As a real estate professional, you’re familiar with all the pain points of real estate. From convincing a buyer that a particular home is right for him to sourcing new listings, real estate is not for the faint of heart. The advent of the Internet changed many things, and the real estate scene is no different. These days, property listings are almost exclusively online, and people are aware of this. While it might seem like the real estate agent’s job has gotten easier from the good old days…. In reality, it hasn’t.
What if we told you that you didn’t have to comb through listings for hours each day? What if we told you that new listings could be delivered to you in spreadsheet format, with all the information you’d need to make a move? What we’ve just described is web scraping in a nutshell. If you’d like to know more about web scraping, keep on reading!
Why is a residential proxy provider necessary for web scraping?
When you perform web scraping, the bots you use (more on this later) will send out multiple connection requests as they visit numerous sites to collect the data you need. Servers might flag the activity as suspicious, which could lead to your bot being blacklisted or suspended.
With a residential proxy provider like Smartproxy, you’ll be given access to over 40 million IP addresses for each connection request. That means your bots can visit as many sites as they want to without any slowdowns or Captcha verifications.
Click here to learn more about Smartproxy and how it can help you use web scraping more effectively in your real estate business.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping involves the use of software to trawl various sites in an attempt to consolidate data. This software is called “scraper bots”, and they can be programmed to retrieve information on any site on the Internet.
What are the benefits of web scraping in real estate?
Web scraping opens up an entirely new world for real estate.
You simply need to set your scraper bot to retrieve information on properties like the size, property type, sale price and amenities surrounding it. Gone are the days of you having to manually research each of these on your own and then painstakingly compare them between other properties. Your scraper bot will summarise all of this information into a spreadsheet for you, so you can easily view information on the properties on a single page.
Here are four main ways web scraping can help your real estate business:
- Appraising A Property’s Value
Appraisals require information in the fields of time of sale and proximity, square footage, and the age of the property.
With web scraping, you can easily retrieve sales information within a set time period, as compared to manually searching through public records to find comparable sales.
Though it might seem like an apparent item to scrape, square footage is vital in determining a home’s value and can provide you with undisclosed information, like whether the property underwent a renovation that could potentially increase its value.
Through the use of discrete filters and search constraints, you can exclude the age and lot size of a property from being included in web scraped results. This will prevent your other data from being skewed, giving the impression that other homes are worth less than they really are.
- Monitoring Vacancy Rates.
Every experienced real estate agent knows monitoring natural vacancy rates (NVR) is the key to being prepared for trends in the market. Static NVR’s just don’t cut it anymore since actual NVRS vary over historical periods and across commercial, residential and special use properties.
No one has the time or resources to continually track and analyze this data. This is where web scraping comes into play. Incorporating scraped data into your real estate processes enables you to determine the best time to buy or sell susceptible properties.
It even poses several benefits for buyers. This data can shine a light on various vacancy opportunities, helping them to negotiate better. Even property managers can use scraped data to manage their expectations and decide if they can weather potential storms without liquidating their assets.
- Estimating Rental Yields.
Even if your desired rental yields are high, minor market fluctuations in any number of related variables and cause volatility in specific markets. Web scraping historical yields allows you to filter out the noise and focus on comparable properties in the vicinity of a target property. You’ll be able to remove all the other factors that go up and down and remain focused on the property at hand.
- Understanding Market Direction.
Web scraping allows you to know what market investor activity is rising in, which clearly indicates that the area is about to appreciate in value.
It can even give you key areas of comparison, like the net growth in investor activity and the ratio of investors, so you can decide which upcoming market to focus on. This also alerts you to upcoming trends.
Lastly, web scraping also allows realtors to see how long a property has been on the market. One can see the average time houses have been on sale and compare them with other homes. Some realtors might become concerned if a house takes over five to six months to sell, but with all the other data you have on the house, you’ll be able to troubleshoot and decide what the issue is. Is the asking price too high? Or does the house need to be marketed in a different light?
Web scraping holds tremendous promise for the real estate industry. It goes far beyond simply recording down house prices and other essential factors. When used correctly, it can be a very powerful business tool, one that will give you an edge over your competitors.
No matter how good a realtor is, one can’t deny that those who use automated web scrapers will be the first ones at the scene of every property that needs to be bought or sold. Like the Internet, web scraping is yet another innovative invention that will transform real estate as we know it. Instead of resisting change, we should move with the times, so we don’t get left behind when newer, leaner competition comes into the market.