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What are the benefits of data scraping for real estate business?

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Data scraping is the term used to describe the act of identifying and extracting data from websites. It’s also known as web harvesting or web data extraction. In fact, data scraping can be done manually, as any internet user can copy and store public websites’ data to a computer. However, business data gathering activities are at a much larger scale, and for that reason, special data scraping tools have been developed to aid the data extraction process.

These data scraping tools can quickly peruse through the code of several thousand web pages, identify the required data, and store it in a hard drive or server for later analysis stage.

Let’s say you have a real estate business. You want to provide your customers with the latest information about available properties, their prices, their locations, and which agents to contact for inquiries. Technically, you could assign an army of interns to make phone calls, check listings, and hit the streets in search of “For Sale” signs, but that’s ridiculously impractical. The quickest and most efficient method would be to set up specific web crawlers to scrape real estate websites and digital classifieds for this data.

If you’ve been in the real estate business for a while, you’ll know just how valuable the Internet is. Property listings are almost always online now, so you don’t have to comb through physical listings anymore. Information on surrounding properties can be found with a bit of digging, and it’s easier than ever to get in touch with buyers and sellers. However, you’re probably also familiar with how time-consuming researching properties can be, especially if you’re looking at multiple listings at once.

Fortunately, the solution this problem is to employ web scraping, as it’s a legitimate way to conduct research faster and more accurately. If you want to learn more about web scraping and how it can benefit your real estate business, keep on reading!

What is web scraping?

Web scraping refers to the use of software, often referred to as scraper bots, to trawl websites and collect data. These bots can be programmed to retrieve any kind of data online, so you can outsource research to them, freeing up your time to complete more important tasks.

How do residential proxies help you in web scraping?

When you use scraper bots to collect data from different sources online, these bots will need to make many connection requests to numerous sites on the Internet. Servers will typically detect the unusual rate of internet traffic your bots are demanding as well as the increased number of connection requests and respond to this by blacklisting your IP address or sending the dreaded Captcha your way.

Residential proxies help you avoid all of this. When you use a proxy, it hides your IP address and allows you to access as many sites as you’d like at the same time, making it easy to harvest data from multiple websites without any issues. If you’re in the market for a good residential proxy, take a look at Smartproxy. It offers everything you’d need in a residential proxy, from fast speeds to the ability to access genuine IP addresses from real mobile devices in over 195 different countries.

How can web scraping help your real estate business?

All you need to do is to point the software in the direction of a property, and it’ll research every metric you need, like its size, surrounding amenities, sale price and property type. You can even give it a list of properties to do this with, and you’ll end up with a handy spreadsheet that will give you an edge over other realtors.

Four main ways web scraping can benefit real estate include appraising a property’s value, monitoring vacancy rates, estimating rental yields and understanding market direction. 

  1. Appraising a property’s value. We’ve already gone through how web scraping can help do the leg work for you by researching key areas of comparison for various properties. What we haven’t discussed is how web scraping can help you find previously undisclosed information. By scraping square footage data of the property and other properties surrounding it, you might learn that the property you’re trying to sell underwent a renovation that would increase its value substantially. To make this information even more useful, you could couple it with scraped sales information from a set time period and compare how much other homes with the same features sold for.
  2. Monitoring vacancy rates. No one has the time to continuously monitor the state of actual NVR’s throughout the day. The already impossible amount of data to go through triples when you consider the commercial, residential and special use properties you need to consider as well. By scraping this data instead, you’ll be kept abreast with the latest happenings in the market, enabling you to negotiate better rates and determine which properties are at their prime.
  3. Estimating rental yields. Rental yields are tricky to predict. Even if your desired rental yields are high, small fluctuations of a few variables can cause specific markets to become volatile. By scraping historical yields, you’ll be able to focus on analysing surrounding properties and making better decisions, instead of being distracted by other factors that are constantly in flux.
  4. Understanding market direction. To win at the real estate game, you need to know which markets investors are investing in. Greater investments in a particular market is a big sign that the area is about to appreciate. Web scraping makes this process easy for you by providing you with data on how long houses have been on the market. By comparing this data with investment information, you can understand the mindset of buyers better, allowing you to single out a property you know buyers will love.

 Web scraping has plenty of potential in the world of real estate. Fortunately for you, this field is relatively untapped at the moment. We highly recommend you take the time to learn how you can integrate web scraping into your real estate business. Realtors who use web scraping to their advantage will always beat out other real estate agents to a property because they’ll receive up-to-date listings sooner. If you want to take your business to the next level, web scraping is most certainly the way to go.

 

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