It used to be the way you got information and a competitive edge was to network and call around to get the scoop on something. Those were the days of old-fashioned market research. Many a real estate professional made a fortune with this type of modus operandi. Having that type of "insider market knowledge" was key to getting a deal done.
While I don’t think that this type of market research and the insights it provides are a thing of the past, the availability of open sourced information is a game changer for the real estate industry. Those who get this will undoubtedly have a real competitive edge in their local marketplaces.
Just look at some of the sites that provide a wealth of data and information that is accessible to anyone:
- In the retail space: Check out my friend Ben Zises’ amazing site, RetailMLS, for all the info you could ever want on the retail market. Storefront is another retail-oriented site that supplies a wealth of different listing and neighborhood demographic information.
- Pricing: CompStak is an amazing site full of pricing data whose first product is a marketplace for the exchange of lease comps. Sites such as Trulia and Zillow have been pioneers in this field of residential pricing data.
-Architecture and Design: Architizer is one of my favorite new sites that I just discovered. It’s a terrific place to go for content and design sources.
- Development Sourcing: Honest Buildings is a terrific platform that marries contractors with developers.
- Financing and Connectivity: I can’t wait for the official launch of RealConnex. This site will be a hugely successful hub for connectivity among real estate professionals.
- Investing in deals: Crowdfunding has arrived in a big way, thanks to the passing of new legislation and the movement is only shaping up to get bigger. Just check out Fundrise, ProHatch, Realty Mogul and Prodigy Network to see what some of the leaders in the field are doing.
I could go on and on with other sites that deserve your attention, but the main message I have for my friends in the real estate industry is go discover some of them for yourself. They will make you more knowledgeable and better informed. Not to mention that they will save you substantial time you would have spent calling folks to dig up information. Nothing will replace that, but today, there are finally other tools available. Happy hunting!