For decades, Royal LePage has been a pioneer in Canadian real estate, especially when it comes to technology. The real estate franchisor and owner-operator actually launched Canada’s first national real estate website in 1995. Which was when some very smart folks still thought the internet was a passing fancy.
Pioneering worked out for them.
Royal LePage’s online search tool became one of the most popular real estate websites in Canada by year 2000. But the internet was gaining popularity, so they started offering property search and neighborhood information via interactive mapping technology.
Once again, it set them apart.
By 2015, Royal LePage’s national website marked 3 million visitors per month. But Carolyn Cheng, chief operating officer at Royal LePage, says the company always strives for more.
“Since the advent of real estate websites back in the mid-’90s, real estate search has been done in a fairly standard way,” says Cheng. “It starts with a location search that can then be filtered by price and property attributes. For most homebuyers, however, that’s not enough information anymore.” Not to mention, it doesn’t take into consideration any of their preferences outside the home.
So what do homebuyers need now? According to Cheng, neighborhood and lifestyle information. Even though their site was getting great use by customers, Royal LePage decided to up the ante.
“Companies are using machine learning to aggregate and analyze large datasets in this space, and we decided early on that we wanted to be a leader in providing lifestyle and neighborhood information in a way that’s both useful and engaging,” says Cheng. In other words, get into local details, but at a national level.
That’s when Royal LePage turned to Local Logic. Local Logic aggregates millions of data points and, using a proprietary algorithm, provides a truly white label consumer tool that will revolutionize any real estate search feature. Like Yelp, scores are assigned to every location based on nearby amenities and neighborhood attributes.
“Local Logic has compiled and normalized disparate datasets from all over the country—and they regularly update the data,” says Cheng. “This would be a difficult task for us to do internally. The data they aggregate is hyperlocal, meaning that the green/quiet scores may differ from one corner to the next depending on proximity to parks, nightlife or major thoroughfares. This is information that the homebuyer wants to know—and it’s even quantitative.”
Royal LePage was one of the first companies to implement Local Logic’s neighborhood product (Local Content), providing hyperlocal content like transportation services, schools or grocery stores nearby. They also piloted School Search, which—you guessed it—gives local school information; Local Profiles, neighborhood pages to help them rank first on Google; and Local Search, a personal lifestyle match feature, which works much like an online dating site by scoring each property based on a person’s individual preferences.
“Local Logic integrates seamlessly with our system. We use all four of their products now, and our search tool is best-in-class,” says Cheng.
For Royal LePage’s customers and agents, this functionality is now table stakes.
Royal LePage isn’t afraid to leverage technology in new ways. In Local Logic’s pilot stages, Cheng says she felt completely secure about the data’s validity. “Local Logic develops their products in a way that makes sense for us. They care about increasing geographic coverage, providing new interfaces and developing new tools that are aligned with our desire to continuously innovate.”
Best of all, Royal LePage continues to be at the forefront of real estate technology.
Local Logic’s data coverage (currently all of the U.S. and Canada) is changing the game. “In our test cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, our lead volumes have increased by 36 percent—and consumers are submitting leads three times faster than before,” says Cheng.
In fact, Royal LePage is seeing the return in more ways than one from their investment with Local Logic. From website visits to leads to conversions.