We Have The Data, and the Data Is Good

I wrote this post on NRVLiving.com earlier this week, and it was suggested that perhaps it would make interesting discussion on VARBuzz, as well.  I was sitting in a coffee shop, answering an email to a client who’d asked whether a particular piece of land had had any offers on it.

Obviously I have no idea, and had to say as much.  But I don’t like saying “I have no idea”, so I got to wondering whether the Multiple Listing Service could do more than just act as a depository of listings.  It’s purely speculative, but what if the MLS was a portal of sorts, a way for agents – and their clients – to dig into the property further?  What if an agent could see the offer history on a property, so that they could better inform their clients of what was happening?


  • if you could tell your clients that that property they loved is under contract, and having inspections done, but the portal gave you a deadline for the inspection period.  What if you called the listing agent on the day of the deadline and were able to learn that the deal was going to fall through, and you could write a new offer for your clients that was accepted?  I bet your clients would think you were a rockstar.
  • if you could tell that buyer who’s just not taking your analysis of the market to heart that the property he wants to buy has had two offers on it, and neither worked out.  Would that make some buyers think about how to structure their offer in order to gain acceptance?  In some cases, yes.
  • if you could look at the guts of properties within a subdivision, and quickly see that the ones that dropped their price by X% after the first 30 days on the market had accepted offers in the next 30 days.  You might be able to do something similar with your MLS now, but I bet it could be much simpler by using the MLS as a tool like this.  And armed with that information, your next listing presentation will be that much stronger.
I’m not suggesting this is the wave of the future, and I know there are likely plenty that hate the idea.  But I also bet there are some that might like it.  I know for a fact that when a buyer has as much information as they can gather, they’re empowered to make a decision.  Data, when formatted in such a way as to be easily sorted and understood, is good.  The MLS folks I’ve talked to, both on and off the blog, all say it’s easy enough to do and something they could get behind, if the users would participate.
I think I would … would you?
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2 Responses to We Have The Data, and the Data Is Good

  1. Lenn Harley says:

    If the information is available on a database for agents, it will soon be available to consumers.

    “Empowerment” of the consumer far to often serves to marginalize the agent. Information about past offers should remain private between an owner/seller and their representative.

    Sooner or later, agents may have to leave Starbucks, preview a property and perform due diligence for a buyer/client.

    Sooner or later, a serious buyer will leave their computer and “walk” a property with their agent.

  2. Jeremy Hart says:

    Lenn, thanks for the comment; I guessed this wasn’t going to be a popular thought. You don’t think there’s any value to this idea of having as much information as possible – information you wouldn’t be able to tell from previewing a house – at your fingertips? I do … I had a buyer come down from NJ on Monday to see one property, simply because he had enough information on that one property to know that it was in fact something he wanted to see. It seems to me that being able to gather as much of the “non-tangible”, for lack of a better phrase, information as possible helps set you apart and reinforces your value. I can see your point, in the end you’ve got to have feet on the ground, although I’d disagree that empowerment of the consumer marginalizes the agent. The AGENT marginalizes the agent.

    It’s an interesting discussion … to me, anyways. Thanks for chiming in.

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