This article originally appeared in Florida Realtor magazine. Reprinted with permission of Florida Realtors. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.
This sales associate found an app that helps him show and tell. Albert Vasquez, a sales associate with ACM International Realty Inc. in Miami, was working with buyers who couldn’t decide which property to buy. “[They were] debating between two properties within the same community,” he says. To put things into perspective, Vasquez turned to RE:Focus Analytics to build a custom report.
“I developed a report and was able to show them, with colorful graphics, why one deal was better for them than the other. [Concerning] price per square foot, one house had a [fair list price], and the other had a list price that would ultimately have appraisal and valuation issues,” he says. Vasquez notes that the buyers could have made a lower offer on the higher-priced home, but “they could lose the cheaper one in the process. The cheaper one was priced perfectly and would sell very quickly.” The buyers made their offer on the lower-priced home and closed.
RE:Focus Analytics is a free real estate app that uses MLS data to show customers what’s currently happening in the market. The app has interactive charts and graphs that help support the advice you give customers to enable them to make better, more informed decisions.
Here’s how Vasquez uses RE:Focus Analytics with his iPad:
1. Market Analysis
Since Vasquez works in several subdivisions, he runs reports by ZIP code on those neighborhoods and creates graphs and visuals of the information. “I created an analysis for two hot ZIP codes in areas where I specialize. I built a graph that showed year over year how the market has changed [regarding measures] such as closed sales, median prices, price per square foot, etc.,” he says. He then posted the graph to his social media pages. “this program provides the data that we can get on the MLS, but in visuals. Telling [people] the number is one thing, but giving them a pie chart or a graph [provides] them a clear visual.”
2. Responding to Leads.
Vasquez uses the charts and graphs from RE:Focus Analytics in his listing presentations and in contacts with prospective buyers and sellers. “I get leads through Market Leader [a lead generation program]. I insert certain charts from [RE:Focus Analytics] into the information I send back to these leads,” he says. For example if the prospective buyer is interested in a specific neighborhood or house, Vasquez will send that person a chart of graph that shows pricing trends in that specific subdivision. “One subdivison had a year over year price increase. [Sending these charts] gives buyers a more informed view of the subdivisons,” he says. “That specific information makes them more likely to call me.”
“I get leads, and the prospective sellers say they want a market analysis and home evaluation, so I’ll drop these reports at their door,” he says. “Oftentimes, the seller is at home, so we look through the reports together [right then]. People are drawn into the visuals that show pricing trends and price per square foot for property sold,” he says. “Many times, sellers are so impressed that no official listing presentation is necessary. They just call me and tell me to come over to list their home,” he says.
4. Listing Presentations.
Of course, not everyone does that, so he does go on listing presentations. “I include customized charts and graphs in my listings presentations,” he says. The best part, he says, is that the app is interactive. “I can put in different values or ZIP codes and show data in different ways,” he says. For example, if sellers are interested in pricing trends in their neighborhood, Vasquez can pull up the information by ZIP code and then drill down by subdivision or break it down by price per square foot.
When he’s with buyers, he can pull up a subdivision’s sales history, median price per square foot and more. “For example, if the buyer is looking at a three-bedroom home in a specific subdivision, I can break down the information and graph out comparable properties’ price per square foot, listing price medians and days on market. It’s a powerful tool, ” he says. “The visuals help buyers understand pricing.”
6. Social Media.
“It’s one thing to post something on Facebook about prices in a specific neighborhood. It’s another to post the visual,” says Vasquez. He will build graphs and charts about specific subdivisions and market statistics, and then post them on Facebook along with a description. “Usually, within a week, I hear from people who will ask me for information on their neighborhood,” he says.
- Computer: Dual Screen iMac 27-inch with 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
- Phone: iPhone 5, 64 GB
- Web Services: Market Leader, Dropbox, Florida Realtors Form Simplicity, DocuSign
- Camera: Sony DSC-HX1 or iPhone 5
- Apps: Fusion for iPad, Scanner Pro and PDF Expert
- Tablet: iPad 4th Generation, 32GB
The best part of this technology, says Vasquez, is that it’s free. The company recently made the app free to MLS subscribers in 15 areas of Florida. To find out if your area is one of them, go to refocusanalytics.com.
“A picture truly is worth a thousand words,” he says.
Of course, the program isn’t perfect. “RE:Focus Analytics is still missing listing data from a few MLS boards that belong to the Southeast Florida Regional MLS,” he says. He would also like see some additional information in the search results page. “I would like to view data such as whether or not it’s an REO, short sale or regular sale; the lot size; pool information; and active days on market. All this information is viewable in the app once you click on the property, but it would be nice to view it in the search results page without having to click on a property to find it,” he says.
Overall, though, Vasquez says it is a vital part of his business. “I use it on a daily basis, and it definitely is useful in attracting buyers and sellers.”