see the economy will be back on all cylinders next year.

Home prices are strong. Tax cuts are coming. Employment is at an all-time low. The stock market is at all-time highs.

Whatever your political affiliation, if you are a real estate professional, this next year your main concern should be to grab a big chunk of that housing market because it should be a good one.

As everybody in the biz knows, perception is reality.

Right now, consumers are feeling good. And they should.

Let’s take the numbers for GDP.

If you recall, back in  2008, during the Great Recession, the GDP dropped to us minus -.3%. That’s not good at all. Nobody is thinking about buying a house in that climate. They are just worried they will have a job to keep a roof over their heads.

The following year, 2009, was a real nightmare. GDP was minus -2.8%.

Then we had:

2010: 2.5%

2011:  1.6%

2012:  2.2%

2013: 1.7%

2014: 2.6%

2015: 2.9%

2016: 1.5%

Sluggish, especially when the GDP is below 2%. China by contrast continues to roar in the 6-7% GDP growth rates.

Now let’s look at the end of this year.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP in the 2nd quarter of 2017 was 3.1%. That’s certainly an upsurge from 1.5%.

It’s gets better. For the 3rd quarter, the GDP grew to 3.2%.

Those are certainly signs that an economy is taking off. A very promising environment for a positive real estate forecast indeed.

Mortgage rate forecast predicts low rates

Let’s look at housing. We like to use numbers from the economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association. Because after all, most people won’t be buying a home without a mortgage. So these economists certainly have their ears to the ground when it comes to forecasting home sales

And their forecast is an optimistic one.

First off, mortgage rates will continue to stay relatively low, which of course, is fantastic for home sales. (Do you remember the days of 9% mortgage rates? Wasn’t anybody buying homes then.)

Here is their 2018 forecast for loan rates per quarter for a 30-year fixed mortgage:

Q1 – 4.3

Q2 – 4.5

Q3 – 4.7

Q4 – 4.8 (forecast)

That’s an increase from the third quarter of 2017 when rates were 3.9%. But as we said, 4.5% is certainly better than 9%. It’s a great window for borrowers. And as rates go up, they will certainly see that window start to close. So they know it’s time to get in a home fast.

MBA real estate forecast calls for growth

What does the MBA say about home sales?

They predict total Existing Home Sales for 2018 will be:

Q1 – 5,486,000

Q2 – 5,604,000

Q3 – 5,702,000

Q4 – 5,725,000

These were the existing home sales figures from 2017 (they are lower).

Q1- 5,620,000

Q2- 5,563,000

Q3 – 5,393,000

Q4 – 5,394,000 (forecast)

If you are a broker or agent, these are nice numbers. The real estate forecast for this next year is sunny, with little chance of obstacles.

Which begs the question?

Is your website ready for 2018? Or are you still using a boring old website from a few years back with a limited amount of information and an old-fashioned design.

Have you done everything you can to maximize your website for the housing windfall that is forecast for next year?

Maybe not. The first thing you should do is call Home Junction Inc. We are the real estate website experts.

In a nutshell, here’s how we can optimize your real estate website

1. WordPress platform – if your website is not using the No. 1 content management website in the world, then you might be in trouble. WordPress is the undisputed winner when it comes to websites. The website is coded to be super-friendly for users. You don’t need a webmaster to add content. The process is extremely simple.

You can add photos, text, listings, testimonials, whatever, in seconds. Display all those home listings in beautiful, bright, big image galleries. Fill that website with plugins and important real estate data.

2. Search Engine Rankings – Which leads us to the second benefit of a WordPress website – Google and Bing love this platform. It is coded in a way that is very easy for their bots to read and rank. And when consumers hit their computers next year and start searching for homes (which as we know 90% of them do), you will want to be in the top rankings to capture those consumers.

3. Real estate data – today’s home buyers live on the Internet. Millenials were born on the Internet. But even Baby Boomers will turn to their laptops, iPhones and iPads to look for homes. Those consumers are looking for information, and you certainly don’t want them to look elsewhere for Property Sales, Home Sales Trends, Local Schools, Demographics, Crime Statistics, Cost of Living Indices, etc.

You want to be able to show home buyers you are the No.1 resource in their local market. Home Junction can supply you with the hyper-local data to make that happen. (You can use that same argument to attract sellers – show them how you have more local, relevant information than your competition).

4. More enhancements – The staff at Home Junction are the experts when it comes to real estate websites. They’ve developed thousands of them. They know what works and what doesn’t. For that reason, they have a full array of tools – WordPress plugins, SEO services, Lead Generation opportunities, Home Value Estimators, Geo-Spatial Widgets, two IDX platforms for pulling in MLS listings and much more.

What’s missing from your site? Are you doing all you can to capture leads? Could you be left behind by others with better websites?

If the economy in 2018 is going to be hitting on all cylinders, then you need to be sure your website is hitting on all cylinders next year as well.

As you can see by historic data, the economy is not always on the side of brokers and agents. Next year, the real estate forecast is that it will be a banner year for home sales.

Call us to make sure you are ready to lead the charge into that forecast.



home winter

Tis’ The Season To Thank The People Who Help Families Find A Home

home winter

This holiday season when people gather in their homes to celebrate and visit with friends and family, it might be appropriate to take a minute and thank the professionals who helped them get there – real estate brokers and agents.

While real estate is a business, at the end of the day (and the year) everybody knows the process is very emotional.

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments brokers and agent receive from satisfied family homeowners.

“Thank  you very much for helping me with my first home. You made it very easy and enjoyable. Thank you!”

“As parents we can’t thank you enough for all your honesty, integrity, guidance and kindness. You are a true gem in your profession.”

“We all are so greatly appreciative for all you did to assist us in finding our home where we can thrive as a family.”

“We cannot imagine not having you along to help us through this. Thank you for replacing bad memories with good ones. Your overwhelming generosity has left our family speechless.”

“Thanks again for all of your time, your kindness and your knowledge. We really got blessed.”

“I wish I had two more houses for you to sell.”

“Thank you for showing me so many homes. I am so glad I found a home for my children and me.”

“After settling into our beautiful new home, I wanted to take the time to thank you and your staff for the first-rate service you provided to my family.”

“As a widow and senior citizen, I was indeed fortunate in having you as my agent.”

“Thank you for helping me pick out this home. My family could not be happier!”

“Your knowledge of the area, diligence and attention to detail made this transaction worry-free.”

“For our agent, this is a career not just a job. He focuses on continuing education, learning current market trends, house staging and everything else involved with real estate. He is a true professional. Our family is so grateful.”

Home for the holidays

Agents work long and hard hours to help families make the transition into a home. Many times all the effort behind the scenes is not recognized or appreciated. That goes with the territory.

Those in the business can take pride in knowing, this holiday season, they played a part in helping all those families gather in a home they helped them acquire. That is satisfying in itself.

This holiday season, the team at Home Junction would also like to thank all of our customers, website visitors and readers.

News reports all point to a very robust 2018. That’s encouraging news and something to look forward to next year.

But this next week, appreciate all you’ve achieved this past year as a real estate professional and enjoy this time in your own home with your own family. And maybe think for a moment about all of your clients who are enjoying the same experience.

Happy holidays!


How Real Estate Data Can Help You Become An Effective Publicist

real estate publicistHere are some ideas on how to use real estate data to become your own publicist or to hire one and help make them more effective.

Why a publicist? Isn’t that someone only a Hollywood celeb would employ?

Not necessarily. Generating publicity on a local level can be a powerful marketing tool for local real estate brokers and agent.

It’s a way to break out of the pack and make your name stand out in the local community.

Today, more than ever, there are an incredible number of content providers out there.

Here’s one way to look at it. Media outlets – newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, magazine and local bloggers are all looking for story ideas.

In many cases not only is the medium looking for story angles, but every reporter at that company probably has a blog and a social media account and ALL of them are looking for story ideas as well.

Social media can be a hungry beast. If those reporters want to build up followings, they know they must post interesting content on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

Fortunately,  news about the home market is an important topic.

But here’s the key. To approach any reporter, you must have an interesting story to present to them.

You can’t just call up a journalist and say, “Hey do a story about me.”

One, that’s not a particularly interesting angle and two, every business in town is probably doing the same thing.

This is where hyper-local real estate data gives you a tremendous edge.

Create appealing story angles with real estate data

Big Data providers such as Home Junction gather thousands of data points relevant to real estate from sources all over the country. County courthouse records. School information. Third party providers. Etc.  Their researchers know where to find the relevant data and how to aggregate it.

Home Junction then created a proprietary software API program called Slipstream that feeds the data to any website on the internet.

Therefore, a local agent in Oshkosh can embed a few bits of code on their website and tap into this gigantic database of real estate data about their local market, zip code or even neighborhood.

This is very interesting content to consumers.

Take Recent Property Sales for example. Where is the market heading? Are homes selling in the county? Is there one particular part of the county that is outselling other parts of the county? What’s the breakdown for the neighborhoods in a newspaper’s or magazine’s particular readership area?

The possibilities get even better.

Reporters are generalists. A general assignment reporter might cover a crime story one day and an interview about an interesting character in town the next. Same goes for business reporters. They might report on the construction of a new shopping center today and interview a local CEO tomorrow.

They have general knowledge about a subject. But even a real estate reporter does not have the same expertise as a local real estate agent who works in the trenches every day.

You are the real estate expert in your area. And when you embed this relevant real estate data into your website, it makes you even more of a local expert.

One strategy you can use is to use your market knowledge to interpret that data.

Perhaps point out trends taking place in certain neighborhoods. Compare one local neighborhood to another. Compare one local neighborhood to a major neighborhood in another part of the country.

The possibilities are endless.

When you call a reporter armed with some unique type of information, not just hearsay, but backed up by a credible source (in this case a national real estate data provider such as Home Junction), people will listen.

How to get publicity

One idea you might consider to accelerate your inroads into local media is to hire a local public relations person. Doesn’t have to be full-time. And it doesn’t have to be long-term.

That person can immediately help you with the contacts they have established with newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, etc.

They know who is hungry for story ideas. They have established a rapport with many of these people so that she can call them and the editors will know his or her ideas are credible and worth listening to.

Perhaps they can’t get you an interview with a local newspaper. But maybe they can get you (and your data) featured in a local magazine. That magazine might have a readership of 10,000 people and a major email subscriber list as well. Getting your name published in front of that many potential customers is certainly valuable, especially since it is FREE.

Once your foot is in the door, there is always an opportunity for more. Remember, current news goes away after a few days, in many cases, after a day.

If your interview or content works out well, the medium might ask you to be a regular source or contributor. That’s huge. That’s a publicist’s dream.

Here are a few more tips:

Find out about deadlines. Generally, it’s best to pitch a story first thing in the morning when an editor or reporter is looking for story ideas.

Respect the reporter’s time frame. If a reporter is writing a story and is trying to post if before the deadline, don’t bother him or her. Offer to call back when it is convenient to them.

Call the news media in advance. If you know you will have some interesting news or your data feeds coming from Home Junction, for example, the next quarter’s results, call the editor or reporter a week or two in advance. This way your story idea is on their radar and they can work it into their schedule. Fridays are good days when most newsrooms plan the following week’s story.

Magazines publish way in advance, generally a month, so be sure to contact them much earlier.

Prepare visuals. The Home Junction team can also work with you to present your local data in different forms – charts, tables, etc. Show this to reporters. Especially if those charts indicate a major movement, say a huge spike in home sales or property prices.

Keep at it. As we said, your real estate data makes for an interesting story. Send a polite note on a regular basis pointing out different trends in the neighborhood. There will come a time when a reporter has run out of stories, or a story idea fell through, and they may contact you.

Create advertorials. These are very popular today with the news media, especially newspaper real estate sections. In this case, a broker or agent can write a news article, but it a paid advertisement and must be labeled as such. However, if you write the piece as a news item, not a fluffy story about yourself, it can generate the same readership and almost the same credibility as a regular news article. This is especially true if you have credible information, such as the factual real estate data from Home Junction.

Partner with other businesses or bloggers. Your real estate data is valuable. Perhaps a mortgage company would be interested in featuring it on their blog. Or maybe a builder. Many of these businesses will be working hard to create their own followings and you can piggyback onto their audiences with your hyper-local property information.

Let’s face it. In every marketplace, there are a ton of real estate agents. Some are full-time, pedal to the metal agents and some are retired, part-time agents. But to many consumers, all of these agents tend to blend together into one giant mass.

Using a publicist or acting as your own publicist is an effective strategy to separate yourself from the herd.

Even if you are only featured one time in a newspaper, magazine or TV station, you can copy that appearance and promote it on your website. Use it when you make a listing presentation to sellers.

When the public sees that a major media outlet has featured you, it immediately creates an impression in their mind that this agent has credibility, experience and local knowledge.

Movie stars know the importance of hiring publicists to keep their names in the public eye on a national basis. It pays off for them with higher box office sales and bigger paychecks.

The same results can work for you on the local level, with more listings and more calls from buyers. Use local real estate data to be the star of your community.





WordPress Real Estate Websites And Real Estate Data Feeds Help You Win The Fresh Content Game

wordpress real estate websites searchWordPress real estate websites are a game changer when it comes to fresh content.

This is the story with many brokers and agents. A few years ago he or she created a website. It looked nice at the time. A neat little package of home listings and information about the company.

The site ranked decently on Google and Bing for the neighborhoods they were farming. Not so much for the local market in general, but still showing up on the second or third page for searches.

Life seemed good. The agent felt good about their website and ready to move on to other projects.

Unfortunately, the internet does not work that way.

For one, there are quite a few people watching your website. Not only people, but robots (search bots as they are more commonly called).

Used to be in the old days, if you had content on your website that was relevant to certain keywords, say that neighborhood you are farming, your website would rank high in the search engines for those target keywords.

However, things have changed significantly from the old days of search.

Now Google and Bing have hundreds of factors they use to evaluate websites.

And one of those factors that continues to receive more emphasis is what’s called a “recency” factor.

In other words, how recent was your last update on the website?

How fresh is your content?

WordPress real estate websites offer advantages for fresh content

Web partners such as Home Junction Inc. offer several tools you can use when it comes to competing with others for the “freshness” factor.

Google and Bing know that consumers want to see new, updated and current content. These are consumers raised on finding quick answers to their questions. Those consumers will reward the most current sites with more visits and time spent on those sites.

The search engines know this. So they push those sites with fresher content closer to the top of the search rankings (although as we said, there are hundreds of other factors, including how many other websites link to a site and also the quality of those websites that link there).

In the past, many websites gamed the system by stuffing their pages with target keywords to gain ranking positions on Google or Bing. Many of those sites weren’t built by companies in the local market.

Then the owner of those websites moved on. Either to create similar sites in other markets for target keywords. Or to capture leads for businesses in those markets.

But how helpful are these sites to consumers?

Google and Bing determined that if these sites are not updating their content with fresh information, then they aren’t very relevant to consumers today. They don’t like stale websites.

Fresh content? Sounds easy. But like baking donuts, we all know that a baker has to get up early every day to keep his products fresh.

This is where Home Junction comes in. There are ways to make the process of creating fresh content easier.

WordPress websites for real estate

Let’s start with the website itself. How outdated is your web platform? Was the site created a few years ago? Is it clunky? Difficult to change?

Do you need to contact a web developer to add fresh content? Is there a long, cumbersome process involved in adding text, photos or videos?

If there is,  it’s time to ditch the platform. Switch to WordPress real estate websites.

WordPress is the leading content management software on the planet. It was designed for bloggers to make it easy for the average Joe and Jane to add text and images to their website. (As a side note, the website code was written for those bots to easily decipher the purpose of the website, which both search engines love. If a bot was capable of love).

The platform then evolved into creating full websites for businesses but with still all the efficacy and ease of the original blogging platform.

Many top brands use WordPress for their content. They include Bloomberg, Disney, Variety, The New Yorker and thousands of others.

With WordPress real estate websites, you can easily go into the administration panel, cut and paste some content into the text box, or write an article or blog directly on the website.

There are controls there to make the text bold, italic or underline it. You can easily add hyperlinks to other pages on your website or link to relevant outside websites as a resource for your readers (which by the way, is another factor Google and Bing use with their ranking algorithms).

Bottom line – WordPress is the fastest way to add fresh content to a website. A task of updating a website requires consistency, and a person certainly doesn’t want to jump through hoops to do it. In fact, it’s human nature. The more difficult it is to accomplish a task, the less likely that task will be repeated on a consistent basis.

But consistency with fresh content is a big factor for Google and Bing. They don’t just want to see you update your content every so often. They want to see a website that updates their content on a regular basis and will reward that website for their efforts (assuming of course, other ranking factors are being met).

Real estate data feeds provide reservoir of fresh content

Ease of updating is one of the keys to providing updates on your website.

The other is finding a source of new content.

That’s where Home Junction also makes this task easy.

Home Junction is a national and recognized provider of national real estate data that can be customized down to the local level.

That real estate data includes: Property Sales, Market Trends, School Data, Business Listings, Demographics, Crime Data, Cost of Living Indices, Boundaries and much more.

For brokers and agents, that data can be tailored to their specific markets – their counties, cities, zip codes and even further down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

That content is constantly updated.

Talk about a resource for fresh content?

By just adding a few lines of code, a broker or agent can embed a feed of this hyper-local data onto any page of their website. Got listings in a certain neighborhood? You can order all this data, charts on recent sales, trends in prices, etc., just for that neighborhood.

A broker or agent can also use that updated content to blast out information on their social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

That relevant content will be liked and shared by people in those markets or seeking to move to those markets (social signals by the way, are yet ANOTHER factor that Google and Bing use in determining rankings. We told you things have changed dramatically).

Those Google and Bing bots are hard at work every day scanning millions of websites on the internet. Give them something fresh to report back when they come to your evaluating your website.

By switching to WordPress real estate websites with the right data and the latest plugins, brokers and agents can turn their old, outdated websites into powerhouses of fresh content.




How Property Data Can Make Those Critical Email Open Rates Take Off

property data Property data is a must-have for any broker or agent who sends out email to customers.


Research shows that poor, unappealing content is the No. 1 reason why people ignore or even (oh no!) unsubscribe from emails lists.

Let’s face it. Every business person loves email. You can launch a message out to thousands of people with just the click of a mouse. For little to no cost. There are no stamps, no envelopes, and no post office.

Therein lies the problems. There are so many emails spewing forth onto the web that people have developed blinders on what’s coming into their inbox anymore.

Consumers have heightened filters for bad emails – they can pore over subject lines faster than an airport scanner and delete the trash quicker than the neighborhood garbage man.

And after all the work a broker or agent has to do to get those email subscribers, you certainly don’t want them hitting that dreaded “unsubscribe” button (a feature that is required by law by the way).

Sure emails are free. But it doesn’t mean a broker or agent does not have to invest both time and resources to make them effective.

Because if they don’t, their competitors will.

Take open rates for example.

Where are your open rates? According to MailChimp, an email delivery platform, the average open rate for real estate agents is 20.84%.

If your emails are not hitting that level, then you’ve got a problem. Not only that, you are leaving purchases and listings on the table. Your email is underperforming.

If you are hitting that level, why not make it better? After all, every increase in open percentages means more potential business.

The great benefit of email to brokers and agents is that you only need one response from an email blast, to make it more than worth the effort. Unlike someone who is selling a watch for $9.99. The price point you are dealing with is a bit higher, say 5,000 times higher.

But it goes even deeper.

Say you have successful open rates for your email blasts. That’s great.

But what’s the click-through rate? (See, we told you, the email landscape is a complex one).

The click-through rate is the number of people who open the email and then proceed to click on a link in the email to visit the website (and advance in that precious sales funnel.)

It’s a simple equation and frankly one that’s kind of fun to watch. The more a consumer advances, the more qualified they are as a buyer or seller. In other words, the more they move toward the site and around the site, the hotter they become as a leat).

According to MailChimp, the average real estate email has a clickthrough rate of 1.91%. Frankly, that’s not a great return for all that effort in building a list and sending out emails.

If your click-through rate is low, then again, you are leaving business on the table. But 2% is not much to rant about either. Plenty of opportunities there.

Property data adds power to your email content

How can you fix this?

The solution is a simple one – content. Interesting, relevant, hyper-local content.

Where do you get that content?

From property data providers such as Home Junction, Inc.

Home Junction is part of the new breed of BIG DATA providers who have the ability to amass a tremendous amount of real estate information from a number of different sources.

Those sources include government records on the county and city levels, information from schools, listings of businesses, etc. etc. etc.

One of the big advancements in BIG DATA has been the ability of these providers to feed that information to a local agent in Anytown, USA.

However, that agent doesn’t have to order giant bulky disks full of information. By implementing a few lines of code, that information is fed directly into an agent’s website on whatever page they want.

For example, if an agent is geo-farming That’s A Great Place to live community, the agent can insert hyper-local data about that community alongside listings.

That hyper-local data includes:

  • Recent Homes Sales
  • Trends for Property Prices
  • School Information including student-teacher ratios
  • Local Business listings based on distance
  • Demographics such as age and income
  • Crime Statistics
  • Cost of Living indices

And much more.

Add punch to those subject lines

Now’s that’s perfect content for an email blast.

Instead of just sending another listing, why not put something to this effect in the subject line?

“What You Should Know About The Local Housing Market”

“Prices Are Rising In Your Area. See Charts”

“See Latest Real Estate Data On Up And Coming Neighborhoods”

“Here Are Some Reasons Why You Might Buy In This Community”

Interested consumers will have an interest in this type of property data.

They know it’s not hype, it’s not salesy, it’s factual.

The beauty of email is that brokers or agents can experiment with different subject lines to see which ones get a maximum open rate.

Some systems even allow A/B split testing for email subscribers lists that have a large enough sample for a decent comparison of one subject line versus another.

They key point here is that you now have valuable data at your fingertips to promote – property data that is local, relevant, accurate and current.

Another beauty of finding great subject lines is that you can use them over and over again, with just a slight modification.

For example, with this subject line: “Check Out Latest Price Trends In My Favorite Neighborhood For July.” If you see this subject line works, all you have to do is change the month. Home Junction will supply a new bit of fresh data every month. It’s that simple.

Do the same type of experimentation to increase click-through rates.

You might not want to splash all that local property data directly on the email page.

Perhaps, just put in some teaser information with a link back to the real estate data on your website.

You could even experiment with putting a contact form someone on your page before the information, prompting people to fill out the form if they are interested in learning more about local listings or selling their property.

(But be careful with this, because any bit of friction before a user reaches their destination on a website might cause them to leave. Maybe put the pop-form after they visit the page. Home Junction can help with this as well).

There’s more to email marketing.

A broker or agent can segment their lists, for example. Just send certain emails to people interested I Want To Live There Neighborhood, for example.

The time and day are also important.

So is inserting the prospects name, etc.

Bottom line. Even with all those features, if you are not sending interesting content, you are not going to boost your open and click-through rates.

It’s that simple. All it takes is one phone call. Then you will give your email blasts a property data rocket to boost their marketing power.





Don’t Fall Into The Listings Trap On Social Media, Post Appealing Real Estate Data As Well

spcial media artReal estate data can be a tremendous resource to help brokers and agents compete on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Compete you might say? Aren’t sites like Facebook just a community of friends? Aren’t posts supposed to be a steady stream of cat photos, vacation snapshots and what people ate for lunch? Isn’t it a good idea for a broker or agent to just throw up a listing every once in a while to see what sticks?

When it comes to social media, real estate professionals might want to pay more attention to shares and likes.

Frankly, it’s competitive out there in social media land, and for a broker and agent to take advantage of these platforms, they need the right tools.

Listings alone don’t cut it. Most marketing experts will tell you that real estate professionals fall into the trap of mostly relying on listings for their social media posts.

Sure, they might get some hits on the listing. It certainly impresses the seller.

But here’s why you need to take a bigger and broader approach to your social media strategies.

Let’s look at some interesting Facebook statistics.

There are currently 1.7 billion monthly active users. Remember when that number was 1 million? Facebook is obviously on a roll.

About 82% of people 18-29 years of age use Facebook. For people 30-49, that number is 79%. Talk about reach. The average Facebook user will spend 20 minutes a day checking out their pages.

If you want to know where people are hanging out online, Facebook’s the place (although Instagram is gaining rapidly with younger folks tired of Facebook).

Now, think about the potential influence each Facebook user possesses. The average Facebook user has 155 friends.  Women tend to have more friends, about 166 on average, compared to men, 145 on average.

They say in most towns, Facebook users can be linked to others by just four degrees of separation.

The right post can have tremendous local reach

What does this mean? If you post something that’s interesting, funny or important, that post could spread rapidly to just about everybody in a particular neighborhood.

So what are you going to post? Just listings?

As we said, listings are fine. But they are limited.

For example, not everybody on Facebook is going to be interested in a 5/4 home in the Too Ritzy Golf Community with a listing price of $995,000. And, if they are not interested in a property like that, they certainly won’t pass it on to their friends.

Conversely, not many 50-year-old professionals care about a 2/1 bungalow in a foreclosure sale (unless of course, they are investors).

Here’s the point. Most real estate professionals say they use social media to build awareness.

So why not post information from time to time that is universal in interest and has a high probability of getting shared and liked in the Facebook community?

Real estate data provides materials for better posts

That’s where real estate data can be a powerful tool.

Brokers and agents can easily partner with a real estate data provider such as Home Junction Inc. to gain access to an accurate, reliable and current database of hyper-local information.

By embedding a simple real estate data api (basically integrating a few lines of code into a website) a broker or agent will have a supply of information at their fingertips for attractive Facebook posts.

That data includes:

  • Recent Home Sales
  • Market Trends
  • School Information
  • Business listings
  • Demographics
  • Cost of Living Indices
  • Boundaries

Instead of posting a listing for a 6/4 house with a barn on 200 acres for $4.1 million that will appeal to very few Facebook users, why not post a chart showing the latest market trends?

Maybe that chart shows the number of property sales increasing in XYZ neighborhood. Any XYZ resident or person thinking about moving there is certainly going to be interested in that bit of information.

If they know someone who is interested in moving into that area they are very likely to share that chart with them as well. If they live there, they might just share that news with their neighbors at the next backyard barbecue (and mention where they saw that information).

The fantastic benefit of embedding this real estate data on your website, is that you can include a link so these Facebook users have to come back to your website to view it.

At the end of the day, attracting visitors to your website is what it’s all about. With the help of real estate web developers such as Home Junction, a broker or agent can set up lead capture functionality to gather these contacts.

Perhaps post a way for visitors to sign up for your email newsletter. Or provide a contact form for people to fill out if they are interested in a CMA about their property. Or post a number to call if they want more detailed real estate data about homes in a particular neighborhood.

Most Realtors include Facebook in their marketing

Real estate data separates the pros from the amateurs.

Because here’s another shot of reality about virtual media.

In a recent survey of Realtors, nearly 95% of them said they plan to use Facebook as a major part of their marketing strategy. That’s a lot of people on the same bus.

In fact, those surveyed said they plan to invest more time and money on social media.

In other words, the competition for Facebook users is intense. And it’s only going to get more intense in the future.

Sure, the platform is free. But like anything that is free, everybody’s going to want to use it.

More and more agents are also allocating ad dollars for Facebook. Why not? For a measly $5 to $10 an agent can boost a post to a target neighborhood, at a targeted age group with targeted interest (advertise a listing on a golf course for golfers, for example).

Again, there are plenty of other agents out there willing to spend their $5-$10 to boost their posts.

Listings are great. But in general, they don’t engage users who are not interested in that property.

Broaden your social media strategy. Post real estate data that engages a large number of users. Mix it up. Show market trends, home sale price trends, demographics, school information, etc.

Establish your brand as the real estate resource for the local community.

Show your local market knowledge. Point out to users how your site features comprehensive, in-depth real estate data tools to give them a true picture of the local market.

Even embed a “Home Value Estimator” tool on your website, also provided by Home Junction Inc. This tool is a no-brainer.

Everybody loves to look up the value of their own property, their neighbors, or one they are thinking of purchasing.

Don’t just paint yourself into a “listings box” on Facebook and other sites.

It’s a big world wide web out there. Be sure to provide a wide variety of local content and real estate data to be successful in that world.



How Agents Can Emulate Waiters And Use Real Estate Data To Gain The Trust Of Consumers

real estate data menuThere’s a correlation between real estate data and the menu at a ritzy restaurant if you pay close attention to what is being said.

Let’s say one day you sit at a fine dining establishment, poring over a very complex menu, not sure what to order.

Should you ask the waiter for a recommendation? Naturally, you think, they will suggest the most expensive item in the joint and will probably never tell you if a particular dish is tasty or not, especially the priciest plates.

However, every so often you come across a waiter who is willing to tell it like it is. You might ask about a particular dish and they will tell you, maybe it’s not a good idea. They might note, that personally, they really don’t like that item.

A gutsy move. Certainly, one that the guy wearing the chef’s hat in the back and holding a meat cleaver would not want to hear.

Something special happens at that exact moment. The customer begins to trust the waiter. The waiter is not just giving the “all’s great” sales pitch. He is being honest and giving the consumer the negative as well.

So you order something else. And then perhaps you order the expensive wine he recommends. And the desert he brings by later.

This is a technique that many people in the restaurant use today. Who would think honesty would be a technique? But it this day and age of the constant hustle, a bit of honesty goes a long way.

Real estate data provides the facts, not the fluff

Think about how a home buyer or seller views a real estate agent. As they listen to a sales presentation, in many instances, they know they are being sold.

This property is fantastic. This property is a perfect fit for this couple and their family. The schools are great. The neighborhood is fantastic.

Sure, as a broker or agent, you want to instill enthusiasm for a property. You want to get the seller pumped up. Certainly, nobody wants to buy anything from a Debbie Downer-type person.

But what if you also brought up some possible negatives about a home in question?

With real estate data from national providers such as Home Junction, Inc., brokers and agents have access to an incredible range of information about a particular property and a particular neighborhood.

home price trends

Some of that information might be positive. Some might be negative. It’s data. Data doesn’t lie.

For example, there’s a couple who are interested in buying property in the Sunshine Groves neighborhood.

When the agent pulls up a comprehensive data set of information about that neighborhood, they learn several things.

That data set shows the trends in home sales, trends in prices, schools info, demographics, crime statistics, weather, etc.

When using the Home Value Estimator Tool also available from Home Junction, an agent can present a snapshot of where that property lies in relation to the general marketplace.

The home value tool shows the percentile ranking how a home might be positioned compared to other homes in terms of Size, Price, Price Per Sq. Foot and Age.

The couple is very interested in a home located at 123 Maple Lane. Perhaps the home is priced a little bit more than they budgeted. But it’s the right size with the right number of bedrooms with exceptional schools located nearby.

However, they do own a home now and have expressed a reluctance to move. Taking on a bigger mortgage is a big decision for them.

The agent walks them through the real estate data they pulled from Home Junction’s massive national database.

The home sales chart shows home sales are increasing in that neighborhood.

So are prices.

The schools in that area have exceptional ratings and a nice ratio of teachers to students.

The two buyers have college degrees and the demographics show there are a large number of residents in that neighborhood with bachelor degrees or higher.

All the data looks very appealing.

However, when the agent shows the results from the home value estimator tool, the couple notices that the size of the home is in the small percentile compared to other homes in the area.

Not exactly a plus.

They decide to make the move, put their home up for sale and buy the new home anyway.

One possible reason why? Trust.

Consumers will reward those who provide reliable information

By showing the home buyers the complete picture created by the real estate data, the agent was able to elevate his or her level of trustworthiness with the couple.

First of all, the buyers were able to review an incredible array of information about that property, not just a sales sheet from an open house and a few subjective comments from an agent.

This is hard data. True facts. Not conjecture or vague references.

Secondly, they could see the good and the bad. The agent did not try to sugarcoat ALL the information about the property.

By showing the buyers that the size comparison information, in the mind of the buyers, the agent became someone they could trust.

That agent was transformed from just a salesperson in their mind initially, to a consultant. An adviser. Someone who could give the buyers real and complete information to help them make one of the most difficult decisions they will ever make in their lives.

(Conversely, when approaching sellers, you could point out any negatives about their property…and how you plan to overcome them if they should come up.)

It’s the waiter with the recommendations all over again.

When reaching that tipping point of trust with that agent, consumers will want to do more with that agent . Perhaps they will list their home with that person. Or, they will call them again in five years when they are considering another move.

You can also be sure they will refer that agent to their friends and family.

In this day and age of hucksters and scams, people have their guard up. They are skeptical.

Savvy businesspeople will not focus on the sale, but on the relationship. On providing solutions and answers.

It’s amazing how far a person can go with just a little bit of honesty (and a comprehensive real estate dataset).

For the waiter, the payoff could be an order of cheesecake and a big tip.

For a broker or agent, the reward could be the sale of a $450,000 home with three referrals.

That’s the power of trust. That’s something that can easily be achieved with a full menu of real estate data in the hands of a trustworthy broker or agent.