Inman | 5 Real Estate Data Innovators
These companies are on the forefront of change
An emerging wave of entrepreneurial companies are leveraging real estate data to provide innovative solutions in a broad spectrum of venues — from the land title business grounded in centuries-old property law to the wild west of online dating.
Housing News Report identified five companies at the forefront of this new real estate data innovation wave:
SmartZip: Shock and awe for listing leads
SmartZip Analytics uses technology and vast amounts of data to help real estate agents and brokers reliably predict which homeowners are most likely to list and sell their property.
“It’s a product that helps agents work smarter, not harder,” said Peter G. Grace, vice president of sales at SmartZip.
Jay Macklin, co-founder and broker of Re/Max Platinum Living in Scottsdale, Arizona, uses the SmartTargeting platform as a lead generation program he implemented for the agents in his office.
“I can be strategic with my mailings because I have information my competitors don’t have,” said Macklin, who runs the brokerage with his wife, Michelle.
“I first follow up with a phone call, always; then my team sends out our ‘Seller Shock and Awe Pre-Sell Package’ either by hand or mailed in a FedEx box.”
RedVision: From antiquated to automated
Although the title insurance industry has always used data to evaluate risk and better understand exposure, today more companies are using bigger and more sophisticated data in innovative ways, according to Brian Twibell, chief executive officer at RedVision, a Parsippany, New Jersey-based title insurance company.
Twibell predicts that the use of big data eventually may transform the insurance industry, as insurers find ways to use these new streams of information to radically alter business processes.
“Data is the underpinning of all title and property information,” he said. “While the industry has long relied on paper and human enabled processes, we are utilizing data and technology more and more trying to bring many of the seamless automation benefits realized in other financial service fields to a rather antiquated title procurement and processing market.”
Ten-X: Data as a competitive advantage
Real estate portal Ten-X allows buyers and sellers to transact online — an innovation not available on any other real estate platform — making quality, actionable data vitally important for the business, according to chief marketing officer Rick Sharga.
But Ten-X doesn’t just display the public record data for users; it adds value by combining the public record data up with real-time user data — a true big data initiative likely helped by a $50 million investment from Google in 2014.
That mash-up of data gives both the company and its customers a competitive advantage in the marketplace, according to Sharga.
“Because we’re working with our online data and Google search trends and showing relationships between that and public record data, we’re pretty well able to predict what is going to happen in those markets…weeks before the numbers come out,” he said.
Foresight: How property data can improve your dating life
Leveraging property data to identify winning matches between real estate buyers and sellers makes sense, but using that same property data to create winning matches between two singles looking for a good date may seem like a bit of a stretch.
But that’s exactly one of many ways Foresight Information Services is innovatively solving problems with property data, according to CEO Jim Waters.
“We’ve actually done it with dating sites,” said Waters, whose company plugs public record real estate data into its risk mitigation and identity verification products used in a variety of industries.
“We can ask if they own or rent, and if they say ‘own’…we verify if that person is married or isn’t married, does own or doesn’t own…so you get a more truthful picture of who you are going to be dating.”
Audantic: Innovation beats intuition
Seattle-based real estate analytics firm Audantic uses public record real estate data to match real estate investors with homeowners likely to sell — even if those homeowners don’t even know it themselves yet.
Audantic’s growth has come thanks to a proven product that breeds customer loyalty and expansion. The company boasts a 95 percent customer retention rate, and 65 percent of current customers have expanded their business with the company as they see results roll in that are exponentially better than their current marketing methods, according to Franklin Sarkett, CTO at Audantic.
“A lot of investors have used intuition to determine how to do their marketing, and we’re able to apply predictive analytics to the data and get much higher results,” said Sarkett, who worked as a data scientist at Facebook before joining Audantic.
“We can eliminate 80 percent of the population, and we can double or triple their results.”