In an age where real estate agents are looking to take on property portals, the property listing data is the most valuable commodity.
And that's the key: it's a commodity. In its current form, a property listing is:
1. Everywhere - it's in the software agents use to post to every site they possibly can.
2. Inaccurate - is the description factually correct? Are their details or features missing from the meta data? Yup.
3. Incomplete - you need more, do do anything meaningful. You can't buy, analyse or even compare with the information in a property listing.
So what improvements are needed to property listings, and who is going to improve them?
Arguably, in the sale or rental process, all the 'right' data is seen by someone at some point. Agents, owners, buyers, lawyers and even tenants have access to more data that you ever see in digital form. Any one of these could build a better (and more valuable) property listing.
Could there be a permanent home for this data? Leases, floorplans, photos, owner/renter history, build date and improvements would all be very valuable. Even planning information could be used to create a comprehensive property listing.
And where does Open Data sit in all of this?
There are start-ups, like Locatable in the UK and HomeSnap in the US, who are flirting with this capability. But they're relying on Open Data. The solution for this is going to come from people, and that's why Renthackr is so interesting. They get people to give up, for free, a lot of detail about that property.
Read more on Drew Meyers's GeekEstate site: http://geekestateblog.com/the-history-of-a-home-and-how-homeowners-can-take-control-of-their-home-listings/
And updated short post is also worth reading: http://geekestateblog.com/carfax-homes-opportunity/