As more data has become available on line, more companies have arrived on the scene to crunch and normalize data for the use of making large financial decisions.
In real estate, that means that there are companies who will display a myriad of information regarding the details of a real estate transaction.
When this data is put under a microscope, one can deduce things such as: How much equity does a homeowner theoretically have? Who is most likely to sell in the coming months? If I were to buy a home in a certain neighborhood, how much rent could I charge?
These suppositions are possible through predictive analytics. There were very few companies offering such services a few years ago. Now there is an ever-growing field of companies providing such information for a fee.
Now. Is this information creepy?
The first time you saw the zillow zestimate for your home did you feel that the public now knew way too much about you?
If so, then yes. This is creepy.
When you wish to do certain things like: prepare to sell your home, buy a home, or wonder if it would make sense to further invest in upgrading your home, this information is helpful (dare I say cool?).
As a real estate agent, such information makes it easier to provide information that would benefit our clients. When used judiciously, it helps the agent to know more than the average person about local market conditions. It helps us spot trends. It makes us better at our job.
When such information is shared in a capricious manner, we can divulge far more information than is prudent. In such cases, yes, this is creepy.
I appreciate any energy employed in becoming a wiser agent. I do not enjoy that some of this data is slipping into the public domain that could create privacy issues.
I urge companies who offer predictive analytics products to take such issues into consideration when creating such products. So far I'm seeing that several companies that I've researched are taking precautions. Time will tell how long this will be the case.
Since Utah is a "non-disclosure state" (along with Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (some counties), Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming) many of the details of a real estate transaction are more private than it is in other locations. So, predictive service such as Zillow will be less reliable. In other words, some pieces of information will be missing and the details found on line should be seen as less reliable.
Chuck and Lucy Willman are licensed real estate agents in the state of Utah and have been involved in thousands of real estate transactions in the last couple decades.
Chuck Willman: chuck@UtahHomes.me - Lucy Willman: Lucy@TheHouseBuzz.com
Graphics attribution: "Multidimensional Data Visualization" by Hiro Sheridan