Increasingly, real estate buyers and sellers leverage the Internet to discover properties for purchase, to uncover comparable sales, even to gauge an area’s walkability. They can find this information fairly easily, and for free, via web sites that aggregate real estate listings.
With so much information available at their fingertips, consumers may wonder what real estate agents and brokers do to command commissions of 5 or 6 percent. In order to convince consumers of their value, real estate professionals must evolve from sales people to trusted advisors — offering significant property insight that clients just can’t develop on their own.
Premium data can help. It offers more in-depth, accurate and up-to-date information than what can be found for free. For example, going online, consumers may be able to determine the ZIP code of a potential new home. But ZIP codes cover fairly large areas, often crossing an array of socio-economic and cultural borders. Premium data can tell consumers in exactly which neighborhood or subdivision a property sits. Consumers may use the web to determine what school district their children will attend. Real estate professionals can use premium data to determine the actual school, and whether that school is a pleasant or dangerous walk from home.
This type of specificity can prove particularly important to both residential and commercial developers. Suppose a development company wants to build a new residential subdivision. Premium data can help this company determine where it is possible to aggregate land parcels, then determine these parcels’ proximity to amenities including retail districts, public transportation, parks, schools, and other community features. Such features can improve potential buyers’ quality of life, therefore making new homes easier to sell.
Communities are always changing, and real estate professionals need access to the most up-to-date data possible if they are to provide the type of accurate insight consumers demand. Again, consider a family concerned about the school attendance zone associated with a potential new home. They access a property-listing aggregation site to determine what school their children will attend. They are happy to learn that their kids will be educated in the well-respected School A. What they do not know is that free data is rarely updated. A real estate agent using up-to-date premium data can inform the family that catchment areas have been re-drawn, and that any children in the house will now attend the less-prestigious School B. Potential buyers can then decide whether they can live with School B, or if they need to look at more properties so their children can go to School A.
Real estate professionals need In-depth, accurate, up to date data now more than ever before. To learn more about the benefits about this type of data, read The “Ground Truth”: Improving Real Estate Customer Experience with Higher-Quality Data, a new Forbes Insights briefing sponsored by Pitney Bowes.