• Deep knowledge of market statistics, combined with qualitative info, can be your competitive advantage.
  • Those stats can help agents better advise their buyers and sellers and give those clients confidence in the agent's expertise.

NEW YORK — Don’t underestimate the power of real estate statistics. Combined with other market knowledge, those numbers can be your competitive advantage.

That’s according to Julia Hoagland, a broker and former electrical engineer at Manhattan brokerage Compass, who spoke at Inman Connect New York on Thursday.

Deep knowledge of market stats can help agents better advise their buyers and sellers and give those clients confidence in the agent’s expertise, Hoagland said.

She puts together qualitative analysis with “objective, purely quantitative analysis of data to create competitive advantage,” she said. And because the past is not always an indication of the future, it’s important to include current information in the analysis, she added.

Here’s an example: Say you have a seller of a two-bedroom apartment, 21 J. You do a quantitative analysis of comparable sales and find out 20 J just sold. That seems to be a really good indication of the value of 21 J.

But then you do your homework and find out the sellers of 20 J accepted an extended closing and 20 J actually closed 10 months ago. So 20 J is actually an old comp and 10 months ago was during the holiday season, when the market is typically slower. That leads you to conclude that the current value of 21 J is probably higher that the sales price of 20 J. You price accordingly, making the sellers happy.

With buyers, it’s important to do the same kind of analysis, so they know what to bid on their desired home, according to Hoagland.

In New York City, for instance, there’s very little inventory and the market is improving. That means advising buyers to not only bid higher than the comps, but also to be aware of the likely multiple offers on the property, she said.

When Hoagland started in the real estate business in 2005, “big data” was all about collecting data. Now, data is everywhere and it’s all about the actual interpretation of the data, she said.

Though Compass appears to do both. The firm’s technical capabilities allow Compass “to collect data that was previously uncollected by brokerages to help advise brokers like myself how to strategize for our buyers and sellers,” Hoagland said.

For example, Compass’s data might show that people that buy two-bedroom homes on the West Side were often owners of one-bedroom homes in the West Village. This might mean that her marketing efforts would be better spent targeting those one-bedroom homeowners, she said.

Hoagland had two takeaways for attendees:

  • Pick one stat that you’re interested in. Every day for the next five days, read an article about that stat. In the end, you’ll likely feel more knowledgeable about that stat and have more questions about it.
  • It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable you are if you don’t have anyone to talk to, Hoagland said. Instead of cold calling, network in circles where you already have an affinity — your alma mater’s alumni association, for example.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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