Real Estate Data 101

    real estate data

    "There were 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003…that much information is now created every two days." – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google 

    It's a data-driven world – we're just living in it. 

    Like nearly every other profession in modern society, real estate is run by data. Metrics, numbers, statistics, and fundamental information that inform our decisions, and allow us greater understanding in investing, listing, and marketing wisely.

    For those new to the real estate data scene, it may seem intimidating. But let's be frank. Gone are the days of buying and selling blindly. Gone are times when investing in properties wasn't irrevocably linked to comparables, market trends, records, values, and estimations.

    Numbers drive the market, which means you are overdue for a better understanding of them.

    know-your-competition (4)To succeed as a real estate professional, you have to harness the power of data to cut through the competition, close the sale, win over the clients, and generate future leads.

    So, how do you do it? 

    You educate yourself on what real estate data iswhy it's valuable, and how to use it properly

    And lucky for you, you don't have to go far.

    In this complete guide, we'll cover:

    What Is Real Estate Data?

    Simply put, real estate data is information about properties, their history, their value, their characteristics, and their owners.

    As an example, when listing a property for sale, you need to know a lot more than just a street address. You need an in-depth understanding of the residence itself – the square footage, the number of bedrooms, and bathrooms. You need the property taxes and the transaction history. You need information about the surrounding community, from the valuation of local businesses and school districts to historic (and recent) listing prices in the neighborhood.

    All of this data comes together to then better inform the list price you create, ensuring you remain competitive in an ever-changing market while also getting the highest value you can for a specific property.

    But this information isn't exclusive to agents and realtors.

    These numbers can be leveraged in market analysis, property valuation, politics – even urban planning!

    hyperlocal-marketing-automation (5)So, let's break down the different types of real estate and property data:

    • Residential Real Estate Data: Covers information about land and structures used as housing (think single-family homes, duplexes, condos, etc.). For more information on residential real estate, read our Residential Real Estate 101.  
    • Commercial Real Estate Data: Covers information about property zoned and intended for business use (think office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, etc.). For more information on commercial real estate, read our Commercial Real Estate 101.
    • Industrial Real Estate Data: Covers information about land and properties used for manufacturing, research, and distribution (think warehouses, processing plants, etc.).
    • Land Data: Covers information about land – from ranches and farms to vacant lots.

    Now, you may be wondering – what different kinds of information work together to give a full and accurate data portrait of a singular property?

    While that can differ between data and property type, we've listed some of the more important attributes to keep an eye out for below: 

    • Property Type: Is it a single-family home? A multi-family property? Is it commercial? Industrial? Agricultural?
    • Property Location: Where is the property located?
    • Property Details: How many beds/baths does the property have? When was it built? What's the square footage?
    • Site Coverage: What is the percentage of the total lot area covered by the property's square footage?
    • Site Vacant: Has the property been identified as vacant by the USPS? (This data is made available in order to suppress mailing to undeliverable addresses)
    • Site Details: What is the city or county zoning code for the property? What is the view type? (i.e., street view, water view, airport view, city view, etc.).
    • Plot Density: What is the total number of units (if the property contains more than one) per acre?
    • Structure Details: How many stories is it? Does it have heating? A/C? What's the square footage of the garage? Of the basement? What is the construction type?
    • Flood Risk: What is the flood zone designation? What is the overall flood risk?
    • Owner: Who owns the property? Age? Martial Status? Contact information? Do they occupy the property? How many properties do they own?
    • Value & Equity: What is the property's value? What is the % of equity? What is the outstanding balance on the mortgage?
    • Property Tax: What are the annual property taxes? What is the estimated tax rate?
    • Loans & Liens: How many loans are open on the property? What is the estimated balance? What is the combined loan to value? Any liens?
    • Foreclosure: Is the property in foreclosure? What stage? Has there been any notice types declared on the property? What is the default amount? The default date? Who is the trustee? The attorney?
    • Transfer: Has there been a transfer of ownership? When?
    • Listing: What is the listing history? Price? Status? Date?

    Why Is Real Estate Data Valuable?

    More data allows us to make more informed decisions.

    You don't go onto the football field without knowing the plays.

    Why would the complex process of buying, selling, and investing in property be any different? 

    hyperlocal-insights (4)While we could talk for days about the pros of leveraging real estate data, we've consolidated to give you a TL;DR (too long; didn't read) version with a few of our top highlights below:

    • Market Understanding. Raise your hand if you think the real estate market is consistent, calm, and effortlessly predictable. No one? Thought so. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the ups and downs of the industry were difficult to track. Now, with ever-changing mortgage rates, constant economic shifts, and climbing list prices, it pays to be an expert. Literally. Having fundamental knowledge about the market, upcoming trends, fluctuations in conditions, and simply being the expert within your community attracts customers. The success stories and testimonials that come with quickly buying or selling property because you knew how to navigate and succeed when others didn't? That keeps customers.
    • Accuracy In Valuation. The successful selling of property relies on expert knowledge of pricing trends in your hyperlocal community. You have to get the most for your dollar while still attracting buyer interest. Go too high? You may have a property that sits, decreases in value, and is forced into a price reduction. Go too low? You may miss the vital opportunity for greater profit for your seller while also potentially negatively impacting the value of surrounding properties. 
    • Better Marketing. The average consumer sees 10,000 ads per day. Do you really think your non-personalized, non-targeted advertisement is going to make an impact? It's not. You have to be exceptionally intentional with your marketing these days, crafting relevant messaging that is not a one-size-fits-all. Better understanding the demographics of your current and future customers makes all the difference. This unlocks your ability to customize your efforts to fit them and their unique needs. The result? Targeted advertising can increase your click-through rates by up to 670%. For more information on real estate marketing, read our comprehensive How-To Guide For Marketing In Real Estate Business.
    • Competitive Edge. Yes, you can become more informed about your community and the properties within it by making real estate data a fundamental tool in your business toolkit. However, leveraging data can also allow you a sneak peek into the efforts, successes, and opportunities of your competition. Understand where they're excelling, and don't be shy in learning from their success. Even better? Strategize how to excel where they aren't.
    • Business Growth. Knowing the market means you can better take advantage of it. Informed listing practices = more homes sold. Happier customers = rave reviews that drive a healthy roster. Intentional, targeted marketing = more visibility to scale your efforts and grow your business. At the end of the day, data allows you to understand your efforts and allows you to double down on what's working and pivot away from what isn't.

    What Is Real Estate Data Used For?

    Real estate data means you raise your probability of success while eliminating risk – all because you better understand the market and all the factors within it.

    find-person-or-property (3)Beyond the use cases we discussed above, let's break down a few on the more technical side:

    • Analytic Decision Making: More information means your decision-making is less risky. You have clearer data to allow you a better understanding of if an investment is right for you. Let's consider a few examples.
      • In considering if a vacant land purchase may be a prime option for a shopping center, let's look to the data. What are the demographics in the surrounding areas? What is the disposal income for nearby residents? What are their ages? Their jobs? How long have they lived in their properties? Are there other shopping centers nearby? What do their success metrics look like? Are their tenants longstanding, or is there high turnover? What about the retail market?
      • Now, let's think about the potential investment in a multi-family housing property. What class is the structure? What are the property's current and potential values? What are the neighborhood demographics? The economy of the community? The occupancy rate of alternative multi-family buildings?
      • Having all of this data on hand allows you to better understand what may be a smart investment vs what may be worth skipping. These data-driven decisions have the capability to quickly grow your business…or tank it.
    • Proactive Lead Generation: There's never been a more pertinent time to grow your lead generation business. With rising referral fees and skyrocketing costs (from brokerage splits and beyond), securing your own roster of prospective clients has never been more necessary. But like with any business, your services aren't needed by everyone. So it's up to you not only to find the customers who need your support but also to make sure you beat the competition in getting to them first. How? Proactivity. Reach out to recently empty nesters who may be looking to downsize, those who own free and clear (and may want an upgrade), newlyweds looking for their perfect starter home. There are many segments within your community you can reach out to – you just need the data to point you in the right direction.
    • Providing Value Behind Numbers: Let's tell it like it is. Data can be confusing. It's complex numbers, detailed predictions, specific valuations…all things that can be daunting and tricky to understand without the proper context behind it. Real estate data, as well as the platforms that disseminate it, can help you know the story behind these metrics and make sense of complicated information not always the easiest for public consumption. To use data to grow your real estate business, you have to understand it.

    What You Need To Look For In Your Data

    Not all real estate data is created equal.

    data-smart-pro (3)Before you dive in, make sure the information you're looking to leverage fits into the following criteria:

    • Accurate. Make sure your data is sourced from best-in-class vendors and that you seek data-driven platforms committed to finding and correcting errors on a constant basis. Organizations with machine learning and full-time research staff are ideal options, as you can count on these sources to be in the process of continuous refinement, backtesting information, backfilling, and leveraging insights to pave the way for new learnings. Plain and simple – you want cleaned and enhanced data.
    • Up-To-Date. Data is only as good as its relevancy, and community information from ten years ago doesn't serve much use in the here and now. The real estate market moves fast, and you need data sources that can keep up. Aim for data sources that are acquired and analyzed daily.
    • Comprehensive. We know you need all of the facts to make informed decisions. Therefore, don't settle for data sources that provide only a few data points. Look for wide-ranging criteria that simultaneously allows you to get granular.
    • With Insights & Context. Understanding the connecting dots between data is essential to knowing, seeing, and tracking its impact on properties and property owners. Look for data sources that can explore the relationships between pieces of information with data models and digestible graphs. Remember, you want to understand the story behind the numbers to equip you in becoming the expert we know you can be.
    • Actionable. What good is data if you're not sure what to do with it? You want an accessible platform that delivers data with ease, complete with powerful, action-driven insights and suggestions, so you feel equipped with a variety of next possible steps. 
    • End-to-End: What's better than a platform that can provide you with accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive data? One that also gives you the power to take your business to the next level. Look for platforms that enable a multi-channel marketing approach as well as provide criteria based targeting so you can get hyperspecific in who you want to connect with.

    Vendors Of Real Estate Data

    So, now that you know what's important to look for and all of the advantages of real estate data – what's next?

    Our recommendations on the right data sources for you.

    1. PropertyRadar. You want the most in-depth, accurate real estate data available? We've got you covered. Harnessing the power of public records data, PropertyRadar is the most powerful property and property owner platform on the market. With over 150 million properties, 250 million people, and over 1 billion client phones and emails, we've been helping businesses scale with unparalleled data and actionable insights since 2007. We make available the same customer and market information that big businesses leverage daily in an affordable, small-business-friendly platform.
    2. PropStream. Great for beginners and heavily promoted by real estate investor gurus, PropStream provides general property detail, search, and comparables functionality. Want more? Features such as skip-tracing and list monitoring are available; however, these require additional monthly costs. At PropertyRadar, we make sure you get our most advanced features with your subscription. We have effortless built-in skip-tracing as well as dynamic list monitoring, along with the capability to connect to thousands of integrations to help your marketing succeed.
    3. ListSource. Looking for a one-and-done list? Look no further than ListSource. Search properties, discover homeowners, generate leads, and target your newly found prospects. The closest competitor to PropertyRadar, ListSource, offers powerful demographic data as well, which puts it (and PropertyRadar) in a different realm of competition than the rest. However, for those businesses needing multiple lists, costs can climb quickly. One list can cost as much as a year-long subscription to PropertyRadar.

    Looking for more data-driven options? Read our comparative analysis on PropertyRadar Alternatives.

    Want to know more about the data PropertyRadar provides? Here's How We Do It.

    PropertyRadar & The Data You Need

    PropertyRadar makes public records usable. And useful. Since 2007.

    hyperlocal-marketing-what-is (5)Known for serving dedicated real estate professionals from Realtors to property investors to mortgage professionals to agents, PropertyRadar also helps small businesses in need of a consistent source of quality hyperlocal leads, from property management to roof, garage door, lawn, HVAC, moving, and solar companies.

    We relentlessly strive to provide value to the customer through high-quality, timely data, tapping multiple sources, and continuously back-testing to ensure we're providing the fact-checked information you need to scale.

    We rely on multiple cutting-edge techniques refined over a decade in the business, as well as a full-time research team that is dedicated to the constant refinement of methods, processes, and strategies for cleansing and enhancing data.

    Not only do we boast robust, expansive data sets, but we also have the most extensive search and connection capabilities on the market, with more search possibilities, targeting filters, and specific parameters than any other product out there.

    with-context (2)We effortlessly pair deep property and owner insights with groundbreaking marketing capabilities to give users the control to forge meaningful connections across platforms and channels, including direct mail, text message, email campaign, targeted online ads, and more.

    hyperlocal-marketing-old-marketing (2)Not enough to convince you?

    PropertyRadar also boasts powerful automation features that go above and beyond bought lead lists, which are often outdated as soon as they're purchased. Data that never turns off? That's what we specialize in.

    Create customized, targeted lists of prospects that automatically update when new information and properties matching your specific criteria become available. Endlessly evolving and perfecting accuracy and the information you need to succeed.

    But with lots of data, there can be lots of questions. We get it. This can be confusing! And we don't want it to be.

    So we've gone above and beyond to pair the data we provide with insights, heatmaps, suggestions, and recommendations – the guidance you need to take this fundamental information and create actionable next steps. Our users can now visualize data in new ways, saving money and creating more targeted approaches to ensure their messaging and support for potential customers is more effective.

    hyperlocal-marketing-step-by-step (4)The bottom line? You don't have to be a data scientist, software developer, or advanced digital marketer to succeed in real estate business. PropertyRadar is in the business of making you shine. All without the steep learning curve.

    Try out our desktop or mobile application to preview our modern UX design, approachable interface, and effortless product architecture – all to deliver you the most powerful solutions in a simple, easy package.

    So, what are you waiting for? 

    Want to know how else PropertyRadar can make real estate data work for you? Read on for our 10 Reasons PropertyRadar Needs To Be Your Next Lead Gen Tool.

    And get started now with a free PropertyRadar trial, and grow your business today. 

    Get Started →



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