Research Q&A

Most agents have access to property data but how many actually know how to use it in sales situations? Office resources are short in these tough times, so it’s wise to make sure you’re using all the features of your property data service. Tim Lawless, National Research Director at rpdata.com , answers agents’ questions.

Developers are now becoming a bigger part of my client base and I am often asked to find sites within a land area range. Can this be done through an rpdata.com search and if so, how? One of the easiest ways to identify development sites is to use the area filter that is available within the rpdata.com ‘quick report’ facility. The search criteria provides the ability to filter the search data based on a minimum and maximum land area as defined by the user.

Development sites can also be aggregations of several properties. One of the best ways to identify adjacent sites within a particular area is to use rpdata.com’s proprietary mapping facility which includes a measuring tool. The total area, frontage and length of boundaries can be determined using this facility. Even better, once you have located a property of interest on the map, simply click on it to view the property details.

I have heard that maps offer an additional point of difference when putting together presentations. Can you explain the advantages of using maps and how I do this? They say a picture tells a thousand words. Maps provide a visual component to reporting and statistics. The rpdata.com Professionals service integrates directly with Google Maps, Google Street View, MS Live Maps and RP Data’s proprietary mapping system.

At the most basic level, an aerial map can show the lay of the land including the amount of vegetation, the position of the home on the block of land, proximity of neighbours, distance to the nearest school etc. By adding labels such as sales details, area and site dimensions, this creates a fantastic graphic image to include in your presentations.

Taking the mapping facility a step further, rpdata.com’s proprietary mapping system also allows the subscriber to show themes on the maps such as recent sales, properties that are currently available for sale or for rent, ownership details or any combination of the above.

I often have trouble convincing vendors and buyers of my market opinion – how can I use property data to help me in this area? Sometimes comparable sales and historical evidence are just not enough to describe the true market conditions. This is where an AVM (Automated Valuation Model) can become an integral document that you can use to persuade your client on correct pricing. It acts as an independent third party document providing a price guide.

Another fantastic tool that assists in the process of educating and gaining the trust of a prospective vendor is to provide them with a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) Report. While you have probably presented the vendor a list of comparable sales, or even printed off the sales report, a CMA is different in that it provides the sales evidence in a structured and well presented format together with complementary information such as median price trends and a demographic profile of the area. Each week more than 15,000 CMA reports are produced on the rpdata.com platform.

Finding listings is tough at the moment. How does buying your property data service help me actually win more business?

There are so many ways that rpdata.com can be used to identify new listing opportunities. One of the best ways is to pinpoint properties that have been held for longer than seven years and ensure the owners are aware of your services. The average ‘hold period’ for a property in Australia is seven years, so the law of averages suggests that properties held for at least this period should be considered a primary target.

Another way to gather new business is to use RP Data to build your market profile. Building a personal brand in and around your primary trade area is exceptionally important for any real estate agent. RP Data provides regular data feeds such as the weekly Property Pulse newsletter, suburb profiles, property news items, auction clearance rates and many other useful pieces of information that can be incorporated into your own newsletters and media releases or simply place the information in your display window and listings presentations as an educational tool.

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Tim Lawless

Tim Lawless is the Research Director at CoreLogic Asia Pacific. Tim has been in the Australian housing market industry for more than 20 years with a focus on research.