Changing Data in Commercial Real Estate

Published by Jason Ferris on

There has always been a separation between residential and commercial real estate. It’s not only the agents and brokers that are typically different, but the amount of information out there that can be accessed.  I started, as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, in residential real estate. It was 2003 and we did a ‘ton’ of appraisals in those days. We used county records and MLS for our research. It seemed like it was a good system.

In 2004, I started in commercial real estate appraisal and was surprised, being naive and green, at the lack of data out there. How was I supposed to complete the sales comparison approach if I had no sales ? So, I had to call brokers, read news articles and hope one day that there would be a commercial MLS that would work like residential MLS had. I’m also still waiting on the promise of flying cars that I was told as a kid in the 80’s was just around the corner. But, I digress….

I quickly realized that commercial brokers didn’t really want their information out there. If there was a listing online, it said ‘see agent’ for the asking price or ‘asking rent’. There certainly wasn’t any ‘sold’ comparables out there unless you remembered a prior listing and then called or checked the county data. It really hasn’t changed much I think, other than Loopnet, MLS derivates by local real estate boards, etc… The commercial brokers really wanted to control the information flow so they could capture  a new client in the process. It makes sense to me that they did that.

So how in this digital age, can a commercial appraiser reliably find and catalog commercial listings, sales, leases and development ?  The trend of getting more information out there by the new generation of brokers is encouraging and positive. Now, commercial real estate participants expect information to be available and public so that their search process is also more efficient. More efficiency = better analysis and reports….

There is a company startup called Realmassive out of Austin, TX. They have a cool, fresh model, where market participants can not only search for commercial real estate information, they can actually create an account and input information for the rest of the world to see. If I have an office to sell or lease, now I can list it on This company has the sky as its limit. Their fresh model of making this information open to the public is the way to go. The client’s broker is still the best representative for their client and should be involved whether listing, selling or leasing….but now the information is so much easier to get out in the world. I encourage you to check them out…

logo of realmassive

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