When considering a property data API for your business, one of the most important qualities of your dataset should be how often it gets updated. One must take into account a realistic lag between when data is captured, entered and processed, especially given the complexity of gathering the data in the first place. Yet, data aggregation aside, not every data platform refreshes its dataset at the same rate, creating a variance in freshness confidence from one data provider to another.
To compound this point, a data refresh date isn’t always made available at all –– never-the-less easy to find, making data transparency a crucial and hot topic this year. Estated is proud to claim that data freshness and transparency are priorities for our API as last published and last updated dates for our data fields is pulled automatically in our metadata with the rest of our assessment, ownership, mortgage and sales record fields.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use data freshness as a decisive factor for your data API integration.
Estated Property Data API Buyer’s Guide - Part 2
We have identified a range of key attributes to consider when choosing your property data integration.
One of the main benefits of using an API vs a bulk data file for your data output is that the information you receive is as up-to-date as the source it is drawn from. These sources vary by provider, but the majority comes from public record sources. How often these data are updated will also vary by provider, but can range from monthly to yearly. Make sure to pull the data as a test to check for yourself, if the information is provided, or ask your data API vendor representative outright how often they pull an update. Most would agree that the fresher the data, the better, period. We won’t argue with that, but also want to review a few other considerations that could be pertinent for your business regarding how highly to prioritize up-to-date data against other API attributes.
How important is data freshness to you?
According to a recent article from MIT news , fresh data is more important than the speed with which data is delivered –– in the IoT space. When specifically looking at smart cars and traffic data, the most up-to-date information could mean the difference between a close call and a fender bender.
Even if using stale data in your business won’t cause traffic accidents, ask yourself what risk it does create for you, your employees and your customers. Is there a large investment riding on decisions made based on the data presented? This can be particularly true for a real estate investment or homeowners insurance underwriter where hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) could be on the line.
Understanding how often your data provider is updating their data fields will be a huge asset when assessing the amount of risk you are assuming and how much stock you place in your decision making based on the data you receive.
What does fresh data look like in practice?
When your property data is returned via an API it can be formatted to match developer preferences, so it might not look exactly like our metadata view below, but serves as an example. Our refresh rate can be observed in the data field updated_at and when the records were last updated at the source is indicated by the published_at field.
Take note our raw data view, as demonstrated below for the same property won’t show these fields in the summary view, so developers must reference metadata information that includes the refresh rate as shown above.
Data freshness use case:
Let’s look at the digital underwriting in the insurance industry. Replacement cost is the primary concern for homeowners insurance providers. As of only 5 years ago, 60% of homes were undervalued. Given that the algorithms used by insurers to generate replacement cost quotes are often largely comprised of public data, continuous improvement provided by more recently refreshed data platforms will drive poor estimates way down –– making insurers less susceptible to under budgeting for potential replacement costs.
Before starting your data API integration, know:
- the range of data freshness you are signing up for
- how much risk it will create for you [ or alleviate ] for your business
We hope this content has been helpful. We are always excited to learn new ways that innovative companies are using property data insights to better serve their customers. Help us build our next buyer’s guide by sharing in a short survey how you use property data to power your business.