VIDEO: Homeowner Information

This week we hosted a webinar on owner information.  We explored what can you do with homeowner information and how you get it.

What Kind of Data do we have on owners?

We have a large coverage set on owner information if you are searching by properties.  It includes the owner name – whether it is a single person or a company, if they live at the home, and their mailing address.

How do companies use this information?

  1. Mail Marketing – If you are sending direct mail and want to narrow your outreach to a neighborhood or zip code and want to target home-owners specifically, you can do that with this data.
  2. Mailing Lists – If you are offering marketing solutions, you can sell mailing lists along with your current offering.
  3. Verification – You can verify if a person is the owner of a property online or in person.

How can I Access this information?

First, go to the Onboard Developer Platform and sign up for a free account.  Before you dig into details on owners, start your search on properties on a given area or by characteristics.  

Once you plug in your search parameters you will pull back IDs on properties that meet those requirements.   After you run that search, it will show a unique identifier for that property.  All you need to do to search the owner data is insert that ID.

When you plug in the ID, you will get back details on the property as well as the first and last name of the owner or owners of that property.

Are there other ways to get owner information?

Yes.  You can also use our match and append services to augment lists or databases you have today.  If APIs don’t work for your processes, this is a nice alternative.

If you are building a mailing list, as an example, and have a CSV file of addresses, you can send that to Onboard and we can append the owner names to those addresses.

Where is this information coming from?

The owner information originates from the deed records from the county. 

Do you have phone numbers or emails?

It is not something we have on our platform, but we have clients that are getting the owner information from us and then using other services to add other contact information like phone and email from another source.

For more information, watch the video above or reach out to us at sales@onboardinformatics.com.

The top 5 things you can you do with owner data

Onboard Informatics has the first and last name of every property owner in the country.  What can businesses do with this data?  Plenty.

1.  Target new homeowners

If you have a product or service that appeals to new homeowners (hello remodeling, furniture, hardware, and communications companies) - this is a great data source for your company.  Simply get the name and address of every new homeowner in your zip code, neighborhood, state, or city on a monthly basis for direct marketing campaigns.

If you see a better response rate with the new homeowners than with the population at large, this is an easy, fast, and effective way to target.

2.  Augment your Direct Mail or Marketing Services

If you are an advertising agency, direct mail house, or marketing solutions company, you can resell this valuable information to your clients.  Sell lists of homeowners within a specific demographic or simply combine that with other marketing products or services you already offer.  It's an easy up-sell and an added value for your customers.

3.  Verify homeowners

If you are using digital marketing to generate home sellers, you can verify that a specific user owns a certain home instantly by checking the address and name against a robust database.  If you offer a tool or solution behind a wall and want to ensure the information being entered is accurate, this is an easy, effective way to do it.  

4.  Target home sellers

This goes back to targeting (see #1) - but you can also target home-owners who are about to move.  This would be great for moving and storage companies.  Because you know they are going through a big life event, you can target your messaging to these consumers specifically and get a better response rate.

5.  Augment existing leads

If you have a list of contacts or leads in your system, you can match those leads to property they may own and the mortgage on that property.  This gives you a lot more information on each individual and you can better segment and target those leads to achieve your business objectives.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use owner data, join our webinar tomorrow at 2:00.  Register for the free webinar below. Even if you can't join us, register and we'll send you a complimentary copy of the recording.

What technology is having the biggest impact in real estate?

In our recent panel on Real Estate Technology Trends to Watch in 2018, we discussed what technology disrupted real estate in the past and what we should be aware of in the coming months and years.  When it comes to true impact, what technology has had the most influence on the real estate industry? 

The panel narrowed it down to a top 3:

  •  Lockbox
  •  Online Search
  • Turning your Home into an ATM

Let’s break down each: 

1.        Lockbox

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Heather Sittig-Jackson, CEO and Co-Founder of Relola, said the first real disrupter she noticed in real estate was the lockbox.  “Think about what it took to show a home before the lockbox,” she said.  “You had to make appointments, pick up and return keys – the whole thing took up a ton of time.”  With the lockbox, agents could significantly increase their efficiency, showing more homes to more people. 

The next phase of the lockbox is making them smarter, so both buyers and sellers can get a better picture of the popularity of a home, neighborhood and the health of the local real estate market. 

2.       Online Search

The next change Sittig-Jackson noted was that of online search.  “It gave agents a new job,” she said.  “They were no longer the source of listings information, but were the source of professional insider information.  They made transactions m ore seamless and helped navigate a complicated and confusing process.  Agents became project managers.”

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The development of national portals and online search has created a different type of consumer, according to the panel.  “It’s given consumers an artificial sense of reality,” said Jack Berube, CEO and Founder of Pathway RE.  “You’ve created this massive place where you can go get a valuation of your home and get neighborhood reports, which gives consumers this false notion that they can go and do this for themselves and don’t need the expertise of a real estate agent.”

While consumers are finding properties online, they still work with an agent 88 percent of the time, according to a recent study from the National Association of REALTORS®.  While the process starts online, home buyers and sellers still seek advice and guidance from a trusted real estate professional.  Now, consumers are just coming into the process more informed on what inventory is available and what they want.

“Everyone enjoys looking at homes, it’s just been exposed now,” said Mike Schneider, CEO and Co-Founder of First.io. “The problem is when we think about anyone looking at homes online as a lead.  That’s where some of this [needs to] shift.  Search hasn’t changed how many people are moving, but it’s impacted the realtor.  [Consumers] are coming and asking tougher questions and local expertise is becoming more important.”

3.       The role of valuations and future disrupters

“Any real shake-up in the industry will come when there’s movement in how the transaction is facilitated and the means of compensation around the transaction,” said Aaron Kardell, CEO and Co-Founder of HomeSpotter.  “Zillow is not a disruptive company at this point.  They are tightly aligned with the industry.  It’s going to be new entrants like Open Door that are looking at how they can change the transaction will have the bigger impact.”

Schneider expanded on this idea by including not only the transaction but the valuation of a property impacting how future home-owners interact with their home and their agent."  is within 2% accuracy of actual valuations,” he said.  “Once they perfect that science, it will turn homes into ATMs for people and transform how often people move and how ownership is structured.  Realtors will then [be able to] guide people through those decisions.”

In Part II of this series, we discussed the role of technology in expediting the sales process as the next frontier.   The discussion on disrupters expands on that idea to include not only what technology might impact the industry overall, but how that will impact the role of agents, brokers and their relationship with clients. 

We are in the process of publishing a white paper on the impact of technology in real estate based on a survey of nearly 2,000 real estate professionals.  To get your copy, register for monthly updates on this page.

 

 

What are some of the biggest pressures realtors face today? 

Technology significantly changed the lives of real estate agents in the last 20 years.  Many report feeling downward pressure and some question whether national portals or advancing technology will eventually replace the real estate agent altogether.

In our panel Real Estate Technology Trends to Watch in 2018, our panel of experts addressed this issue of what can be done to alleviate some of this pressure induced by technology.

Agents can start by flipping their perception of advancing technology.  Rather than thinking about technology as attacking the agent’s role or value, view technology through the eyes of the consumer.  Consumer demand will drive technology, whether it’s making properties easier to search, personalizing results, or expediting the sales process. It’s not an assault on agents,  it’s an effort to exceed consumer expectations.

Jack Berube, CEO and Founder of Pathway RE, clarified this position: “There is going to be significant downward pressure on commissions.  A lot of the tools people are building – you can build a much faster in today's real estate business.  That will put on a different kind of pressure [on agents and brokers].”

The pressure won’t be replacing or devaluing the real estate agent, rather it will be expediting the entire real estate process. Everything from launching a business to closing a deal will go faster as technology advances. 

“There are faster and cheaper ways to get things done than how we do it today,” Berube said.  “A real estate agent [today] is compensated based on a percentage of the value of the home.  That is not mainline anymore.   Agents who want to stay competitive must be able to build their business quickly and stay focused on client-facing activities.  [That is what will] distinguish between the have and have nots in the next 6-8 years.”

Agents should focus on how to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.  They will likely need to do more transactions at a faster pace in the coming years.  The agent’s role will  still be critical, but to succeed they “must treat their business like a real business.”

The entire panel agreed that speed was going to be the main change in the coming year.  Technology has yet to address the efficiency of a close, which is the next area to tackle according to Aaron Kardell, CEO and Co-Founder of HomeSpotter.  “Where we still have a long way to go is the time to close, which is still quite high,” he said.  “This is really an area where we’re still in the very early stages.  There are regulatory reasons that it is this way, but when you see new players like Open Door that are making an offer to close a deal in a few days, that’s really an area where we might see some big changes in the future.”

REALTORS are facing new pressures with advancing technology, but according to our expert panel, it might not be where they think it is.  It’s not an effort to alleviate the role of the agent, rather it’s an effort to expedite the entire real estate transaction.  To keep up with this accelerated pace, agents must get more efficient with administrative tasks, stay in front of clients as much as possible, and be willing to do a higher quantity of transactions at a potentially lower rate.

The is the second part in our series of Real Estate Technology trends to watch in 2018.  If you are interested in getting the monthly OnBlog talk delivered to your inbox, sign up to our blog.  Feel free to reach out with questions or comments below.  

 

Is Technology Helping or Hurting the Real Estate Industry?

“When Keller Williams is renaming itself a technology company, it’s probably fairly important,” said Mike Schneider, CEO of First.io in our recent Technology Panel.   There’s no doubt technology is important, but we wanted to know from the group if they felt real estate was helping or hurting our industry.

The overwhelming consensus?  Real estate companies and professionals benefit from technology, but only when they use it right.

“As a whole, [technology is] helping [the industry],” said Aaron Kardell, CEO and Co-Founder of HomeSpotter.  He cautioned however, that technology shouldn’t replace face-to-face time and connections between clients and realtors.  “Real estate as its core is really a relational business,” he said. “Agents that maintain strong relationships with their clients are the most successful.”

Any technology that is incorporated into the process of buying or selling a home should increase the time spent on productive, valuable activities.  The entire panel felt like client-facing time was the most beneficial for any real estate professional.  Technology that reduced the time it took to complete administrative tasks was a huge benefit to both the professional and the industry.

“Technology is most of the time a good thing, however there is an ongoing problem of noise in the business,” said Jack Berube, CEO and Founder of Pathway RE.   He continued to explain there is general agreement among investors and industry analysts that there is a lot of noise in the real estate technology space.  As a realtor, the challenge will be to focus on what you personally are trying to improve for your business, especially as the noise increases.

“If the technology isn’t immediately making an impact so you can spend more time on client-facing actives, then it’s probably not a good thing,” said Berube.

 While overall the panel believed technology was benefiting real estate, there was a concern not only on the volume and amount of the technology available, but also what that technology was trying to achieve.  “Technology has been helping, but it’s almost hard to talk about technology in that generality.  Most technology is focused on generating or curating more leads, which doesn’t facilitate relationships,” said Schneider.  “We’re at Stage One for a lot of technologies that are actually going to fit agents workflows than just more marketing to drive leads that we know don’t drive the industry.”

Technology that depletes client facing time for realtors, like superfluous lead generation, is where technology risks harming individual agents and the industry as a whole.  The group emphasized the importance of understanding the business of real estate and only applying technology where it makes sense.  They were encouraged with some of the shifts away from pure lead generation, and using technology to identify likely home sellers within your network, expedite administrative tasks, or more easily promote the agent’s core competency as a local area expert. 

Schneider finished up the discussion with an optimistic note: “We’re already seeing massive amounts of venture capital [in real estate technology], so we’re going to see a lot of changes, which should make more agents overall more effective.”

Listen to the entire conversation here.  

 

VIDEO: Panel on Technology Trends to Watch in 2018

This week we were thrilled to host the leaders of First.io, HomeSpotter, Pathway RE and Relola to discuss the technology trends to watch in 2018 and beyond.  The video from this dynamic, informative conversation is now ready to view. 

This January, we will kick off a four-part series that dives into some of the topics discussed.

  • Part I – Is Technology helping or hurting the real estate industry?
  •  Part II – The biggest pressures realtors are facing today and what they can do to overcome those pressures
  • Part III – Technology time out -  What technology can we ignore this year?
  •  Part IV – The technology and companies making the biggest impact on real estate
  • Part V -  The technology no real estate company can live without in 2018

If you are interested in getting notified when these articles are posted, simply register to get monthly updates.

The Best Leads are Already in Your Network

In real estate, there’s a lot of talk about lead generation.  In fact, we learned in an extensive survey resulting in the white paper: Generating New Business in Real Estate, that purchasing leads was the #1 marketing expense for real estate agents and brokers.  

It’s not where most agents get the most listings, however.

Those tend to come from existing relationships, personal connections and referrals.  That means there is a discrepancy between where agents spend their marketing dollars and what yields the greatest return.  

There is data that helps explain why. Per the National Association of REALTORS®, 88% of consumers say they would use their agent again, but only 23% actually do. So agents -- for whatever reason -- aren’t staying in touch with their sphere in the right ways.

What if instead of treating these as “transactions,” agents used technology to stay in contact with those connections and identify when they might be likely to make another move? That would build loyalty, increase the number of referrals, and significantly increase the value of every agent’s network.

First is using big data and machine learning to help agents do just that.

First is a company that helps agents work smarter. Their software identifies people thinking about selling their home months before they list.  This helps the agent prioritize outreach and head off the competition. Rather than purchasing more leads, First empowers agents to cultivate their own contacts to yield a better return.

The technology at First considers more than 700 factors on each person in the agent’s database to assess their likelihood to move. They track the truly important data at scale, including demographics, income changes, purchasing behavior, mortgage information, and life events.

To get started with First, agents simply import their contacts into the proprietary system. The First algorithm generates a Seller Score for each homeowner that alerts the agent when a contact shows signs of movement, generally 6-9 months before they’ve even decided to sell.

Agents use First's mobile app to stay on top of their best opportunities and call or message their contacts with one click. First's Scheduling Assistants will even schedule face-to-face meetings for the agent with people who are highly likely to sell.

First is helping agents take the guesswork out of their network. Real estate is and always will be a relationship business, but First brings the power of big data into the mix. That way, agents can identify the stronger prospects from people they already know, and foster those relationships in meaningful ways.

Early outcomes show agents yielding a much higher return when they reallocate their resources toward their existing network rather than lead generation.  

To hear First CEO and Co-Founder, Mike Schneider, and other industry leaders discuss technology trends to watch in 2018, sign up for our free webinar December 19.

The Best Real Estate App to Showcase Your Local Expertise

Real estate market data is more available than ever. Consumers know the value of their homes and more and more tools put the power into the hands of the buyer and seller.

But that’s only half the story.

Expertise is proving to be a top differentiator, even as technology automates significant areas of the real estate transaction process.  

Relola is working to fix that by helping REALTORS® amplify their expertise and broadcast the local Insights that put listings into context.

Relola highlights local expertise.

Relola is a free app that allows agents to work as a social network, sharing reviews, thoughts, and insights on local properties for sale and neighborhood features.  

Both consumers and agents benefit from this innovative technology. Agents create engaging, local content filled with valuable expertise which grows their digital footprint and makes them easier to find through organic search. Consumers get a better picture of the community features, the houses they are browsing and the specialization of the agent.   

Agents share insights on listings and local features.

Why should agents map the listings they preview? Simple. They get to share their unique perspective.

Some Insights might describe how a buyer might improve a kitchen layout, add value with landscaping, or enjoy the entertaining space in a home. Sharing listing Insights with Relola not only shares the specifics, such as the beds and baths of a property, but presents inspiration on what the home could become and who the ideal buyer might be.  As more consumers are looking for a trusted advisor to help them buy a home, these Insights can make their online browsing experience more engaging.  

But listings don’t exist in a vacuum. They are surrounded by local features that bring unique aspects to the area.

Agents can share Insights on the best local coffee spot or the cheapest place to get a shirt dry cleaned in the area. These types of reviews offer a full picture of not only the home and its potential, but of what it will be like to live there.  

The more agents share their local expertise, whether on their own listings, or on other agent’s listings, the more they position themselves as a local expert. Home buyers and sellers who read an agent’s insights may decide to work with them based on what they know or how they assess a property.  All parties benefit by having informed consumers who are ready to make a decision by the time they reach out.

Crowdsourcing is just one of many technology trends to be utilized to better the real estate industry. Visit relola.com to learn more and download the free app.

To hear the founder of Relola, Heather Sittig Jackson, and other industry leaders discuss technology trends to watch in 2018, sign up for our free webinar December 19.

 

 

A New Central Operating System for the Real Estate Industry

Technology is changing nearly every industry, including real estate.  Soon things like virtual home visits and property suggestions based on machines learning will become a reality with ever-advancing technologies.  In real estate, some companies are embracing the change.   

Pathway is an all-in-one platform for real estate agents

Pathway is an all-in-one platform for real estate agents

Pathway RE has developed an all-in-one platform that serves as a hub for every step of a real estate agent’s process. As a lead comes in, Pathway captures key information, so agents can respond quickly, scheduling appointments, writing notes on each buyer or seller, and staying organized.  The platform generates automatic and informative emails for every contact in the system to keep agents top-of-mind throughout the buying or selling process.

Pathway is great for agent teams as well, making it easy to add team members to different deals and assign various tasks. Documents can be stored within Pathway, which also offers secure document signing and records all transactions with timestamps.  All commissions, financial details, and transactions are also tracked and stored.

“I saw a need for a centralized operational system for agents and agent teams,” said Berube.  “There are so many transactions, leads, and steps to keep track of and manage.  I thought the more we could automate this process and make it easier for agents, the more time they could spend selling homes rather than dealing with paperwork or chasing down a lead.”

Pathway was recognized by Inman News and Atlanta Agent Magazine who called it “the ‘Swiss-Army Knife’ of Real Estate Software” and the “industry’s first ‘right-sized’ cloud-based, mobile real estate management system.”

Pathway has developed the technology to replace the outdated tools of the industry, with all the features that real estate professionals need today. To hear the founder of Pathway, Jack Berube, and other industry leaders discuss technology trends to watch in 2018, sign up for our free webinar December 19.  Register below.

Does Your Facebook Need a Boost?

17.7% of agents say social media marketing is their #1 marketing expense, according to the white paper Generating Business in Real EstateThe blog Contactually claims that 80% of realtors are using Facebook for professional use.   Facebook’s prevalence in real estate is likely the reason Facebook is getting more involved in our industry.

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But while Facebook is a significant marketing outlet for many real estate professionals, creating and monitoring Facebook advertising to yield quality leads and revenue is not easy.  In fact, it can be a full-time job.

HomeSpotter, a real estate technology platform, has the answer.  They recently launched Boost, a tool that automates every aspect of Facebook advertising to save time and produce better results.  Boost connects directly with the MLS so when it receives a notification of a new listing or open house, it automatically generates a polished, professional Facebook ad on behalf of their clients. 

First, it populates the copy, the image, and the agent’s logo and headshot.  It even includes elements likely to draw attention, like a “New” banner at the top of the ad.  Users of the Boost platform can change or modify any aspect of the ad, or simply approve it.

Next, Boost creates a custom audience for the ad based on their big data tools. 

Finally, Boost drives all traffic from the ads to a unique lead page created on the client’s behalf and designed to generate quality leads.  Agents, teams, and brokerages no longer need to create custom landing pages or spend valuable time crafting the perfect headline.  Boost automates the entire process.

“We heard from clients that Facebook advertising was important, but they just didn’t have the time to do it consistently,” said Aaron Kardell, Founder and CEO of HomeSpotter.  “Boost helps every real estate organization, regardless of size or marketing experience, effectively advertise on Facebook.”

Boost is an excellent example of how automation is changing real estate.  To hear Kardell and other industry leaders discuss other technology trends to watch in 2018, sign up for our free webinar December 19.