Our customers put vacant property back to productive reuse and in their normal day to day operations, confront diverse property data needs. One common use case involves a user that needs data to inform them about the history of a specific property. That data might come from a title report or similar set of historic information on a property’s past owners and persons with legal interest in the property. If we think of this as a metaphor, we might imagine a well that is 3 feet wide and a mile deep. Our user needs to dig in deep, but on a small number of properties.
For a second user, they need data to understand the current market dynamics for a group of properties or properties in a specific area. They may need to make pricing decisions, develop a land-assemblage strategy, or want to understand what percentage of parcels on a block are owned by investor owners or other local government agencies. Their data need is like a lake that is a mile wide and 3 feet deep. The user needs a little bit of data, but on a lot of properties.
Still a third use case involves using data to forecast or predict what is likely to occur with a piece of property in the future. They may want to look upstream and try to understand which of the properties in a particular area is most likely to tip into distress, where their organization will ultimately end up with a need to intervene. Using yet a third metaphor, we might imagine them trying to see upstream to catch properties before them come over the waterfall.
In each of these use cases, the user wants to leverage data to make a strategic decision.
Our customers can apply their practical knowledge and a little bit of the right data to make an informed guess. Context and experience matters a lot. They also have access to lots of data from government sources – data on tax delinquency, utility shutoffs, code violations, and more. Mashing these data elements together and highlighting where elements intersect on specific properties can help focus on the properties most at risk or in the most distress. It’s about applying data strategically. It also helps to not get overwhelmed by collecting data just for the sake of gathering data.
This year, we’ve been targeting a portion of our ePropertyPlus software development to manage these use cases to better serve the needs of our customers. We’re using a combination of third-party data and a bit of practical experience to enhance ePropertyPlus. Our objective is to make it easier for a customer living one of these use cases to get what they need through ePropertyPlus. ePropertyPlus will remain the operational workhorse for managing the flow of property through a redevelopment process. We’re just going to extend its capability to deliver users “just in time data” to make better, more informed strategic acquisition and disposition decisions.