We recently talked about how real estate agents can use public records for prospecting. While your public records solution is a powerful tool for accomplishing this, did you know that agents can also stay connected with past clients, thanks to public records? As the MLS, you are in a unique position to educate your members on how to do this. Here's how. [More]
By RE Technology Staff
Everyone knows that public records are integral to closing a property sale, but have you really thought about how to use them to improve the price of a sale or to help you reach, or even exceed, your sales goals? Public records, more than ever due to easy digital access, can help you research property and build a clear picture of the seller's motivation to design a winning sales strategy. Here are a few examples:
1. What is the history of a property?
Tax assessor records indicate the age of a home, its improvements, roofing, subdivision, size and other value-based details. Plus, you will see how long the seller has owned the property and how much they paid. Knowing this level of detail about the properties you're showing gives buyers that extra sense of safety and you that extra bit of authority. Sellers and buyers respond favorably when the agent has done their research on the subject property.
2. What is the motivation for the sale and the financial picture?
Public records will tell you how many times a property has been on the market, withdrawn, and how long the seller has owned it. Is it a forced sale, or a flipper, or was there a legal incident like divorce or death? Are taxes owed? How much is still owed to the lender? Who is the lender: a large financial institution or a small or individual lender? All these details can tell you the predisposition of a seller, and help you address the seller's needs as well as the buyer's.
3. Assure buyers that you know exactly what they are buying.
For undeveloped property, maps can be crucial. They show topography and flood zones along with property lines and easements. Parcel maps fully identify the property, including developed properties in subdivisions. You may even discover development plans down the street or near the neighborhood that could impact the future value of a home. You'll find municipal codes and code violations. For people with kids, you will be able to tell them about the schools, nearby parks and neighborhood characteristics.
4. Generate great comparables.
With the level of detail public records give you, you can narrow the comparison list based on property facts. Again, your buyers will have greater trust and feel less compelled to question your information and guidance. You even can add FSBO sales, not just agent facilitated sales.
5. Digital farming.
There is no denying that agents who focus their marketing on specific areas or neighborhoods have more success. Public records data allows agents to pull a farming area and leverage that for direct mail and neighborhood market trends.
Overall, developing a solid relationship with both the seller and the buyer is dramatically supported through the use of public records. However, doing this work via various online sources is as time intensive as it is valuable. In many markets, CRS Data is a preferred solution. With CRS Data and their MLS Tax Suite, you get an entire in-house team to save you loads of time. You'll get the information you need to guide your customers in making informed, confident decisions that work for everyone. Both buyers and sellers benefit and will remember their experience with you, leading to future clients and sales.
The Transparency of Public Records
by: CRS Data
One of the most difficult aspects of commercial and residential lending is parsing the data needed to make the most informed business decisions. Even when this data is a matter of public record, obtaining - and comprehending - the data you need isn't always easy.
The challenge of public records For years, many people seeking access to records have criticized the process of petitioning and obtaining what should be publicly available information. Part of this is a logistical issue: with records being maintained by a variety of autonomous municipalities - from county courts all the way up to the federal government - there is no centralized database for those seeking access to these records to use.
Compounding the issue is the fact that the process of petitioning for and obtaining this data is rarely transparent. Information regarding how to request public records is often difficult to find and the process - both from the perspective of the petitioner and the workflow the request goes though - unclear. For example, the official guidance for making a request for public records in Massachusetts specifies that requests for public records must be made to "the entity that created or received them." Who or what this entity is may not be immediately apparent to the requestor, which may itself require some investigation.
Further complicating matters is the fact that, by the admission of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law doesn't specify a set format for requesting these records, nor the costs related to obtaining them. This could be considered ambiguous at best, frustrating - even costly, particularly for those who need this data to drive better business decisions - at worst.
A push for greater access In response to this ambiguity, many counties have sought ways to increase ease of access to public records. A recent initiative by the city of Rochester, New York, sees lawmakers trying to craft a streamlined, intuitive system for obtaining public records online.
"It's been a long time coming," Mayor Lovely Warren told Democrat & Chronicle. "Every document we create belongs to the public. Every dollar we spend is the public's money."
This initiative, and a similar initiative started in in Ithaca, New York, cuts down on the amount of municipal resources required to search for and maintain public records. However, the challenge of transparency remains as, even though this data is technically available, much of it isn't indexed, parsed or tagged. This renders finding relevant data a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.
"You need to know where to look," James Smith, Rochester's communications director, told Democrat & Chronicle. "We do a good job of putting lots of information on the city website, but it's a little inside baseball in knowing where to get it."
Ultimately, this means that, to find the data you need to drive smart informative decisions, it helps to work with the best. CRS Data is the solution with that offers the most accurate, up-to-date property data across multiple counties, all with an intuitive user interface that makes browsing property data easy. Find listings and FSBOs quickly, evaluate them effectively and give your clients professional presentations with our industry-leading software.
For more information, please visit www.crsdata.com
If you have access to a property records product, whether through an MLS member benefit or by purchasing it, chances are you might be overlooking some key tools that are right at your fingertips. It’s easy to get in the middle of churning out basic property reports and forget that prospecting, extensive map perspectives, valuations and so much more is easily accessible through this data-rich software. Our team is constantly working to connect you with our newest innovations and tools.
“During our trainings across the country, we constantly hear from agents who are surprised and downright excited to learn that the CRS Data MLS Tax Suite can make their life so much easier by tapping into tools they didn’t know existed,” said Sara Cooper, director of customer experience for CRS Data. “Rarely does someone leave without discovering a new feature.”
So before you login to your public records product again, take some time to review a few select features you might not know existed:
1. The Prospecting Section: This area, most often accessible as a stand-alone section, is simple to use and easily generates mailing lists for postcard marketing. Your list should be easily updated based on area, and active listings can be removed for any specified time to create a refined mailing list. You can export your list to Excel and you should also be able to start printing on any chosen label on a used sheet.
2. The Drawing Tool: If you need to view the distance between properties or even the distance from a property to a flood zone, the drawing tool (consult your provider to identify your specific tool name if not using the MLS Tax Suite by CRS Data) will be your best friend. Just navigate to a map view and use this tool to quickly view latitude, longitude and area and distance measurements.
3. Pulling Comparables (From a Starting Address or Map View): We’ve found that while our comparables section is used quite often, most agents start with a specific property address, which is absolutely fine. But you also have the option of starting from a map view and using a shape tool to pull all comparable properties for a specific area. With just a few clicks you can set your borders and the system will pull properties for simplified review, even allowing you to delete outliers and refine your results.
4. Map Layers: The Map Layers section should quickly become your go-to spot for mining data and exploring listings. This area is rich in information, all of which is viewed from a simplified map perspective. Here, you should be able to view recent sales and specify your view by history (for example, sales in the past six months) and turn off and on current listings. You can refine this section in-depth, making it an invaluable tool when viewing listings and comps.
5. Refined Values Tool: This section makes it possible to enter the details of a home renovation or update and create an estimated value based on local renovation data. This can be incredibly helpful for clients who made updates to their home or are considering a renovation before selling. The data can then be used to accurately update your comparable listing.
In addition to these useful tools, be sure to explore your demographics section and the facts and figures data. These areas often provide access to data that can bring peace-of-mind or that added level of knowledge to your reports that can be so appreciated by clients. Our team is always available to discuss new solutions and tools that make property data so valuable.
Our CRS Data team has been perfecting our tradeshow travel plans for the year and we’re very pleased to have a long list in front of us. This is an exciting year since we’ll be traveling throughout the U.S. to share our new CRS Data MLS Tax Suite, complete with updated mapping capabilities and refined usability across our entire product.
We know you’re itching to take a look at all our new features, so we’d like to share the tradeshows we’re currently planning to attend. These are great spots for us to meet with our customers, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re planning to attend and would like some one-on-one time to take a closer look at our new MLS Tax Suite (or just want to say hi!).
Our tradeshow schedule is not set in stone of course. As always, we like to keep things fluid so we have the chance to add new events as they come up.
We’re looking forward to seeing you this year!
2015 Tradeshow Plan:
GAR Inaugural & Legislative Conference (previous event)Clareity Workshop – Feb. 25-27 (Scottsdale, AZ) (previous event)XPlode Real Estate Conference – May Mid-Year NAR Conference & Expo – May 12-15 (Washington, DC)RE Tech South – JuneRegional AE Conference – July 19-21 (Charlotte, NC)Inman RE Connect – August 4-7 (San Francisco, CA)Florida REALTORS® Conference & Trade Expo – August Carolina REALTORS® Conference – Sept. 12-15 (Hilton Head, SC)Georgia Association of REALTORS® Annual Conference & Expo – Sept. 9-12 (Savannah, GA)Tucson Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo – September (Tucson, AZ)Council of Multiple Listing Services Conference & Expo – October 7-9 (Kansas City, MO)Virginia Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo – OctoberNational Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo – November 13-16 (San Diego, CA)
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