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Real Estate

Homesnap's new platform guesses when people will move

Algorithm crunches big data to assign a “Likelihood to List” score

Homesnap has a new service that crunches data to show which homes in a neighborhood are the most likely to be listed for sale in the next 12 months.

The platform uses an algorithm that crunches millions of records, including MLS data, to come up with a “Likelihood to List” score. The service, available only to licensed agents, shows a “heat map” of neighborhoods color-coded to zero in on the homes most likely to go on the market.

“Instead of sending a postcard to 5,000 homes, real estate agents can just focus in on the people the algorithm has determined are the most likely to list their homes,” Lou Mintzer, Homesnap’s chief product officer.

For example, a home withdrawn from the market before it sells is a key indicator that it’s likely to list again, Mintzer said.

“The home might have been priced too high, maybe languished on the market 4 or 6 months, and now the MLS status is `withdrawn,’” Mintzer said. “An unsuccessful listing is a signal the home might be listed again.”

Another indicator is the age of the owners. Someone who is 85 years old and living in a home alone might be ready to think about selling, he said.

It’s a far cry from a decade or more ago when agents had to adopt more scattershot approaches to finding clients, like an ad on the side of a bus.

“The traditional approach is mass-market advertising,” Mintzer said. “Just be everywhere all the time so when someone is ready to enter the market you’re already there. It’s a strategy with a low return on advertising spent – you end up spending a lot of money showing yourself to the wrong people.”

The service, part of Homesnap’s “Pro” product, is available free of charge to agents who pay a fee to belong to a local MLS, said Mintzer.

People who aren’t licensed agents can see lots of data about their neighborhoods, similar to the type of information Zillow provides. But they don’t get to see the information available to agents as part of the Pro service, he said.

“It’s a prospecting tool for professional, licensed agents,” he said.

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