This isn’t about brand-name baby beds – RadCribs is all about real estate research.
Howard Yen, a real estate investor, began to gather data on properties in the New York City area about two years ago. “At the time it was very difficult. There wasn’t any good way of doing it. That’s how I came up with the idea – to come up with something that will help users research properties.”
RadCribs.com now serves as a real estate data storehouse for the New York City area and other East Coast real estate markets, including Boston, Maryland, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Local government offices have gradually entered the digital age, and RadCribs focuses on those areas that have readily available computerized property information. “We tend to only focus on cities that already have digitized content,” Yen said. “Two years ago there wasn’t as much, but now there is more and more. One of our goals is to add more and more cities.”
While basic search features at the site are free, RadCribs generates money from subscriptions to its data tools, and also from Google ads at the Web site.
Investors and Realtors tend to be the primary customers, Yen said, and developers and mortgage professionals also use the site. Separate subscriptions are available for property ownership and title reports, comparable sales reports, and foreclosures. Yen said that the typical user will pay about $14.95 a month for unlimited access to one of these data categories. There are discounts for users who subscribe to more than one category.
The site also offers reports on market trends and sales statistics. A sales price report for New York City in December 2005 shows sales information by neighborhood, including number of sales, median price, mean price, highest price, address, buyer and seller, for example.
Property reports can include owner and address information, title and mortgage documents, property tax information and square footage, among other data.
Following the lead of other property-search Web sites, RadCribs recently integrated Google-based mapping tools, allowing users can access aerial photographs and map images for properties. “It is very intuitive as opposed to just looking at data,” Yen said.
Within the next month, Yen said that RadCribs is launching a new search tool to locate for-sale properties. While real estate brokers in the New York City market have been notoriously closed in their sharing of real property listings estate information with other brokers and consumers, Yen said that the new service will search participating brokers’ Web sites and compile that data for viewing at RadCribs.com.
So rather than sifting through many brokerage Web sites to find property data, Yen said the goal is to aggregate those listings at RadCribs. “Our primary objective is to help (users) find properties. Basically the idea with this – whatever property you find will take you directly to the broker’s listing page. We’re going to drive traffic to their listings and help them.” Already, RadCribs has forged agreements with about 10 brokers to share listing information at RadCribs, Yen said.
RadCribs is supported by an investment team called WBH Ventures Inc. None of the WBH partners is a licensed real estate broker, Yen said.
While Yen would not reveal how much traffic the RadCribs site generates, he said it typically fluctuates with the real estate market. “When the market rises, our traffic goes up. Real estate is a seasonal thing.” The site traffic slowed down during the later months of 2005, he said, but has begun to pick up again this month.
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