By Michael Lane | President, ShowingTime
Housing data can be intimidating for even the most seasoned real estate professional — so, it should come as no surprise when a client expresses some trepidation when the conversation turns to market stats. Working with any client, there comes a time where the use of current market data to guide the conversation is all but mandatory. What’s a REALTOR® to do?
Making data easily digestible and relatable for clients is a challenge every successful REALTOR® will have to overcome at some point. There are tools that help make it easy for you — and they’re included in your Chicago Association of REALTORS® membership. ShowingTime’s MarketStats solutions like FastStats and InfoSparks are essential tools that offer access to the latest relevant market statistics, enhanced with powerful visualization features to help paint a vivid picture of the market.
MAKE DATA MARKETABLE
In today’s tech-driven world, ample data is readily available. With a quick click or scroll, anyone can uncover a wealth of seemingly authoritative statistics on almost anything in a matter of minutes. For a prospective client, access to this wealth of data can be a double-edged sword. Not only is data often difficult to interpret, inaccurate data is ubiquitous, leading to a situation where many don’t know what to believe.
That’s where you come in. Your prospective clients are looking for someone who can navigate the veritable jungle of clickbait headlines and bold predictions about the next new trends in the market and come away with accurate, actionable analysis. The REALTOR® who can share this data in an eye-catching way will have seized on an excellent marketing tool — and a way to strengthen their brand not only as an authority on the market, but also as someone who provides a personal touch.
InfoSparks and FastStats make data truly marketable, helping you gather relevant, in-demand real estate data in one place. But these solutions are more than mere data aggregators — they allow you to combine multiple variables to create visually appealing and easy- to-digest reports to share with potential clients.
Social media, for example, provides the optimal medium for data sharing. With the average American spending more than two hours a day socializing online, there are few better avenues to increase brand awareness and position yourself as a thought leader among competitors.
You can use the data you glean from InfoSparks and FastStats to create vibrant, eminently shareable infographics. Start by picking two or three data sets in one area, then use those reports to make one infographic highlighting that city, neighborhood, etc. There are many free tools available to help you make your own infographic easily. Piktochart is a great example of a free, easy-to-use site for beginners who are interested in designing appealing infographics; simply choose from one of the site’s many pre-built templates and insert the charts and graphs that you pull from InfoSparks or FastStats.
USE DATA TO HAVE TOUGH CONVERSATIONS
A house that won’t sell is undoubtedly one of the most stressful, all-too-common issues a REALTOR® faces. We hear all the time that having “the talk” with clients can make for a roadblock in what otherwise would be a smooth transaction. Given the investments a seller may have put into a house, both emotional and financial, it’s easy to see why a client may be resistant to changing their asking price or against making necessary changes to make a house more appealing to prospective buyers, even in the face of a lengthy time on the market.
Data can become a powerful ally when you’re faced with difficult conversations.
InfoSparks is updated with the MRED market data nightly, so your insights are backed by accurate, up-to-date information. You could, for example, pull a neighborhood’s median or average days on market data, strong evidence to support a compelling argument for making some changes to a listing. Because the data is current and accurate, clients can be sure that they are meaningful and unbiased.
Of course, data alone doesn’t tell the story. That’s why InfoSparks gives you access to an extensive array of charts and graphs to convey the data visually, helping clients see what’s going on in their neighborhood’s housing market. Once you’ve managed to remove the usual suspects about why a house may not be selling as quickly as a seller may like, you can turn to InfoSparks to assess an area’s comparable listings, exporting relevant data into visually appealing, branded charts that you then can share with sellers via printed materials or electronic communications.
For example, you can begin a tough conversation by pulling a report on the average length of time a house is on the market in the neighborhood where your client lives. Maybe your client has priced their home too high. Find out by running a report on comparable homes in their area and show the average sale price. There are hundreds of data variables available to customize, create, export and share with clients.
PROVIDE CONTEXT TO THE NUMBERS
If you took a foreign language course at some point but never continued learning the language, you know that while you may be able to recognize some words and phrases years later, you lack the deeper understanding needed to converse with a native speaker. Interpreting housing data is like that. While your clients may very
well have an understanding of the basic principles regarding market
statistics, the complexity of the market requires a professional to make sense of them. Numbers may not lie, but they can mislead.
That’s why a good REALTOR® is, in many respects, an interpreter, translating the peaks and valleys of the market into guidance that your clients depend on. For example, your clients may be hearing a lot of talk in the news about a particular housing trend which could be accurate, but which also needs the proper context to be correctly interpreted.
This again provides an opportunity for you to leverage your access to
accurate data, which can be used to contextualize a key housing indicator. The thorough, 13-page Monthly Indicators report covers each aspect of the market and paints a bigger picture about current trends. You can use the report to analyze key metrics like new listings, median sales price and average list price and display them longitudinally. In this way, you can highlight seasonal trends or point out an aberration in the market by looking at how a similar listing has fared in months and years past.
The subject of housing statistics is often intimidating for clients to understand and for REALTORS® to explain, but it doesn’t have to be. ShowingTime’s MarketStats solutions, included with your Chicago Association of REALTORS® membership, are designed to remove the guesswork about interpreting and sharing market data, giving you a powerful tool to attract new clients and engage existing ones alike.