Does Data really reign supreme in real estate?

BY Joey valenti

What a time to be alive. Within seconds, buyers can access important market statistics on LoopNet, Placer, and other platforms that used to only ever be available to brokers, and sometimes this information took days, or even weeks, to relay. Site statistics can now be pulled up in real time, bookmarked, and stored right in your pocket. But while data is great and essential to the transaction overall, its real power lies in the hands of those who can interpret it. Because of this, technology will never be as valuable as insight from a local broker.

In the real estate world, shortage of data is not the issue. The problem that buyers face is that all this information lacks context and interpretation. A site may look amazing on paper (or on a screen) and check all the boxes for that buyer, but without a broker providing nuanced information, they might be setting themselves up for failure without even realizing it. Is that land flat? What previously occupied that particular site? What are the traffic patterns like? These kinds of questions are where the data’s going to fall flat and the expertise of a local broker becomes invaluable.

Answering these types of questions becomes regular practice when you prioritize getting in a car and driving the market with a client. If a client does their initial search and gathers preliminary information about a site they’re interested in, it’s almost a guarantee that some of that information has changed by the time we get in the car and drive with them. We’ll occasionally get pushback about driving when databases are showing no availability, but in a market with 2% vacancy and land prices through the roof, perspectives have to shift. Nevermind that the search results said nothing was available; you never know what you’re going to find driving around! Site data changes weekly, daily, even hourly, and there’s not a chance those updates are being implemented digitally.

Providing this kind of insider information is akin to giving a client concierge-level service. This has been one of the best ways we’ve built rapport, not just with clients, but with the community. Here’s a great example: a client wanted to know how many days out of the year that Lower Broadway is closed for special events. When an internet search (unsurprisingly) came up short, the power of personal connection took the lead. We were able to call on our contacts from various downtown partnerships and within a few hours had a complete list of planned road closure dates for 2024. This just goes to show that taking time to nurture professional relationships is crucial. How you handle transactions (and how you treat people in the process) matters. It’s always our priority to be above board, overly honest and fair to everyone involved to make the best deals we can.

But the fact remains, there are just some deals that are stalled and can’t move forward right now. In these situations, it’s so important to avoid speculating and providing answers you’re not sure about. Instead, assess what tools you have in your toolbelt and use the best one. One of the most valuable tools a broker can have is a mentor. Arthur has been that for me when I need a fresh set of eyes or to utilize connections that have been built. No matter how long you’ve been at your craft or how many deals you’ve closed, the insight from an experienced mentor will almost always supersede the information on a screen.

While we know that we can’t do our jobs without the data available, it’s worth repeating that you can’t get the best deal with data alone. Data should always be accompanied by the expertise of a local broker who has a deep understanding of market dynamics and allowing them to analyze data. When it comes to Nashville and the surrounding markets, our team’s depth of knowledge and lived experiences are the secret sauce to getting the best deals done time and time again. If your search results haven’t been yielding the information you’re looking for, we’d love to connect and tell you what’s really going on here.

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