Leveraging Buyer Data to Improve the Top and Bottom Lines

buyside | January 26, 2016

Creating, implementing and leveraging a competitive edge for your company is a necessity today with competition pulling at every edge of your business.

Charles Williams, founder & CEO of Buyside, recognized this prominent market need for a tangible differentiation for agents and brokers to build and grow their businesses. That led to the creation of Buyside, a powerful agent-to-agent network and marketing system now in use by some of the industry’s most respected brokerage firms. And thanks to Buyside—and Williams’ innovative thinking—agents now have a network where they can connect with other agents, both in-house and outside of their brokerage, who have buyers ready, willing and very able to purchase today.

But it doesn’t end there. Buyside’s platform also enables agents to generate more seller leads, close more contracts and match buyers to listings by exploiting the currently under-appreciated real estate data asset of buyers. Therefore, an agent’s work becomes more time-efficient, more profitable, and more satisfying to the clients they’re working with.

“We help agents to match up quickly by identifying which agents have a buyer, leading to more in-house deals for the broker,” says Williams. “It also reduces marketing spend because if a buyer is already inside that brokerage, they can just reach out. Not only does this save the listing agent money, but the broker ends up winning as well.”

Providing an unbiased, but aggregated, view of the market, Buyside allows agents to be much more forward-looking in terms of marketing and pricing. The data is simply an asset that brokerage firms already have, but haven’t been able to fully leverage.

“Agents and brokers invest millions each year to buy zip code leads from Zillow and the other consumer portals for the sole purpose of converting them, but sadly, industry stats show that only about 1 percent close,” adds Williams. “However, that data can be used for other purposes such as attracting sellers by showing that you have the buyers. It can also be used to predict search experiences, match up agents and help tunnel through the data you acquired to generate new leads and listings.”

As chief data scientist for Buyside, Jeremy Elser, PhD, is responsible for deriving multi-scale insights and predictive behavioral models from real estate buyer data. He does this by matching data sources against business questions to surface potential features for the products. Algorithms are then created to answer these questions.

“Buyside’s products enable clients, agents, brokerages and MLSs to exploit their buyer data in combination with listings,” says Elser. “Our customers have high expectations of our ability to translate data into actionable insights and tools; therefore, business sense, creativity, mathematical sophistication and rigor are critical to our product.”

With several sites and apps in Buyside’s portfolio, Elser notes that centralization is perhaps the most important component.

“Much of the data that we integrate is already available to the agent,” says Elser, “but it’s scattered and cannot be synthesized in a useful way. The major advantage is that the agent gets new benefits from assets they already pay for, but aren’t fully exploiting.”

The most sophisticated algorithm relates to the automated predictive matching of buyers to their ideal homes as the machine learning algorithm consolidates, normalizes, featurizes and analyzes data from over 20 unique sources to create predictive models of buyer behavior.

“Essentially, these models create a Super Agent, with a knowledge base built upon the collective history of all real estate-buyer search, inquiry and purchase activity occurring in every market at all times,” says Elser. “These models identify the homes that buyers are ultimately likely to purchase, even at the early stages when the buyer may have uncertain or false expectations.”

Elser’s personal favorite feature is the network’s ability to enumerate the complete set of potential buyers matched to any property in real-time.

“This is a major differentiator for any seller’s agent trying to win a contract. ‘Sign this contract and I’ll contact 40 matched buyers right now’ is a very compelling argument. The value proposition here is crystal clear,” adds Elser.

For Jonathan J. Miller, CRE, CRP, president and CEO of New York City appraisal and consulting company Miller Samuel, Inc., Buyside offers a true level of differentiation for agents when they are speaking with their customers.

“All real estate search is—and has been—based on properties,” says Miller. “Buyside allows an agent to educate their client in regard to how much or how little demand there is for their property, in addition to enabling more accurate pricing. As someone who tracks and analyzes properties and property markets for a living, I was blown away with the concept from the start. The orientation of the product is buyer-centric, something which, up until Buyside, had not been aggregated by the real estate industry.”

More than a website, Buyside provides Web-based tools that offer insight into buyer demand—something that’s never been done before. This insight becomes a powerful productivity tool for the entire brokerage, from the listing and buyer agents to the office managers who can offer a distinct advantage when recruiting.

“Brokerage firms are squandering their most significant resource—buyers—who they attract through expensive marketing-related costs,” concludes Miller. “Buyside has created something that leverages that information, something the broker already has access to. It’s a logical and powerful concept that has never been implemented before.”