A career in real estate is not only a potentially lucrative one, but may come with a number of additional benefits including a flexible schedule, a certain degree of independence, the chance to constantly meet new people, and even a great deal of emotional rewards that come with helping your clients’ dreams come true.

But if you’re just starting out, how can you compete with well-versed professionals that have been active for years on end?

Real estate data helps level the playing field

An old proverb says that ‘there is no substitute for experience’; but don’t let that intimidate you, as experience can also be seen as ‘the opportunity to make the same mistake over and over again.’ So think of it like this:

Real estate data can help any determined, hard-working individual substitute those missing years of experience with valuable market insight and accumulate knowledge at a rapid pace. No longer do real estate pros have to rely strictly on past experiences, personal market knowledge or an extensive list of contacts, but can use available resources to learn as they go.

What type of data is crucial to a successful career in real estate?

In the age of Big Data, the term has been used loosely; so much so that, at times, it gets difficult to pinpoint its exact meaning. However, when it comes to real estate, the term may stand for accurate and up-to-date property information – including comprehensive property characteristics, its sales history, liens, permits, ownership data and adjacent information like tax details, neighborhood demographics, potential hazards, and much more.

Timely sales data is worth its own special mention, as this crucial aspect helps you size up the market, run comps to see how to assess the market value of a property (or to see if the property has been priced accordingly), allowing you to properly advise your clients.

Reliable data sources can help get a better understanding of real estate economics – “the application of economic techniques to real estate markets, which tries to describe, explain, and predict patterns of prices, supply, and demand” – Wikipedia.

How to choose the right real estate data provider

With so many online real estate data providers available, how do you know which one to trust?

Two of the most important aspects to look for are:

  • accurate sources for the data (be it property information, sales etc.)
  • timely updates

Official sources like the New York City’s Finance Department’s public records can provide you with a great deal of property & sales information – but may be more difficult to use due a rather unfriendly format. Having access to timely and accurate data can give you a strong advantage over your competitors.  You should look for a reputable real estate data provider who ensures a good range of data that is accurate, verifiable, up-to-date, and in a user-friendly layout for easy reading and analysis.