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For Sam Benson, managing broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties, staying on top of the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market is all about being on the cusp of the latest and greatest tools to help his brokerage business.

“I like the product of residential real estate because in most cases, it’s people’s most treasured asset, if not their largest asset,” says Benson. “You have to do what you can to provide your clients with the best.”

That’s why when he learned about HouseCanary—the most comprehensive real estate dataset in the marketplace—at a conference in 2016, he knew it was a must for his firm.

“I realized very quickly that they were onto something,” says Benson. “We had used other CMAs, which typically take a subject property, map it for you and present similar properties, but that doesn’t nearly describe HouseCanary. HouseCanary does a tremendous amount more.”

Benson began using HouseCanary approximately a year ago, and thanks to the company’s strong customer service reps, he quickly learned how to utilize all of its tools, how to explore neighborhood trends and adjust the data.

“What I use it for as a real estate broker is totally different than what an appraiser would use it for,” adds Benson. “Real estate brokers are not only going to use a sold comparative, but active comparatives and market trends to create a value.”

The main feature that Benson uses is the Value Report, which pinpoints the most accurate automated valuation model to determine single-family home and condo values, forecasting three-year returns.

“For a seller, I will take an address and create a CMA based on the homes that have sold most recently that are in close proximity,” explains Benson. “What HouseCanary does is breaks it down into historical gross over a one-to-five-year period, in addition to breaking the data down to school boundaries, the average price that homes are going for and even price per square foot.”

Benson can show this information to clients with the click of a mouse or on an iPad, in an easy to understand succession.

But it doesn’t end there. In fact, Benson also uses the data analytics tools to look at sales trends in specific neighborhoods he’s farming.

“There’s a myriad of different tools that are part of those analytics,” says Benson, who goes on to explain that these tools are more for his research than sharing with clients. “It’s very important that I teach all my agents the significance of knowing these things when someone asks them what the market is doing in a certain neighborhood. The analytics part of HouseCanary does that so easily,” adds Benson. “School districts change the value of a home tremendously, and the overlays that HouseCanary presents show that very well.”

With a year of using HouseCanary under his belt, the main thing Benson loves about the service is that it makes his clients smarter.

“It creates an ongoing conversation that acts as a real confidence-builder for me and my agents, in addition to our buyers, sellers and investors, to where they feel very comfortable with the decisions they’re making,” concludes Benson.

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