Why brokerages must own their data

When you think “data,” you probably think property (or listing) data. And that’s not entirely wrong, but it’s far from right. There are actually three main data pillars for a broker: property data, but also brokerage data and consumer data. The real value lies with those last two and yet, brokerage and consumer data are often left on the table.

Listing data isn’t the issue anymore

Property data and how it passes digitally around the internet is old news. MLS standards were created back in the 1990’s and RESO continues to set new industry standards and evolve. Yes, there is some hassle for brokerages who switch from tech vendor A to the vendor B as far as listings are concerned – new agreements have to be signed with MLSs – but you don’t lose any data.

The moral of the story here is that the property data always exists and can easily be passed back and forth. Essentially, that data war is over.

The data brokerages are losing

Data is the new oil – those that have it will be able to control their business and profit from it. Consumer and brokerage data is often ignored, but that is where there are the highest risks and greatest rewards. Centralizing this data not only makes everything easier for your brokerage and agents, but it also prevents data loss.

A product with an API does not equate to an actual data cloud

Undoubtedly, all this data is owned by the brokerage, but here’s where things get muddy and where brokerages lose track of what is rightfully theirs: when they consider a product with an API interchangeable with a proper data cloud. This is a dangerous trend in the industry and what it can mean for your brokerage is toxic.

Agent and brokerage data includes office locations, branding, organizational hierarchy, and titles. So where does that data live? If your answer is your roster, which is a part of your brokerage website, and it integrates with your existing tech stack, that’s the wrong answer.

Because as soon as you need or want to change website providers, your roster disappears along with that vendor.

Similarly, where does your consumer data live? This type of data not only includes information like name, address, phone number, and email, but also important data, such as family members, personal interests, transaction data, and interaction with technology like websites, email and other apps. If the answer to this question is your CRM, which works with all of your marketing tools and more – again, wrong answer. What happens to all that data when you need or want to change that CRM provider or if you have multiple CRMs?

It disappears.

Your data is your power. Make sure you keep control of it.

For these reasons, you need all three types of data — listing, brokerage, and consumer – in a true cloud (also known as an open platform) that isn’t tied to any one of those products or tools. There have been many several failed industry attempts to solve this problem, but they’ve been derailed either by a disrupter that couldn’t be trusted to take care of your data properly or industry consortiums that have yet to execute successfully.

It is vital that top brokerages know all of the types of data related to their business and the difference between an API and a cloud. Just by doing some pre-signing due diligence, a brokerage can prevent losing their own data and the headaches that come with it down the road.

Find out more information on this topic and open platforms here.

Inman