Utilizing the internet before going out with a realtor to see properties has helped buyers streamline the buying process. Today buyers are information hungry. They want to know and understand demographic trends when considering whether to buy, when to buy and what type of home or commercial space will be most profitable in years to come. They are also interested in local home values, crime statistics, weather, amenities and school information (among other things).
Adding demographics to your real estate website will certainly help boost your business. With plenty of free data sources and for purchase web-based software available, adding demographics to your real estate website allows you to offer your customers a more personalized search.
So, let’s start with the free stuff. American Fact Finder provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the island areas. The data come from several censuses and surveys on the community, housing and economic. The American Community Survey, for example, collects information on age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status and other important data. The American Housing Survey (AHS) is a longitudinal housing unit survey conducted biennially in odd-numbered years. It provides current information on a wide range of housing subjects, including size and composition of the nation’s housing inventory, vacancies, physical condition of housing units, characteristics of occupants, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, mortgages and other housing costs, persons eligible for and beneficiaries of assisted housing, home values and characteristics of recent movers.
Many would-be buyers are familiar with Zillow.com. The site’s GetRegionChart API allows you to collect information on local home value trend charts. The site’s GetDemographics API gives you a set of market, affordability, real estate and demographic data, including:
- Local Market Data (e.g., median list price, number of homes for sale, percent listing price reduction)
- Affordability Data (e.g., Zillow Home Value Index, one-year change, property tax, etc.)
- Homes and Real Estate data (e.g., percentage of owners and renters, median home size, average year built, etc.)
- People data from U.S. Census (e.g., median household income, median age, average commute time, average household size, etc.)
- Who Lives Here (if available for the region)
- What’s Unique About the People (if available for the region)
Zillow also offers data on local neighborhoods. Its Neighborhood Boundaries provides boundary lines for more than 7,000 U.S. neighborhoods, covering roughly 150 cities. The site is also offering zestimates on data regarding children with its GetRegionChildren API.
Also offering local information is Yelp.com. Consumers uses Yelp to find local business. With the site’s Review Search API you can pull local business information and reviews. It’s also possible to narrow the results by category of business.
School quality is an important decision factor for buyers considering to purchase. Education.com’s SchoolFinder Local Schools widget has a customizable map and directory view of the schools in a particular community. Your users are able to view basic school information through the widget, as well as perform new school searches. The site also offers boundary and other data that you can integrate into your site.
Another education-focused data center is the National Center for Education Statistics’ website. Here you can find data on all public elementary and secondary schools, all local education agencies, and all state education agencies throughout the United States — descriptive information on schools and school districts; data on students and staff; and fiscal data.
Many realtors are adding weather and real-time web cams to their websites. The Weather Channel, Yahoo Weather API, AccuWeather and Weather Bug API are some examples of websites that offer free real-time access to current conditions, forecasts along with radar and satellite imagery.
Web-based software that you purchase can offer more in-depth data customization, including flexible search parameters with advanced mapping technologies. Potential buyers can identify areas with young children, more retirees, higher income or more owner-occupied housing. Software like Maptitude provides tools that make it easy to attach all kinds of relevant information to locations on a map. For example, you can add your real estate listings to a map so that clients can visually determine the locations available for sale in any given neighborhood and weigh the pros and cons of each location. The can use the selection tools to search your listings, based on location or attributes. For example, you could choose from among all of your listings the ones that are within walking distance to a school, near public transportation, within a particular price range or have a minimum number of rooms.
An effective online presence has become more than just a good marketing idea; it’s mandatory if you want to sell. Consider adding web-based demographics to your website to give the user the information they want. Adding demographics to your real estate website coupled with creative marketing strategies will allow you to build a better real estate website.