Scrape Real Estate Listings For Personal Or Business Use

There are all kinds of reasons out there to extract real estate listings from websites. You might be hunting for property and want to get the jump on what is available, or you might need to analyze the information for your own business. Whatever the case may be, you will need to use a website scraper to do the job for you. As with most things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Follow some basic tips to scrape real estate listings. These tips will make the process much more efficient and effective.

Table of Contents

Go with a Generic Web Scraper for Real Estate Data

real estate web scraper

So many people spend time trying to find a web scraper that was made specifically for real estate listings, but that isn’t necessary. You can configure a generic scraper to go after any data that you want, so you will be able to use it for all your scraping needs. This is much more cost-effective and efficient than going with a scraper made specifically for real estate listing. If you do that, you will have to get a new scraper if you decide to scrape any other type of website. Then, you will have to learn how to use it. Save yourself time and money by choosing a generic scraper.

Which one should you choose, though? That is really a matter of personal preference. You will find tons of options out there. Some of them are free, open-source options, while others are paid options. Take the time to read the reviews to find the scraper that is right for you. If you do your homework, you are much more likely to be happy with the one you select. A great first place to start looking is at Scraping Robot. They have a reliable scraping tool that is available for less than the competition. No matter your scraping needs, the team at  Scraping Robot does a fantastic job at accommodating you.

Regardless of the scraper you go with, update your antivirus program before you download it. Unfortunately, some scrapers do have viruses, so you need to protect yourself just in case you pick one with a virus. It might be unlikely, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. If your antivirus software blocks the download, go back to the drawing board. Read some reviews and pick out a new scraper to use. Then, download it and get started.

Fly Under the Radar with Your Real Estate Scraper

real estate web scraping

Back in 2013, the real estate industry started cracking down on people who tried to extract real estate listings. The industry joined forces with a technology network to detect and block bots. This was all done in an effort to prevent people from scraping data from real estate websites. That scared some people away, but it doesn’t need to do so. Instead, you just must be smart about how you scrape sites. You can still extract real estate listings as long as you know how to go about it.

Use the Right Proxies

For starters, you absolutely must go with a proxy, and not just one. You need to get a handful of proxies and rotate them out. That way, your IP addresses will rotate out so it will look like a bunch of different people are accessing the website. You won’t have to rotate them out manually. Your real estate scraper will do it for you. You will just enter your proxy information into the tool, and then it will switch the proxies out every so often. Every time it switches the proxy out, it will look like someone else is visiting the website. This will provide you with a ton of protection when you scrape real estate listings.

You also need to make sure that the proxies are private instead of public. Public proxies are often free, but they aren’t very effective. First, you must share proxies with others when you go with public proxies, so often, the proxies are already banned before you ever get your hands on them. How are you going to get anything done if you are stuck with banned proxies? You will have to go back and find fresh proxies, and that will be a huge waste of time. It will make the entire process incredibly inefficient.

Free proxies aren’t just a problem because they are often banned. Some people offer free proxies as a front for trying to steal your data. They add viruses into the mix, and if you connect with the proxies, the hackers can take control of your computer and get all your personal information. Imagine trying to scrape real estate listings, only to find out that your PayPal account has been wiped out by a hacker. Worst of all, these viruses are really difficult to get off your system. Your antivirus software might not be able to clean them off your system. You could end up having to pay someone to get the viruses off the system for you.

Configure Your Scraping Tool

Your proxies aren’t the only way to fly under the radar. After you pick your proxies, you will need to configure your scraping tool to allow you to fly under the radar, as well. Remember, you don’t want website technology to detect that you’re using a bot. That means you need to make your scraper act as much like a human as possible. Think about how you browse real estate websites. You go to a site and look around at a moderate pace. You don’t do the same thing repeatedly. For instance, you don’t open a page and click from left to right on every page of the website.

People don’t act like that, but scrapers often do. Fortunately, you can configure your scraper to mix things up when scraping websites. You can also put some time in between requests. Instead of allowing your scraper to make requests at rapid-fire speed, put some time in between requests so you don’t stand out as using a scraper.

Efficient Real Estate Data Scraping

real estate web scraper

You know that you need to fly under the radar, but you still want to get your listings in a decent amount of time. How do you do that? How can you be both efficient and effective?

Pick the Right Proxies

First, let’s go back to the proxies you choose. You need to choose proxies that are fast enough to let your scraper get in and out quickly. Choose proxies with datacenters located in your country This way, there won’t be much lag time. Now, you can get the data you need quickly.

Fortunately, Blazing SEO has proxies available in 17 countries. This includes the US, Germany, Brazil, the UK, India, Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. We also have speeds of 1 Gbps and unlimited bandwidth. We strive to provide maximum uptime for all of our proxies. Take a look at our proxy packages today.

Take Only What You Need

You also need to consider the data that you’re going to take. You will not be efficient if you take more data than you need. For instance, let’s say that you only need the listing data. You don’t need the pictures. If you take the pictures anyway, you will spend a lot more time on the task at hand. You will waste a lot of time getting data that you don’t even need, and that will make the entire process last longer. Decide what you are going to do with the data, and then you will know exactly what you need to scrape. Take it and nothing else. This will make the process go quickly.

Cache and Record What You Scrape

You will also improve your efficiency by caching the pages you scrape. You might end up having to go back to a page again, and if you don’t cache it, the scraper will have to open it up on the website. On the other hand, if it is cached, it can view the cached version. This will reduce the server load quite a bit, and it will speed up the process. On top of that, you need to create a file that contains all the pages you have scraped and update that file as you move along. This improves efficiency because you won’t have to start from scratch if your scraper goes down. Instead, you can pick up right where you left off. That will give your efficiency a huge boost.

Consider CAPTCHAs

You also need to think about CAPTCHAs if you’re trying to be as efficient as possible. Some real estate websites use CAPTCHAs, although it isn’t very common. If you run into a CAPTCHA and you don’t have a solver in place, you won’t be able to move forward. Some scrapers have CAPTCHA solvers available as add-ons. Consider adding one to the software if you think that CAPTCHAs will hinder your scraping.

Repeat the Real Estate Web Scraping Process

how to easily extract listings from real estate sites

Some people extract real estate listings once and then never repeat the process. Keep in mind that listings are updated on a regular basis. What is available today might not be available tomorrow. On top of that, there might be a ton of new properties available the following day. How often you scrape real estate listings depends on what you are doing with the data. Determine how often you need to update your database and then create a plan. Some people scrape every day. Others scrape every few days or once a week. Once you come up with a plan and follow through so you get fresh listings as often as you need them.

Be Smart when Scraping Real Estate Data

You need to think about how you’re going to use the data before you extract any of it. Some website owners get themselves in trouble with the way they use data. They build their entire websites around the data that they extract. For instance, they might scrape data from real estate websites and then just copy the data onto their websites. Their entire websites are based on the data they scraped. That is a big mistake. If you build your entire business model on using the data that you extract, the site owners might come after you. Instead, you should just use the data for analyses. Don’t do anything that will get you in trouble. Be smart with the data, and it can help you grow your business.

Final Thoughts

Now you have the tools that you need to start scraping listings. You can finally deploy your scraper and proxies. It won’t be long before you have the real estate listings you need. Go through the listings and use them to help you find real estate or to build your own business. Then, go back and out get more data as often as you need. It won’t be long before you have the process down to a science. You will be able to go out, scrape real estate listings, and use it without any problems at all.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.

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