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Lessons from Big Data That Apply To Real Estate

Big data is the basis for business intelligence, which is about taking all that information and turning it into knowledge to drive better business decisions. Whether its data about retail consumers or homebuyers, it's all the same game.  The business intelligence industry has been analyzing large data sets in corporations for years — decades, really. It’s only now coming to the real estate industry. The amount of data used in the real estate industry isn’t that large. A single major retailer will generate more sales data in a year than the entire real estate industry will in a decade. However, it’s all relative, and the real estate industry is still trying to figure out what data it has, let alone how to use it.

The point is that big data in real estate is about presenting a “whole consumer” picture. It’s about using data to find out who buys what, when, where, why and how. It’s about finding out who will sell a house — when, where, why and how. 

All that data can be used to create tangible insights into consumer behavior using forecasting and modelling software. It’s the analysis that makes the magic happen, that is identifying customers or providing them better services. Analytics is where raw data and the algorithms that crunch it come together. Mining census information, the results of consumer surveys, listings of homes for sale and rent, geographic information systems data and more combine what they draw from numerous databanks with their own proprietary user-generated content. The tools can deliver to consumer’s information about their property's potential value and help them understand home-value trends within a particular milieu, such as a neighborhood or a ZIP code. 

Beyond the consumer and industry-facing aspects of big data, institutions such as banks can plug into big data resources to determine whether a foreclosure or short sale is really worth what a buyer or investor might be offering.

For now, the analysis of big data is likely to stay with those who gather it and companies willing to pay for access, such as the lead generation companies. What real estate agents need to know now is that the data is there and it’s available, in some form or another, to those who are willing to use the right tools.  Read more at:


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