The Problem: How to Provide Clients with Real-time, Hyper-local Real Estate Insights
Anyone who’s worked in real estate long enough knows that the most common industry data sources used typically come with a few drawbacks. For starters, the data is often severely lagging—sometimes collected only once per year and, thus, not representative of current or real-time patterns. Additionally, much of that data is only aggregated at the Census Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level, which is great for drawing “broad strokes” conclusions but less useful for building actionable local market insights. This becomes abundantly clear when trying to find answers to questions like, “How many people come to this area from a specific census block group (CBG) on a daily basis?” or “At what times of the day does this POI receive a lot of foot traffic?”
With more and more of the RCLCO’s customers becoming increasingly data-driven in everything they do—alongside a growing need to be able to access granular local market insights, sometimes at a very specific POI level, with ease—it quickly became clear to them that relying uniquely on the real estate industry’s most tried-and-true data sources wasn’t going to cut it. They needed to tap into better, more comprehensive datasets to add greater rigor and precision, as well as a truly competitive edge, to their applied real estate economics services.
The Problem-Solver: RCLCO
RCLCO’s mission is to “help clients make strategic, effective, and enduring decisions about real estate…with cutting-edge analytics, actionable advice, and the highest level of customer service.”
The business’s three primary service areas—institutional advisory services, management consulting, and applied real estate economics—work hand-in-hand to provide clients with added confidence around important and highly strategic real estate investments.
The applied real estate economics service area, more specifically, relies on deep data analytics to offer clients unbiased, actionable intelligence around a number of key services, from acquisition underwriting to financial modeling to portfolio optimization (and beyond).
With tracking, consent, and privacy being such hot-button issues these days, we needed to make sure we had all of our bases covered. SafeGraph ended up being the perfect combination of data quality, business integrity, and standardized delivery—all wrapped into one.
The Solution: SafeGraph Places and Patterns Data
RCLCO’s team vetted a number of data providers before deciding to work with SafeGraph. “Prior to me joining the company, one of our VP’s had actually been working on a POI-related project that leveraged SafeGraph data,” explained Scott Stoltzman, RCLCO’s Director of Data Science. “She was pleased with the outcome and recommended using SafeGraph’s data more broadly.”
So, after doing some light spot-checking and outlier testing, the team was confident that SafeGraph’s data was a good ‘technical fit’ to address their immediate needs. Plus, because the data is updated and made accessible to users on a monthly basis, it helped them overcome the issue of “lag” that was all too prevalent with other data sources they had been using to date.
They also liked the ease of buying data directly through SafeGraph’s website as well as how it comes routinely packaged in a user-friendly format that can be easily joined to other datasets. “With other data providers, we would have to spend a lot of time cleaning the data to make it useable,” explained Stoltzman. The metadata provided, like category and sub-category tagging, ended up being a huge competitive advantage for SafeGraph. After all, when making important real estate investment decisions, having more detailed data at your fingertips is always better.
And while providing extensive metadata related to millions of locations around the US proved to be one of SafeGraph’s biggest differentiators, RCLCO was also impressed by our commitment to data privacy. “Of course, the quality of the data was important to us, but the ethics of SafeGraph’s methodology really stood out,” explained Stoltzman. “With tracking, consent, and privacy being such hot-button issues these days, we needed to make sure we had all of our bases covered. SafeGraph ended up being the perfect combination of data quality, business integrity, and standardized delivery—all wrapped into one.”
The Result: Staying Ahead of the Latest Real Estate Data and Analytics Trends
“Without SafeGraph data, we can’t provide our customers with the local market insights they want and need to make important business decisions with confidence,” reiterated Stoltzman. In other words, to win key business contracts and also to continue providing relevant and timely real estate insights, RCLCO needed a reliable source of data that included both the accurate locations of POIs and data around how people actually interact with those places.
Aside from winning more business, having ongoing access to accurate, precise, and constantly up-to-date POI and foot traffic data has enabled RCLCO to expand its service offering. Since using SafeGraph data, for example, the company can now do predictive modeling around what their customers’ investments might look like in the future. “Long-term performance is driven by what will be the demand, not what was the demand,” concluded Stoltzman.
Long story short: Equipped with SafeGraph data, RCLCO has found a new way to not only remain competitive in the real estate consulting space but also stay one step ahead of the industry as a whole, all while continuing to grow and evolve their applied real estate economics practice.
Our customers need local market insights to make real estate investment decisions with confidence. We couldn’t provide that level of granularity until we began leveraging SafeGraph data.