This post originally appeared on Burt M. Polson's Real Estate Journal and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.


Big Data is a Big Deal

If you have not heard the term yet, you soon will. “Big data” refers to the ability we now have to collect vast amounts of information about us, the things we do and the environments we live in. This information is constantly being stored and to learn of connections and relationships, how they occur and their cause and affect.

On a small scale data is being mined, for example:

>television show viewing
>purchases made in a grocery store
>the number of texts you make in a day

Privacy becomes an issue as quite often you give companies the right to track your habits by agreeing to their terms of service.

On a larger scale data is collected on traffic patterns, demographics, weather, employment, political and socio-economic factors. Oftentimes, data is collected anonymously more to see trends than rather what you are doing.

With the infiltration of the “Internet of things” and the computing power available in our homes, cars and pockets our availability of data has grown and continues to grow. With more data available comes the ability to do more and learn more than we could with smaller amounts of data.


How much data are we talking about? Think about it this way: Wal-Mart, a company founded in the days when offices were filled with typewriters, now generates enough data to fill 60 million five-drawer file cabinets every hour,” says Robert S. Benchley, University of Miami School of Business Administration.

Big data has incredible uses in real estate. Never before does a buyer have so much raw data at their fingertips. A savvy buyer could come to the table with more information on a specific property and location then potentially the real estate broker.

This is why it is vital for a real estate broker to not only tap into this data but understand it, analyze it and use their skills, knowledge and expertise to interpret it and present it to their client in a beneficial way.

New tech companies are starting-up daily that utilize big data to help other businesses anticipate their potential customers’ next move. There is a new gap being filled by these companies that helps the real estate broker, buyer, seller and tenant interpret big data in order to make an educated and informed decision.

There are companies that will give you information for a property that could include: ease of walking to stores, transportation, schools, crime statistics, number of complaints to the authorities of your neighbor and even how many rodents were spotted in the neighborhood in the last few weeks.

Imagine a future where companies will know your next move before you do. Scary as that may sound we need to be sure to not take the human element out of the interpretation of this data. The gathering and analyzing of the data is basically an automated process. How we interpret and use the data should be done by a human with thought, emotion, experience and intuition.

Photo courtesy of New Old Stock, No Known Copyright Restrictions

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