Taking real estate data to the next level

New service one-ups MLS by offering in-depth mortgage info

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 1, 2011

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"We have a lot of different companies that have shown some interest," said Brown.

My immediate thought was that a big real estate network such as a Keller Williams or Century 21 might be able to use this to supplement in-house programs.

"That's what we are anticipating," Brown said. "We will see a lot of real estate companies being interested because this is hard data from actual trust deeds or mortgage documents as opposed to some of the other online services where the information comes from self-reporting."

Brown claims WebSmart can be invaluable for such diverse organizations as property investors, mortgage and refinancing lenders, developers, real estate professionals, risk managers, insurance agencies and companies looking to target-market products and services to homeowners.

Couldn't a Realtor just get that kind of information from the multiple listing service?

"Sure, any Realtor can go to the MLS," Brown said, "but we have more information than what is listed on the MLS and all (of Melissa Data's information) comes from recorded documents. Also ... you can't get the mortgage information (from the MLS)."

According to Brown, WebSmart property ownership changes are updated weekly.

The information seems to be robust.

WebSmart property data is divided into 12 main categories with more than 165 different information fields available, including:

  • Parcel information: federal information processing standard (FIPS), aseessor parcel number (APN), latitude and longitude, tract, tax code area, zoning, number of buildings;
  • Owner information (name, mailing address and phone number);
  • Values information (calculated, accessed, appraised land/value/improvement marketing);
  • Current sale information (recording, sale date/price/name, title company);
  • Current trust deed information (mortgage, deed and lender);
  • Prior sale information;
  • Lot/land information (footage, lot and acreage);
  • Square footage information (universal, building, living, ground, garage);
  • Building information (year built, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, air conditioning, building code, condition, garage, construction, heating, fireplace, parking, pool, roof, utilities).

"This is really built to be scalable for large companies, so they can access the data in a subsecond on multiple properties," Brown said.

As to how companies will use all this data, even Brown doesn't know the answer to that. "We have so many different types of companies that have been beta-testing, we will be interested in not just validation that the service works properly, but how they are using the data."

Only one type of company hasn't been beta-testing the service -- big residential real estate brokerage networks, he said.

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "After the Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade," has been ranked as a top-selling real estate investment book for the Amazon Kindle e-reader.

Contact Steve Bergsman:
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