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Bulk vs API: Search query has a lot to do with it


With modern property data delivery, you have a few options to choose from that can fit both your budget and business needs. Either a bulk file or an API are the most common solutions. Which one you choose will be based on a few factors, the most identifiable being your search query.

A bulk file will give you access to a breadth of properties all at once, whereas an API primarily delivers significant depth on data points for a single property. Therefore, your search criteria would look significantly different for each.

Just articulating your query, or the specific data you are looking to access, out loud will help you choose the right solution.

Ex. Bulk:

“All single-family homes in San Francisco that have a pool or spa.”

Put into practice, this particular bulk query is one way that a pool & spa business might be able to calculate what percent of homes in the area make up their target market. Or, a pool & spa store in the area can get addresses to send direct mail only to relevant homes, promoting their biggest sale of the year. The opportunities are endless, but knowing that only a bulk file will support this query ahead of time can save you some time.

Ex. API:

“Does 123 Fun City Drive, SF, CA have a pool or spa?”

This API query doesn’t give you any information outside of the individual property, but provides a critical data point for this home, whether that informs a potential homebuyer, agent, broker or investor. Whether this home has a pool or spa is just one quality among many other data points that could be provided for this address by the API.

Ok, so now that you know how your query will impact your solution, let’s look at the technical differences between an API and a bulk file. 

A property data API (application programming interface) is a method for pulling property records from one online system to another and is only sent when called for. In this case, the vendor is the keeper of the data and by establishing a connection with their API, other businesses can get dynamic access to this data for use in their internal systems, websites or applications.

Bulk data is much like it sounds - your purchase includes a one-time (or recurring) file delivery to your inbox. It arrives in CSV file format containing rows of each property and its data that match the criteria requested.

Now that you know which solution will be best suited to your query, there is always a chance that either could work for you based on other factors. The Estated team is here to help you navigate the world of property data ownership and access. Get in touch today.