I very much believe in the ability that I am able to hack my own life because of the amount of data that is available to me. Knowledge is power and literacy in your own data makes you king.

The situation is simple; someday I know that I might want to buy a house. It'll be an important moment and the price of the house will be an important factor for the way that I'll live my life. When buying my house, I want to be the biggest expert on the housing market.

In this day and age most real estate agents list the houses they sell on the web. It is insane what you can collect. Without any hacking whatsoever, just via simple web parsing, I have been able to collect the following information about 6500 for sale houses in Amsterdam:

  • the starting price
  • the ending bid
  • the area within a house
  • the time that it took before the house got sold
  • the number of rooms that the house has
  • the adress (and thus the lat/lon) of each house
  • the real estate broker who sold the house

Imagine the bargaining power you'll have if you are negotiating the price of the real estate broker with this information. You'll have as much information about the value of the house as the broker does, probably more.

I haven't collected all the data yet and the data collection will be a multi year process but in one small afternoon I've had a pretty substantial amount of information about the Amsterdam housing market.

I've thought up of a house price that might be within budget, outside of budget and totally outside of budget. With my data it is easy to color code the location where I'll likely buy a house in the future:

Looks like I'm probably not going to live in the inner ring of Amsterdam.

I'm able to do a similar visualisation with the same data, now looking at the price per square meter:

This is nice because this allows me to cherry-pick the houses with the best value. This was all made with data that's collected through parsing websites, all the code was written in just a small weekend afternoon.

I did it. So can you.