Property Data Will Help You Add This Powerful Question To Your Real Estate Sales Script

real estate sale scripts muscleHere are some ideas on how to use hyper-local, property data to add real muscle to your real estate sales scripts.

The danger with any sales script today is that it can sound too much like a sales script.

Most consumers have already been hammered ad nauseam with the same old sales pitches from all types of businesses. Go visit a car dealer and you can almost tell them the questions they are going to ask before they ask them.

“Are you ready to buy a car today?”

“How much do you want to pay each month?”

“What do you think your trade-in is worth?”

Blah, blah, blah. Boring, boring, boring.

Don’t get us wrong. Preparing a real estate sales script is essential and certainly has tremendous value. Being prepared is always a smart approach.

You want to be ready to say the right thing to capture the interest of buyers and sellers and you want to come across as a pro who has done their homework and has extensive experience in this field.

But you have to watch out you don’t sound like you are reading from a script. Or appear as though your questioning is insincere and robotic.

Obviously, an agent has to ask preliminary questions. But you want to make sure you ask them with sincerity and personalization, not like you are reading a page in front of you.

One of the challenges for real estate professionals is how do you make your sales script sound different than the others?

How do you immediately grab the interest of a buyer or seller?

Property data helps you pose this important question

There’s an answer to this challenge.

Try this one question: “How much do you know about local market conditions?”

This query is almost like a question posed by a lawyer on a TV courtroom drama – you already know the answer.

The answer is most likely the buyer or seller has little or no idea what is going on in the market right now.

Even though they might have heard a thing or two, or perhaps read an article, chances are they don’t have many facts or an in-depth analysis of what is going on in their neighborhood or one they hope to move into.

This is your opening.

What will be your approach to this opportunity?

Hyper-local property data from national data providers such as Home Junction can make a world of difference in how you walk through that opening.

An average agent might say, “Yea, market conditions in your neighborhood are just peachy. Homes are selling like hotcakes.”


But a savvy agent can utilize a gigantic feed of hyper-local property data on their website and say, “I have an in-depth, complete database of information about particular neighborhoods and subdivisions in XYX county. I will be glad to pull an extensive report and provide it to you on the areas you are interested in (or for the home you are currently living in and might want to sell).”

In that report, you can include all of that critical hyper-local property data that Home Junction provides:

  • Recent home sales
  • Property sale trends
  • Home price trends
  • School information
  • Demographics
  • Crime statistics
  • Cost of living indices
  • Boundaries
  • And more…

By the way, Home Junction also offers a geo-spatial plugin that will put all of this data in visual form on a map. The map plugin can be integrated with the local MLS database so for example, an agent can display governmental and school district boundaries in relation to any property under review.

“Wow, now you got my attention” will be the first thought that pops into most people’s minds.

Who the heck wouldn’t want to see a detailed, in-depth report on the neighborhoods they are considering or the market where they want to list their home.

Offering to provide market data is THE “hot button.”

The benefits of adding a market analysis to your sales pitch

There are four immediate benefits when you offer a prospect property data from Home Junction.

  1. Value –  That offer of an in-depth market analysis immediately creates value in the mind of the prospect. They will think: “This agent is offering to give me all this information about the market where I want to buy a home or where I might want to sell? I love it.”
  2. The Most Powerful Word in the English Language – This in-depth market analysis is “free?”  I’ll take it.
  3. Convenience – just ask Amazon buyers about the power of convenience. By offering to provide all this information to a consumer, that means less work that they have to do on their own. That means less time digging around the web for them and less worry about whether or not they are actually finding the most accurate information. As you know, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t make it right. Separating fake facts from reliable information is a big concern for consumers today. There’s too much clutter and too much hype.
  4. Instant Authority – when an agent shows a prospect a detailed, in-depth market analysis of different properties in different neighborhoods at different price points (as opposed to just telling them “the market is great right now” ) that immediately establishes that agent as an “authority” in the mind of a consumer.

As we know perception is reality. That perception of authority will not only convince the customer to do business with you, it will also persuade the consumer to refer you to their friends and family. That’s golden. The gift that keeps on giving.

And that’s when, as they say in Hollywood, your script is “green-lighted.” That’s how you create a powerful presentation that moves people to take action.

There’s a lot of b.s. going on in the world today. Consumers have created built-in sales pitch filters.

An agent or broker today needs something more than just words.

They need to strengthen their pitch by offering a full report of accurate and informative property data to become the strongest, most knowledgeable candidate in the mind of any prospect.



What Palm Beach Residents Pay In Taxes Shows The Power Of Real Estate Boundaries

real estate boundariesReal estate boundaries are critical when it comes to paying taxes and for some residents of Palm Beach, Florida, those taxes can take quite a bite out of a bank account.

The Palm Beach County Tax Appraiser recently released the tax rolls for 2017 and the Palm Beach Daily News compiled a list of who paid the most for the privilege of living on one of the most exclusive beachfronts in the country.

Howard Stern might be one of America’ funniest radio shock jocks in the US, but you can bet he’s not laughing when he pay those taxes for his home there. And he doesn’t even pay the most.

Top 10 estate property taxes in Palm Beach

According to tax rolls, here are the 10 highest paying residential taxpayers in the ritzy city of Palm Beach.

1 Kenneth Griffin, hedge fund manager, paid $2.74 million on property valued at $195.61 million. He lives on 13.5 acres of what is referred to as Billionaires Row. The prices don’t seem to bother him. He is expanding his property after the $85 million purchase of a house next door.

2. Nelson Peltz, another hedge fund manager paid $1.84 million on the market value of $107.87 million for his estate. His oceanfront estate, called Montsorrel which means “Mountain of Sorrow,” reaches both the intracoastal waterway and the ocean.

3. Sydell Miller, who become wealthy dying hair and is the owner of a beauty products company, paid $1.27 million on an estate valued at $96.98 million. She founded Matrix Essentials.

4. Henry Kravis, an investor, paid $1.21 million in taxes on $77.62 million of total market value. Sadly, he doesn’t even have an ocean view. Only a view of the Intracoastal. He co-founded KKR – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

5. Frank McCourt, an investor, paid $1.01 million in taxes on property valued at $60.4 million that has a unique Polynesian-styled theme. He is known as the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

6. James Clark, one of the early investors in the internet and co-founder of Netscape which basically started it all, paid $1 million in taxes on his home valued at $59.98 million.

7. Paul Tudor James 3rd, another hedge fund manager, paid $992,995 on an estate value of $58.88 million. His historic house has a Mediterranean motif and is called “Casa Apava.”

8. John L. Thornton, investment banker, paid $877.219 million on a $69.49 million property.

9. Terry Allen Kramer, a theatrical producer and heiress, paid $829,083 in taxes for a $64.71 million property.

10. Howard Stern, shock jock who made it big, finishes the list. (It’s hard to believe this guy lives with this group.) But he does and paid $813,612 in taxes for his property valued at $48.34 million.

Several other celebrities also live on the island, including Rush Limbaugh, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Buffet and Dr. Mehmet Oz. There’s also a guy named Trump who you might have heard of who is also a famous real estate investor, TV show host and now president of a very large and powerful country.

That’s some pricey real estate and some hefty real estate taxes.

Real estate boundaries are important to EVERY property owner

As a broker or agent, how are you showing your prospects critical tax boundaries or other boundaries of importance?

Most Americans can be grateful they pay the type of taxes these people pay, although they certainly would like their incomes.

But taxes are a big concern for every home buyer and homeowner. Mostly because they always go in the wrong direction.

So what are you doing as a broker or agent with local knowledge to address this issue?

Home Junction has the answer. Home Junction is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of real estate data.

The company taps into a variety of sources – county government data included, to accumulate information that is vitally important to home buyers and homeowners.

That data includes municipal boundaries, school districts, school information, local businesses, demographics, crime statistics, and much more.

One of the key datasets they offer is data on real estate boundaries.

Those boundaries not only include city and county borders but real estate boundaries down to the zip code, neighborhood and subdivision level. There are also parcel and building boundaries in their data feed as well.

As we said, Americans are concerned about taxes. A person could live on one street and pay much more in taxes than someone living across the street.

That’s a key selling point.

The same goes for school districts. Not all school districts are alike. For families, schools might be the No. 1 criteria they have in selecting a home.

Home Junction gathers hard data on boundaries for its database. This is important. Because many times, when a property is entered into the MLS, the listing agent does not put in the correct boundary data. So Home Junction gathers this information from a number of sources to be more accurate.

Geo-spatial plugin is the best way to illustrate boundaries

Home Junction goes even further with a geo-spatial plugin. The map plugin is integrated with the local MLS so that when an agent pulls up a property on the map, they can also display all relevant information as well.

For example, say Mr. and Mrs. Junior Hedge Fund are looking for a home in a certain area. The spatial plugin will show the location of the home and then pull up all the real estate boundaries associated with that home.

The plugin can also generate other relevant information as well. Say the Junior Hedge Funds like to play golf. The agent can show all the local golf courses within a certain geographical distance from any property.

This local data is powerful when approaching sellers and explaining how an agent who uses Home Junction can do a better job marketing their property.

If that property is within certain desirable boundaries, they can illustrate that selling point to the max.

As we can see with Palm Beach taxes, boundaries can make a big difference. (You can see the full newspaper list with property details here).

Many real estate experts tout the need for an agent to have local knowledge. With Home Junction, you will also have local data on local real estate boundaries. That’s certainly a valuable piece of property to own.






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!





The Reasons To Choose A Real Estate IDX From Home Junction

IDX real estateNot every real estate IDX is the same.

One thing that real estate brokers and agents need to know is that when choosing an IDX provider, quality and experience are critical.

An IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is basically the  software and policies that allows a broker or agent to display listings on their website.

There’s quite a bit involved with this integration.

The team at Home Junction are IDX experts. The programmers are not some developers who write code for a variety of websites but specialize in real estate websites.

Let’s start with the software. You need a reliable program that can pull information from the IDX without crashing or providing incomplete data. Home Junction’s IDX has a 99.9% uptime rate.

You also want an IDX that updates DAILY, so you have the latest listings and data on your website.

Our IDX is also customized to provide the most accurate information.

Take boundaries for example. Many times, an agent who posts a listing is not sure where the school district or city boundaries begin and end.

For that reason, the Home Junction IDX does not pull that information. Boundary information is generated from other reliable sources that Home Junction curates and digitizes using their proprietary method.

Choose from two real estate IDX products

Here’s another reason to choose Home Junction. Actually two reasons.

Home Junction offers two real estate IDX products.

The Responsive IDX (rIDX) is our basic IDX that efficiently pulls in MLS listings.

Our SpatialMatch 2.0 Lifestyle Search is a turbo-charged IDX that integrates lifestyle data and geo-spatial functionality to populate the searches with additional details – such as the proximity of the property to a golf course, restaurants or yoga studios.

Then there’s the question of feeds from multiple MLS listing services. Because Home Junction is a data aggregation company, the can easily build “co-feeds” where they co-mingle listings from different MLS listings into one agent’s website. This creates a more robust experience for consumers who can browse through more multiple listing sources.

Next, take MLS policies. Every broker or agent that pulls data from MLS listings, must know the policies for each local association. This can get complicated.

It’s important that the IDX follow ALL of the particular criteria for each MLS. Again, that’s why you want to work with a company that specializes in real estate websites.

Home Junction currently implements its IDX software in 200 markets in nearly 50 states.

Choose an IDX and plugin package

One big advantage for real estate professionals to consider when working with a real estate website developer such as Home Junction is that all of the services they need can come from one company.

In essence, Home Junction is a one-stop shop.

For example, their real estate IDX is integrated with a series of WordPress plugins – agent rosters, geo-farms, lifestyle finders, social sharing and more.

The company will also build a website for brokers and agents using the WordPress platform, the most popular and user-friendly web platform in the world.

With WordPress, a broker or agent can easily add or update content on a regular basis. WordPress was built specifically to make this process simple and easy. You don’t need programmers or webmasters to add text or photos, you can do it yourself.

You can also optimize content for search engines. WordPress is basically the most SEO-friendly platform in the world. Every broker and agent knows the value of ranking high on Google and Bing for local searches.

Those rankings can make or break a real estate company. Sure, getting to Page 1 in organic rankings on Google is super, super competitive. But there are strategies an agent can use to make inroads on where their company appears for consumer searches. For example, they can insert “long tail keywords” into their text so they can rank higher for searches that are not as competitive.

Instead of trying to rank in the top 1-3 spots for “Homes for sale in ____ County” an agent can focus on the area they are farming and develop strong ranking results for searches such as “Homes for sale in ________ Country Club.”

WordPress makes search engine optimization much easier. And Home Junction offers SEO services to help brokers and agents make that happen.

The next step would be to integrate the site’s IDX with local MLS listings. Home Junction takes care of that with their proprietary and proven IDX software.

After the site is built and the MLS listings can be fed onto the pages, Home Junction offers more.

The company is also a national provider of real estate data.

That data is super important to consumers and super relevant for real estate searches.

Information includes: Recent Home Property Sales, Home Price Trends, School Listings, Business Listings, Crime Data, Demographics, Cost of Living Indices, Boundaries and much, much more.

This helps to make an agent’s local website a true resource for home buyers.

A home buyer can not only find the latest and most complete MLS listings, but they can also research how that home compares to the rest of the market, what type of schools are in that neighborhood and  the demographics for that neighborhood.

This puts an agent’s website on the same level as the national mega-real estate websites.

Speaking of which, Home Junction also offers a extremely popular Home Value Estimator tool, just like the big sites.

This is a super-powerful service to attract consumers who want to check out the value of their home. It is also a incredible tool for building traffic, promoting a brand name and most importantly, generating listing leads.

WordPress is also known for the huge number of plugins it attracts from individual software programmers. Home Junction is the expert on real estate plugins. They have developed many of their own, like the ones we mentioned above for data.

As brokers and agents can see, in today’s age of BIG DATA and FEED INTEGRATION, there are an amazing number of elements that are involved in building a real estate website, from IDX integration to providing sources of reliable real estate data.

With all those elements come complexity.

You absolutely want to work with a reliable company that is super-experienced in building these programs for the real estate industry. Your job is to attract and work with buyers and sellers. Make sure you have the tools and support you can depend on in today’s complex technological world to get that job done.



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.



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!


Property Data Can Be Used As A Neighborhood And Lifestyle “Compatability” Tool

neighborhood and property dataDetailed neighborhood and property data can help avoid situations like this one.

A recent article talked about mistakes home buyers make and included a sad tale of people who bought a lovely home, only to discover the neighborhood was not right for them.

The couple moved from a big city urban market to a smaller market in another state. After selling their home, they were thrilled to see the size and the type of home they could buy with all that cash.

Unfortunately, after moving in, they found out all the next neighbors were much, much older than them and did not have any kids.

In fact, the entire neighborhood was like that. They also found they missed the amenities they were used to in the bigger city – choice of great restaurants, etc.

Property data is a powerful match-maker

If you reverse engineer this situation, there’s a powerful lesson and opportunity here.

This is a scenario that could be solved with property data such as the neighborhood information provided by data aggregators like Home Junction.

The property data we’re talking about consists of in-depth detail about a neighborhood – demographics, cost of living indices, school information, crime rates, surrounding businesses, etc.

Take that same couple who moved from one urban area to the suburbs. After talking to the couple about their needs, an agent can use their real estate data gathered by Home Junction to tailor a home that fits their personalities.

If the couple is middle-aged professionals, the demographic data will show the areas where there are plenty of other middle-aged professionals.

If there is a family involved, use the data to show that these particular areas have similar types of families living there. You can also display the most important information a family usually considers when buying a house – school data.

Where are the schools in relation to the property? What is the student/teacher ratio? What is the demographic makeup of the school? What is the contact information for those schools?

Home Junction provides all of this hyper-local information. They have an easy-to-embed API that will feed relevant data to an agent’s website not only to the county and zip code level, but all the way down to the neighborhood level. On any page. With continual updates.

But there’s more.

Integrate real estate mapping

Use geo-spatial mapping technology to drive home the point. With their SpatialMatch IDX, Home Junction integrates MLS listings from the local area with lifestyle information.

Say the young couple likes to golf. Pull up several properties that match their home criteria, then show on the SpatialMatch plugin where those properties are located in proximity to local golf clubs.

Perhaps they like to hike. Or walk their dog in a park. Again, use the geo-spatial data to show the location of parks near those homes. Studies have shown that homes located near a park have higher prices in general than other homes. Use that fact to your advantage (and the seller’s delight).

You can do the same for gyms, restaurants, stores. You name it.

real estate map plugin

Home Junction’s real estate map plugin.

Unfortunately for the couple mentioned above, their home was not an ideal match for them. They moved.

But the lesson here is you can use in-depth property data to show why a home and neighborhood is the perfect match for buyers. You can also use real estate data to show home sellers how you will go beyond just the number of bedrooms, baths and square feet to market their home.

You will market the lifestyle amenities that the property will provide and how the neighborhood matches the buyer’s personalities and preferences.

One neighborhood caused two homebuyers to move out. But with the right approach and the right property data, you can market neighborhoods as a great place for home buyers to move into.



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 Websites Give You Advantages When It Comes To Real Estate Lead Generation

real estate lead generationWhen it comes to real estate lead generation, hopefully you are not doing the following.

Somewhere buried on your website, is a little tiny box (or even worse) just a link, that says, “Sign up for our newsletter.”

No, no, no, no.

Let’s get real for a second when it comes to real estate lead generation.

Those email subscribers a broker or agent captures is one of their most valuable assets, if not the most valuable asset they own.

This is the digital age. People visit search engines looking for properties and then review real estate websites. The days of a hot prospect walking into an office are gone for the most part.

When that precious prospect visits a brokers or agent’s website, do everything you can to retain that connection. Start a relationship. And you can do that by capturing that prospect’s email (and contact information).

The key point is, there should be multiple points on an agent’s website for real estate lead generation.

One of the best platforms to maximize leads is a WordPress platform, the most advanced web platform in the world.

And the best way to optimize a WordPress platform is a company such as Home Junction that is experienced in creating websites with plenty of real estate lead generation features.

The big advantage of WordPress real estate websites is the ease in which lead capture forms can be added and moved around a site.

Real estate lead generation strategies

Here are some strategies provided by Home Junction that go beyond just the “Sign Up for the Newsletter” notice.

  1. Home Estimator Tool – Everybody loves this tool – it creates an opportunity for a homeowner to find out “how much is my home worth.” Who doesn’t want to know that? Now local agents can provide this tool just like the big national portals. Add an email capture box somewhere along the path for when a person uses the tool and checks out the value of their home.
  2. Save Favorite Listings – People come to the site. They search for the particular type of property they want to buy. They find several listings that match their criteria. Give them an opportunity to save their searches. (Remember, one important aspect of real estate lead generation is to offer something first to get something in return).
  3. Email Alerts – Offer to provide updates to prospects by integrating your IDX with your email list so that consumers can know when prices change on their favorite listings or when those properties are taken off the market.
  4. New Listings Notification – In addition, offer to provide prospects via email when your IDX detects new listings that match their search criteria.
  5. Social Sign-Ins – Allow prospects to sign onto your website and see the information they saved by using their Facebook or Google Plus accounts.
  6. Forced Registration – This option for brokers and agents allows them to require a web visitor to fill out a registration form before they can access pages or data. Maybe it’s to use the Home Estimator Tool, or its perhaps for some valuable real estate data (also provided by Home Junction) such as Recent Property Sales, School Data, Demographics, etc.
  7. Offer a Content Upgrade – another idea is to offer EXTRA content for an email signup. Again, real estate data providers such as Home Junction have access to tons of relevant content. Perhaps hold some of that precious content back and offer it in return for an email registration.
  8. Newsletter Subscriber – Offer to send them this valuable data on a regular basis if they become an email subscriber. (“Want Local Market Updates Every Month? Sign up here!”)

The best practice for real estate lead generation is to a) make it easy for people to enter their email without requiring them to answer a bunch of questions and b) make sure the real estate lead generation form is not an annoyance, but something that consumers want to fill out.

Everybody knows pop-ups are bothersome. So perhaps place an “exit” pop-up on the page that people will see only when they are about to leave the site.

Another option is to have an email registration box appear as the web visitor scrolls down the page.

It’s also very important to allay any privacy fears. Assure people you won’t be using their email for any other purpose or to sell to third parties.

Be sure to let people know how often they will receive an email if they do register.

And be sure to let them know how easy it is to unsubscribe.

Placement of the real estate lead generation box is key. Moving the signup box to the top of the page or on a popular data page can result in a big boost in email signups.

As we said, every signup is precious. These are your prospects. You worked hard to bring them to your website – either through advertising, or search rankings or your social media posts.

With a WordPress website, as we said, it’s easy to relocate the real estate lead generation forms on a page. Making a move that increases a 5% signup rate to 10% is huge. That’s DOUBLE the number of prospects you will generate by just making a simple design change (and WordPress is all about simplicity).

Design is another key factor

Experiment with the form. Take colors for example. Red and blue are effective colors for email signups. Move the text. Change the headline.

If you have a form on one page that is not performing well, maybe change the color. Again, if the registrations jump from 3% to 6% you just DOUBLED your real estate lead generation strategies for that page.

Again, this is easy to do with WordPress real estate websites.

Since the internet started back in the 1990s, there have been a ton of gimmicks that have come and gone.

But one of the tools that has remained a staple for successful real estate marketing is email. In fact, building an email subscriber list has become a top priority for most businesses in all types of categories.

By the same token, the competition to capture a visitor’s email is as intense as ever.

Don’t take this strategy for granted. Get the best platform for making changes to a website- WordPress. (Here are some additional ideas for increasing lead sign-up rates).

Hook up with an experienced WordPress web company such as Home Junction to get the most out of your real estate lead generation strategies.







WordPress Real Estate Themed Websites Are Made To Fix Listing Photos Fast

wordpress real estate themed websites photos

Listing photographs sometimes don’t come out as planned and WordPress real estate themed websites are the best format for not only displaying photos but quickly CHANGING them as well.

Let’s face it, taking photographs has made a quantum leap for consumers and business people.

These days a high megapixel iPhone or smartphone in your pocket can produce crisp, colorful high-quality photographs. Those images can be presented to consumers in mere seconds. There is no film to develop. No prints to order. It’s all instantaneous.

Incredible editing tools make it easy to fix even the crummiest photo in seconds. You can crop a photo, adjust the exposure, add contrast and saturate the colors.

A savvy real estate agent who takes a little bit of time to practice their photo skills and learn how to edit photos can become quite a decent photographer (of course, nothing beats a pro. Those smartphones and iPhones can only do so much and when it comes to illuminating a living room, pros still have the know-how and the lighting tools to make those photos pop).

That’s the good news.

Horrible real estate photographs happen

Then there’s bad news.

Some agents, for whatever reason, think because they have a camera in their pocket they can just snap a quick photo without any thought to composition, clutter or clarity.

In fact, there are websites out there devoted to showing really bad real estate photos. Pictures with weird toilets, homeowners asleep in their beds, pets sprawled out in the middle of the floor and rooms that have more clutter than the local landfill.

Those sites include:

Shooting a good photograph does take a time and effort. Sitting in a car and sticking an iPhone out of the window probably won’t produce an image that grabs a buyer.

Or taking photos of homes that aren’t ready to be photographed – for example, kitty litter trays in the living room, aren’t going to turn on buyers either.

Most agents know how to do shoot real estate photos. They know to make those counters clean, remove all knick-knacks, open up all the windows to let in natural light.

They also know to turn off the TVs, remove the remotes from the coffee table, get those toys out of the living room, remove old rugs, get the cars out of the driveway, take the magnets off the refrigerator door, etc., etc.

That’s only part of the checklist every agent should adhere to. There’s more. Much more.

WordPress real estate themed websites are perfect for updates

Which is one of the key points of using WordPress real estate themed websites as opposed to other platforms.

WordPress real estate themed websites can make the process of uploading images a whole lot easier. Web design companies such as Home Junction can set up a broker or agent with ready-to-go, easy-to-use WordPress website in a short period of time.

Here are a few reasons why this is the smart choice when it comes to real estate photographs:

  1. Loading photos – WordPress is the No. 1 content management platform in the world. It’s not designed for coders and programmers. It’s designed for the average person. The whole concept behind the site is to make adding content an easy task, not a week-long ordeal.

It’s very easy to add photographs to a WordPress real estate themed website. You upload the photo to the Media Gallery. Add a caption. Insert some tags. Adjust the photo to the size you want. Add a link to another page. Then insert the image onto the page and hit the “Publish” button. It’s now live.

  1. Changing photographs – here’s one of the unwritten truths about photography. After you shoot a bunch of photographs at the property, go back to your office and load the photographs onto your website, you realize then the photo could be better. Much better.

It might be the angle. Or it might be the lighting. Perhaps the home was well lit and then the sun snuck behind some clouds for one key image. Maybe you missed an important feature in the kitchen. Perhaps a cat snuck into the frame at the last second and his eyes are lit up like a beast from outer space.

Whatever. You know the photo could be better. You know the buyer won’t be impressed. And you know the seller will not be happy.

No problem. Go back and shoot the photo over again. Come back to your office, open up the Media Gallery in your WordPress real estate themed website, delete the old photo and add the new one.

No big deal. You don’t need to wait for the company IT person to load the photograph. You don’t need to know HTML coding to load an image. It’s simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Updating photographs – the flexibility that comes with WordPress real estate themed websites is also great for adding more up-to-date and current photographs.

Perhaps, a home is listed in January when there is a foot of snow on the ground. Now its May. The snow is gone, the grass is green and the property looks more appealing.  Maybe the owner upgraded the kitchen cabinets. Or perhaps it was time to stage the home with different furniture. Or, the owner finally got around to painting the living room with a fresh new look.

Shoot the photo and quickly update the listing on your WordPress real estate website.

  1. Increase the number of photographs – the great thing about iPhones, smartphones and digital cameras today is that the number of photos you can take is almost limitless (although it is amazing how you can have accumulate 5,000 photographs on your phone in no time).

Nevertheless, it’s certainly better than shooting a roll of 35mm Kodak film that is limited to just 24 photos.

However, consumers also know this is the age of digital photography. They expect to see numerous photographs of a property, not just the front, back, living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. They want to see multiple angles of the front, back, and side yards. They want to see dozens of photographs of the interior.

With WordPress real estate themed websites, this chore is much easier. In fact, there are many plugins available for WordPress that provide off-the-shelf photo galleries that display those images in a big, bright format that is easy to browse.

Studies show that more than 60% of consumers report they just study the photographs for a listing and pretty much totally ignore the text.

In other words, those photographs are your sales tools. They will sell the home. They will make the owner happy as well.

Are you getting the big picture here? WordPress real estate themed websites are the best in the business for changing and updating photographs and providing formats that make those listings pop with beautiful images.