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Data Transparency in Commercial Real Estate

In the age of technology-driven everything, it’s easy to get that “big brother” feeling every now and then. It’s this very feeling - and some really practical business applications - that have lead to the data transparency movement. It’s seen in all aspects of business and, more recently, is beginning to emerge in the commercial real estate space.

What exactly is data transparency? These words can mean two things: 1) the ability to easily access and work with data no matter where they are located or what application created them, and 2) the assurance that the data being reported are accurate and are coming from an official source.

The Implications for Commercial Real Estate

In commercial real estate, the idea of transparency has become an integral part of how we work. For the agent or broker, for example, data transparency can mean having access to property listings, historic sales data and consumer behavior trends. The same is true for buyers, sellers and developers.

For Consumers

Data transparency means a lot of things for consumers. But, perhaps most notably, it means access to information that previously may have been unattainable for the consumer. Mining census data, for example, and marrying that to geographic information, historic sales data and even consumer survey results, allows national real estate search platforms (on both the residential and commercial side) to provide consumers with unmatched insights.

These data points - when combined - give consumers information about property’s potential value, anticipated housing trends, and more.

Of course, there is much discussion about whether or not providing consumers with this much data means you’re minimizing the role of the agent/broker, but many believe that empowered consumers are the best kind!

For Developers

For real estate developers, data transparency can be a goldmine. This type of comprehensive data is giving them new insights into neighborhoods, consumer behaviors and even the specific needs of consumers in a particular area or zip code. In fact, our recent article on Big Data talks about how developers can gain such specific insights on a particular property that they can make more valuable and informed decisions about where to develop - and why.

Transparency allows for more informed decisions, with specific analytics to back up them up. It gives more peace of mind in a traditionally hard-to-quantify decision making process.

For Agents/Brokers

When agents and brokers latch on to the available data that’s out there for them, it can mean a world of difference in their ability to offer exceptional service to their prospects and clients. An agent that is armed with valuable insights can help their clients make better, more informed decisions, and can use that ability to stand out from the pack.

Listing agents, for example, can watch how many potential buyers are viewing their property online, how long they’re staying on the page, and how often they come back to look at the property. On a macro level, they’re able to help clients take data that would otherwise be difficult to read and understand, and put it into a format that can help them feel confident in their decisions.

What will happen next …

When it comes down to it, having every piece of available data becomes useless if we don’t know what to do with it. The transparency is really the access and the analysis is where we need to be. It’s time for the real estate industry to continue making advancements in the technology realm, and to embrace these changes for the benefit of our clients.