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Industry, Residential Real Estate

November 15, 2018

A Real Estate Agent's New Secret Weapon, Data for Local Schools

How Agents Can Use Advances In Data Technology To Be The True Local Resource For School Information.

New Research Shows Just How Vital School Data is to Home Shoppers Today

The big advantage for brokers and agents in this digital day and age is the ability to provide a wealth of in-depth school information right on their websites. That information can truly make them the go-to resource for home shopping parents or moms and dads to be.

School Statistics

According to a study by the National Association of REALTORS®, home buyers from 37 to 51 years of age say the quality of schools (35%) and distance to the school (31%) were some of the key factors they use to purchase a home.

What's also an overlooked statistic is that buyers in this demographic tend to have the highest median-priced homes of all other buyers. This statistic makes sense when you consider that kids need bedrooms and more children mean square footage.

Another survey showed that more than 50% of home shoppers concerned about schools would be willing to go over their initial budget if they could find a home in a highly-rated school district.

That's Good News, But It Gets Even Better

About 10% of those home buyers interested in schools would be willing to go as much as 20% over their budget to be in the right neighborhood for the best schools.

In a national study in 2103, the real estate company Redfin found that people pay $50 more per square foot on average for homes in top school districts. Do you see the picture here? Home shopping parents are willing to spend quite a bit more on a property near great schools.

A broker or agent can use these statistics to help a seller justify aggressive pricing on their home and to persuade home buyers that this home has tremendous value, a factor they need to consider above square footage or the age of the kitchen.

How to Attract the School-Oriented Home Shopper

As you can see, this type of home buyer is very desirable. Naturally, every agent will want to reach out to them. The key is there is technology available today for brokers and agents to add a wealth of in-depth school data right on their websites. They don't have to go through the time-consuming task of finding that information themselves and keeping it current.

There are national school data aggregators that gather this information for REALTORS®. These data companies find, filter and organize all the available school data from many different sources. All a broker or agent has to do is embed a simple School Data API, or a few lines of code, onto their website. Once they have this school data, there are several ways they can market themselves as the school resource to parents. For example, take School Attendance Zones.  These boundaries are super critical when trying to determine which schools students will attend in each neighborhood.

What most people don't realize is that these zones can be different for different grades. One home might be in a zone for a top-rated elementary school but not in the same zone for a similar middle school or high school. It's also possible that a school attendance zone might reach into an entirely different school district, that has a reciprocal agreement with another school district.

Secondly, these zones change constantly. Knowing these school attendance zones and adding them to a Realtor's website provides a tremendous resource for parents. It's also a fantastic marketing tool for listings.

An agent can integrate school boundaries on a map to show the school attendance zones integrated with local MLS listings. That's powerful. Think how impressed a homeowner would be to see how well you will market their property regarding their proximity to a desirable school. There are other school data available from national data aggregators as well. That information includes:
 
  • School enrollment numbers
 
  • Student/teacher ratios
 
  • School demographics
 
  • School addresses
 
  • School contact information
 
  • Name of the school principal

Rather than telling prospects, "Oh, we have great schools in this area," show them the schools are great by providing them with impressive in-depth data. This information can also be a helpful tool when generating content for social media blasts. For a few dollars, an agent can also buy advertisements on Facebook for example, that targets just parents and certain age groups, etc.

Also, include this information in email campaigns and mailers. Tell homeowners, "You live in a great school district. Let me show you how I am going to promote the value of your location to parents interested in schools." Parents will search online for an in-depth resource on schools located in the neighborhoods they are researching. But as most people know, the web can be a jangled mess when trying to find the right information. 

People will give preference to a broker or agent who is located in the markets they are researching if that broker or agent has a full range of school data on their website. They know this is a local person with a resource they can trust. In other word, schools sell homes. Big homes. 

We are living in the era of "Big Data" which offers a big advantage to the average broker and agent today. Be sure you take advantage of this technology to provide critical school data that parents want and serves this valuable segment of the market.

Robert Caston is a real estate data technology writer for Home Junction Inc. He frequently writes about new trends in the industry and how agents can improve their websites, marketing and lead generation with Real Estate Data APIs, WordPress Real Estate Themes and Plugins.

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