After a decade in the real estate data and technology business, Steven Hightower and his team at Terradatum set out to build a piece of technology that would enable real estate brokers to utilize market and office data to make money.
The result was BrokerMetrics, a business tool that enables broker managers to mine MLS data and office statistics to gauge market share, market trends, appropriate pricing for new listings top-producing agents’ results and other statistics.
Brokers can pinpoint how their office compares with other brokerages so they can compete more successfully and predict turning points in the local market so they can prepare for them more effectively. Brokers also can use the technology to figure out which agents would be profitable new recruits for the company.
“We do a lot of statistical analysis of data…Market share is something we find that brokers across the country are tremendously interested in,” Hightower, Terradatum’s CEO, said.
Terradatum uploads MLS data onto its server nightly and performs statistical analyses brokers then can access the following day. The company currently is connected to MLSs only in northern California, but expects to roll out the service across the country this year.
Hightower said users are connected to the analyzed data, rather than the raw MLS feed. And only brokers and agents who are members of the MLS from which the data is mined can subscribe to the BrokerMetrics technology.
“It’s only for use by brokers who are entitled to that data,” he said.
Other tools included in BrokerMetrics analyze home pricing trends, volume trends, days on the market, months’ supply of inventory and average selling period. For market share, brokers can isolate their own company, region or individual offices against primary competitors.
Current users of the technology include some Coldwell Banker brokerages in northern California and Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, which offers a separate version called AgentMetrics to its members. AgentMetrics is geared toward individual agents with a focus on helping them gain listings.
“The tools are divided into marketing-oriented tools and efficiency-oriented tools. The marketing tools are intended for use by agents, managers and management to help them get more listings and list them at the right price,” Hightower said.
AgentMetrics includes a home price analysis tool that enables real estate agents to view a graph of new listings compared with market data and define a pricing window for more detailed information such as absorption and comparisons with sold and active listings in the same market.
The technology also enables agents to produce market trends and market share reports they can include in their listing presentations.
Hightower said the product aims for user-friendliness by giving brokers and agents information in three steps or less.
“If it’s more than three steps, it’s too many,” he said.
BrokerMetrics is geared toward medium to large real estate companies with 10 or more offices. The company plans to release a product specifically for medium-sized companies by the end of this year.
Users pay for the technology on a contract subscription and per office, per month basis. Hightower said he wouldn’t provide an estimate of the cost range because the product is not a one-size fits all model.
Terradatum has a patent pending on the Metrics system as a whole, according to Hightower. The team has been in the real estate technology business since 1994. They previously created the Listing Advantage suite of agent and broker applications, which was one of the first intranet-based MLS systems, now called MLSWeb (or XMLSWeb under the aegis of Fidelity Information System) and RealtyWeb, a brokerage intranet/extranet system.
“We’ve seen every kind of real estate technology there is, so we sat down to build something that’s both useful and different,” Hightower said.
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