Property Data & Info


One question I've been getting alot lately is "This site or that site has my home info wrong, the features, size, pics or overhead view are wrong, how do I fix it?"

The information that the public sees on a whole host of sites comes from an ever growing list of sources. Some of the sources are:

1. MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Feeds - The MLS's supply data on properties to alot of sources. The recent real estate boom also coincided with a boom in technology to share info via the internet. The information from these feeds are more accurate because of licencing laws & other protections due to the involvement of a licenced real estate professional imputing the info. Errors do occur though or information is not as evenly entered, this is improving though.

2. State, County & City/Town Sources - Sales, refinance, title changes, assessors data and even zoning data have moved and are moving more and more to the internet and as such the data is aggregated & published by alot of sources. This info is accurate to a point, it relies on cities/towns, county & state records to be up to date, accurate and shared on a certain timeline. Sometimes errors or use of the record data is not 100% uniform so sometimes outside sources can have mixups or interpretation problems. This method uses a check's & balances method, for example; the building department reports permits for work on a property where that is recorded with the assessors office for tax purposes & field card reporting. Work not done with a permit may not get accurately reported. Durring the real estate boom it was reported some inspectional services departments were looking at the MLS to make sure work was done as permitted & appropriate assesments were considered.

3. Private Vendors - Credit, community groups/sites, Satellite Companies, Search Engines, Surveyors, Web vendors etc. All these groups assemble data from work done in their course of business and share or sell data to others for use. One item I see over and over is that the overhead satellite pics don't point my property out correctly. Well it's not bad considering they're taking that picture from hundreds of miles up in the sky. It's a mathematical equation that points out the properties and there is a margin of error for all this work. Sometimes it'll be off by 10-150 feet which to us on the ground seems like alot but when you take into account thats from hundreds of miles up, I'll cut them some slack.

Recently I attended a convention in Las Vegas for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and they had some of the top real estate industry companies there and the accuracy of info was a topic. Everyone involved was very interested in making sure the info available is as accurate as possible. Places like GoogleMaps, BingMaps, Trulia, Zillow and others really want the public to report errors so they can make adjustments to make their data much more accurate.

I've been fielding 10-20 questions a week on these topics over the last year and my first comments are usually, "Relax, we can fix it, it's not the end of the world". I'll gladly assist with identifying the problem & directing people to the right source to correct their info.

Finally I also get alot of questions regarding if it's legal and fair to display so much info publically. I'm not an attorney so I can't say what's legal or not but as far as fair I can say the following, "The info being reported is all public-records, all available for the public to look at and find and has been for decades it's just now with the internet it's alot easier to gather the info together and view. " I don't know how everything will evolve but in my experience it's tough to put the genie back in the bottle (i.e. lock down all the data) once it's been put out there for public consumption without MAJOR legislative & legal & social change. Fortunatly many sites have proceedures for interested parties/owners to claim their property and choose how to share or edit the data as much as the sites will allow for. The privacy policy of many sites will explain their policy & proceedures.

I hope this helps, I'd really like your imput on this topic,
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