Deciding to get married is a life changing event, one which brings with it a host of additional decisions. A married couple is a team, one that handles responsibilities together, from the smallest grocery list to buying a first home. One of the top priorities is the joy of owning their first home together. Usually, this is one of the most expensive purchases a couple will ever make. Even if this might not be the case for every couple, this is certainly the case for Jeremy and Brenda. High school sweethearts together for 13 years, Brenda and Jeremy just tied the knot six months ago. They both currently call Sacramento their home and are in their late twenties. Jeremy is a tax attorney, and Brenda is a registered nurse who works for one of the local hospitals.
The happy couple reaches out to you, their tech-savvy real estate agent who uses data visualizations to help clients find what they seek. Brenda and Jeremy, both being risk averse, did their fair share of research and come prepared with a list of things they think are important for you to know in order to help them make the best decision possible. Going through the list, you note that:
The couple is tired of the hustle and bustle of city life and wants to move to a smaller town
Both Brenda and Jeremy’s parents live in Yuba City, so they want to settle in a town nearby
Jeremy is often away at client sites for days at a stretch, so a low crime rate is important
They often host family and friends and hence are looking for a large home
In the event the couple decides to stay in Sacramento for a few more years, they want the rent from their property to cover their mortgage and property taxes
Brenda and Jeremy don’t plan on starting a family for the next several years, so school districts are not of concern
They both want to purchase a property in a city with a fairly accessible public transport system
Armed with this information, you get to work. You want to use data and interactive visuals to help the couple make an informed decision. For this, you gather housing data from Zillow, an online real estate database, and use Arcadia Instant, a free downloadable visual analytics tool, to dig into the details.
Using the Zillow data, you create an app on Arcadia Instant which contains the following visuals:
A Pie Chart representing the Average ZHVI, a Bar Chart showing the City Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), a Combined Bar/Line Chart which depicts Property and Violent Crime, a Scatter Chart representing Trips per Resident, the number of trips taken by residents of the city, and a Line Chart which shows the rent timeline across different cities.
To develop this app you create a number of Calculated Fields using different calculations, in three easy steps:
Copy a field and edit its name to what you want
Edit the formula to create the desired calculation
Validate and then save the expression
For the Packed Bubble Chart Violent Crimes, the formula can be seen below:
Similarly, you create calculations for another Packed Bubble Chart called Property Crime and for the Scatter Chart Trips per Resident. The Violent Crime chart depicts the number of incidents that occurred in the year 2012 in each city per 1000 people and the Trips per Resident chart shows how frequent and busy public transport is in the particular city.
After creating the app and reviewing it, you research cities which would best suit the young couple and call them for a sit-down.
You start the discussion by asking them if they have any cities in mind. As per their suggestions, you add a few cities to the Global Filter and refresh the charts to show the data for their selected cities. Next, you click on ‘Four Bedroom’ in the Donut Chart called Average ZHVI (Zillow Home Value Index), and the City ZHVI Bar Chart refreshes to show prices for properties with four bedrooms, with the cheapest being in Roseville and the most expensive in Santa Barbara.
Not wanting to burn a hole in their pocket and end up with huge debt, Brenda and Jeremy ask you to show them the data pertaining to three bedroom houses and only in cities with relatively cheaper property prices. Based on this, you help them shortlist the cities — Roseville ($358,900), Folsom ($421,300) and Concord ($486,000). Moving further, you bring up visuals for crime and public transit. Among the three shortlisted cities, Folsom has the lowest crime rate.
With only one violent crime over the course of the year and 17 property related crimes, Folsom appears to be quite safe. But the chart Trips per Resident for public transit shows Concord as the city with the highest number of trips and the lowest average trip price. Roseville stood in the middle of the three for crime and transit, but considering that both Folsom and Roseville are small towns, getting around on foot should not be a problem. Based on this information, the couple decides to forego Concord’s transit system. The higher property prices also being a factor.
Between Folsom and Roseville, the couple leans more towards the latter, owing to its proximity to Yuba City and also since the price of property in Roseville was lower when compared to Folsom. In the event that Brenda and Jeremy might want to rent out their place, you move to the Rent Timeline chart which depicts the ZRI (Zillow Rental Index) of the two cities.
The rent prices in both Folsom and Roseville show a general increase over the previous year, but currently the market shows stability for both the cities. The couple also wants the house to pay for itself in the event they decide to stay for a couple of years in Sacramento. The amount the couple put aside as a down payment was $100,000.
Mortgage Amount per month
Total (Incl. of taxes and insurance)
Brenda and Jeremy could see that if they bought the property in Folsom, they would almost break even and would not have to pay anything for their house if they choose to rent it out. But in the case of Roseville, they would be earning close to $230 every month.
Rather than simply relying on your word, Brenda and Jeremy were able to see the data first-hand. The visualizations you easily built in Arcadia Instant empowered them to make an informed decision with regards to the city that would be the best suited for them. With interactive visualizations, the couple was able to narrow down Roseville, despite the difference between that city and Folsom being quite narrow. Why not try your hand and see the power of visualizing your data with Arcadia Instant? Download it today.