SAN FRANCISCO — Many tech players make a moral argument for setting data free. Consumers simply have a right to it, they say.

Kevin O’Connor, CEO of FindTheBest, may have similar feelings, but he made a different case for releasing real estate data when speaking onstage at Real Estate Connect: It’s good for business.

Source: FindTheBest

Source: FindTheBest

O’Connor said that FindTheBest — which recently launched real estate search tools and today unveiled a feature designed to capture the “true essence” of neighborhoods — has discovered that getting its hands on listings is a challenge, partly due to the fact that people are fearful of change. So far, it’s stocked its database with just under half of all listings in the U.S.

But, according to O’Connor, data is the “WD-40 that’ll make the markets flow more quickly,” so keeping it under wraps is not in anybody’s interest.

Many people, he said, simply won’t buy a home until they’re satisfied that they’ve learned the “good, the bad and the ugly” about it.

So real estate agents are looking at three options, he said. They can either:

  • Hide information, so that the client never transacts;
  • Answer questions themselves and “vilify the Internet” so that the client takes a long time to transact;
  • Or, most sensibly, give clients as much data as possible so that they transact the fastest.
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