Buying, managing, and governing data: a 6-step guide for the Tech driven real estate companies
Data powers innovative real estate
Emerging technologies present real estate companies with new opportunities. Analytics-powered business insights. Virtual neighborhood tours. Online tenant screenings and improved property valuations. These and other cutting-edge capabilities help the PropTech industry expand, increase profits, and better accommodate both customers and employees.
But these technologies are only as good as the massive datasets that underpin them. To make the most of technological innovations, PropTech companies need data that is clean and accurate, organized for deep insight, and appropriately governed.
How can your company ensure that data investments support new technologies? Read on and consider these six steps.
Getting the right data for your PropTech Company: a 6-step approach
1. Understand your use case
What do you want your data to do? Do you need data that can help you decide where to expand? Improve lead generation through search engine optimization and improved mapping? Enable customers to maximize profits of mixed-use buildings by improving residential/commercial ratios? To ensure data is fit for purpose, you must clearly articulate your use case.
2. Determine what type of data you need to support that use case
Available datasets support virtually every use case. But datasets are not interchangeable: not every dataset is appropriate for every use. It’s important to invest in the information you need to meet a specific corporate goal.
If a real estate wants to help users determine the value of their homes, it may datasets covering trends that affect home prices. (A steady increase in crime rates may decrease the value of a house. Conversely, the emergence of nearby amenities such as new coffee shops or a new public pool may increase its price.)
The types of datasets needed to improve home valuation differ widely from the type of datasets that help a chain daycare provider decide where to open a new branch. This business may not care very much about whether home prices have nudged up or down – only about how many children ages 12 and under live in a 20-mile radius.
To ensure that your company invests in the right datasets for your use case, solicit input from development teams, end users, and data professionals. Remember that disparate stakeholders often have different data needs, and that the employees charged with buying data may not understand the needs of the staff members who will actually use it.
If a data analyst is tasked with buying data for you company, it may worry most about a new dataset’s interoperability with existing data. Marketing, meanwhile, may prioritize datasets that regularly update points of interest in gentrifying neighborhoods. To obtain maximum value, PropTech companies should invest in data that meets the needs of all stakeholders.
3. Determine the need for world-class address verification
If you are working with properties, you are working with addresses or possibly latitude and longitude coordinates, also called geocoding. While there are a wide range of products on the market that can resolve street addresses to a geographic location, they are not all created equal. Many are limited to specific geographies and lack the sophistication to operationalize addresses across multiple countries or continents.
Having the right algorithms can make a big difference as well. Address information can sometimes be extraordinarily cryptic. Here is a real-life example; a visitor to one of our customers’ websites entered their address in an online form as follows: “1 100 #1 10025”. Precisely’s geocoding algorithms were able to determine the correct address as “1 W 100th Street, Frnt 1, New York, NY 10025-4857.” Most geocoding services are simply not capable of deciphering those kinds of anomalies.
Precise geocoding is vital, because accurate resolution is the first step toward enriching data with an array of location-based variables. That, in turn, provides a wealth of additional value by driving better decisions based on a substantially better-informed view of reality. Data-driven decisions that are based on a high degree of data integrity ultimately lead to greater profitability.
If you don’t get that first step right, though, your data enrichment efforts could go awry . You could end up linking the wrong address to the wrong externally-sourced data. Just as high-integrity data can drive good decisions, poor-quality data can drive bad ones.
4. Invest in quality data
Not all data is created equal. Look for data providers who offer quality data, or data that provides necessary:
Examine the attributes of each dataset. Is each data record as detailed as necessary to meet business goals? If you’re a residential PropTech company trying to decide where to expand, is it enough to know that property prices are currently up in a certain region? Or do you need predictive analytics that can help you predict likely sales trends over the next five or 10 years?
Each data record contains many fields. Consider the fill rate for each field. The more fields left blank or containing null values, the less valuable the data.
How accurate is the data your provider offers? Consider working with a provider that allows statistical sampling of large datasets, enabling you to cross-check sampled data with authoritative information. This can help you determine the error rates of each dataset.
Determine how frequently your provider updates data. Ask how long it takes for datasets to reflect real-world changes. Use an example based on your use case. For example, you may want to ask questions such as “If a single-family home on a three-acre parcel is demolished, and a developer builds 20 townhouses on that site, how long does it take for this updated information to reach your dataset?”
How reliably is the data delivered? How standardized is its format? How interoperable is it with your existing datasets and software?
5. Consider how to receive data
Data should be delivered in a method that matches your company’s needs. Depending on those needs, some PropTech companies may choose to work with a data provider that delivers via an FTP site, a cloud storage site, or a web page. Other technology driven real estate companies may prefer data marketplaces such as Snowflake Data Marketplace and AWS Data Exchange, which simplify data delivery with a single interface empowering buyers to access data from multiple providers.
File formats used are also important. These commonly include CSV files, ASCII files, extended tab format files, database files such as Microsoft Access or MySQL, or delimited text files. Make sure that the file formats employed by the data provider are compatible with the type of formats already used in your organization.
Mature data consumers may want to find a provider that offers an application programming interface (API) or software developer’s toolkit (SDK) to streamline and automate data acquisition.
6. Better govern and manage data
Your PropTech company is investing in data because of its importance to new technologies. The analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence that power deeper insight and new capabilities are all “garbage in, garbage out” processes. The best algorithms in the world will produce unreliable insight if they are based on bad data.
Smart data governance and management strategies help you better understand your data’s source, best uses, meaning, and quality – while making data easily accessible to approved users.
The right data governance and management strategies help to:
- Effectively centralize data. Organizations trying to centralize data in data warehouses, data lakes, or other storage hubs typically need to first improve data governance. If data is not properly governed during the centralization processes, data maps and metadata will quickly become outdated. Data governance capabilities enable metadata and data maps to be captured and curated while data is being centralized, keeping that information up-to-date.
- Ensure data integrity and accessibility. Users typically spend too much time searching for the right information and questioning whether data can be trusted. Data governance and management frameworks can document data policies, provide common glossaries and definitions, and chart data lineage. These capabilities improve data integrity while providing easier data access to approved users.
- Promote a common understanding of data. Too often, a single data query posed by different users results in different answers. The same capabilities that ensure data integrity and accessibility can give users a single understanding of data’s meaning – critical to effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making.
Precisely is the global leader in data integrity, providing accuracy and consistency in data for 12,000 customers – including 99 of the Fortune 100 – in more than 100 countries. Precisely’s data integration, data quality, data governance, location intelligence, and data enrichment products power better business decisions to create better outcomes.
Building on more than 20 years of data-domain expertise, we provide all the capabilities discussed earlier in this eBook. Our products and services enable PropTech companies to make the most of their data by obtaining a more complete view of each property.
Our solutions help the PropTech industry:
Geo addressing combines address matching with geocoding to provide a clean, accurate address along with a building- or unit-level latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates for every property in our global reference database. Accurate geocoding is a vital first step toward enriching data with an array of location-based variables. Geo addressing also assigns a PreciselyID to each location. The PreciselyID helps make data enrichment easier by providing a unique and persistent identifier attached to a property’s address
Data enrichment is the process of enhancing data with relevant context from additional sources, improving its overall value, accuracy, and usability. Through data enrichment, PropTech companies gain deeper insights to drive more informed decisions, optimize business processes, inspire product innovation, and personalize marketing messages.
For maximum value, this context data must be verified, processed into the required format, then linked to appropriate internal data. After initial use, the data must be continually updated – requiring it to again be verified, processed, and linked.
PreciselyID enables fast and easy data enrichment from Precisely’s catalog of more than 9000 attributes in over 400 datasets around the world providing deeper insights for more informed decisions. These datasets cover, census information, neighborhood boundaries, parcel boundaries, building attributes, weather events, geodemographics, international boundaries, and more. The PreciselyID enables companies to easily update, correct, and process records in bulk. This saves processing time and expense while increasing overall data value and accuracy.
Develop a holistic property view
The relationships between property datasets is typically not a simple, one-to-one correlation. Rather, these relationships can be complex, making it challenging to develop a comprehensive view of a property. Precisely Property Graph simplifies relationships between two or more Precisely products – including address fabric, parcel boundary, building, property attributes, and points of interest datasets – making it easy to more accurately and deeply enrich data. With Property Graph, a connected view of properties can be readily accessed and directly integrated with business processes
Better govern data
Data360 Govern is an enterprise data governance, catalog, and metadata management solution that improves the quality, value, and trustworthiness of your data. It automates governance and stewardship tasks to help you answer essential questions about your data’s source, use, meaning, ownership, and quality. With Data360 Govern, you can make better, faster data-management decisions; build collaboration across your entire organization; and empower users to get the answers they need, when they need them.
Technology-driven real estate companies are quickly emerging and always evolving. At every iteration, you need accurate, easy-to-manage data that keeps pace. Start improving your data today.