It was a very misty early morning as I took the shuttle from the Sheraton to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The trip was a good 15 minutes despite the fact that it was only 7:00 AM. The Commercial Caffeinated Networking Breakfast was a special ticketed event, but the early schedule, ticket price, and shuttle trip were well worth it.
Commercial data technology is a burning issue for Commercial practitioners nowadays. Since the demise of Xceligent in December of 2017, CoStar and LoopNet have dominated the CRE tech and data space leaving users at their mercy. NAR is looking to make a deal with one of the three companies who are finalists to receive NAR’s endorsement. Commercial REALTORS® got a chance to hear from the three finalists Catylist, CREXi, and Brevitas. Following the breakfast, CRE (Commercial Real Estate) practitioners had a chance to test drive all three platforms and provide feedback to NAR.
Here are a few of my takeaways from the event:
- There are different types of data. Public data requires hours and hours of clean up that turns it into proprietary data. Data that’s free and available are often general and incomplete. There’s Big Data, regional data, local data. As you stack detail that requires man hours and extensive research, it becomes more valuable. Due diligence in buying an asset could be significantly reduced with valuable data.
- Blockchain will change data as we know it so pay attention to blockchain. What is blockchain? https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/what-is-blockchain?
- Deployment of 5G data in the international market is moving at high velocities. Interesting.
- Commercial members want fast and affordable data. There are many alternatives to LoopNet and CoStar today. Selling real estate is more than posting a classified ad. It is providing an experience to our commercial clients. Software companies are an alternative.
- Catylist says local market-specific data is important. Members say national market exposure is just as important. CREXi says they are a national platform built for Brokers. Capital markets cross borders. Brevitas says it’s the analysis of market data that’s important in the brokerage business. CoStar purchased LoopNet to shut it down. They went from 900,000 listings to 300,000 listings limiting access for the purpose of selling user access. That left a void allowing other data companies to step in.
- Catylist already has 70 REALTOR® Associations across the country signed up. Good to know.
- Integration and collaboration of data for a better user experience allows for cross access between CRMs and listing data.
- Venture Capital behind Catalyst – none. CREXi investors are real estate people. 25 Million VC is behind Brevitas.
- Critical mass for adoption creates a drag in the local market. Onboarding of data is vital to the user experience. Data has to be intuitive and fast.
I am curious as to what NAR’s final decision will be. Perhaps a conversation with the Association Executives of Commercial Overlay Boards would add valuable input to the decision making process. Just my two cents on that.