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Will CoStar Be Around Much Longer?

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Stephen J. Vertin MAI

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Illinois
I am wondering if CoStar is going under. Given the company has yet to turn a profit and their policy of late I am wondering if they will be around very much longer. About 2 weeks ago I got an e-mail stating they were charging $35.00 just to look and see if there maybe comparables in the area. This service was free for years.

I think $35.00 is a bit much since it only cost $40.00 per month for AI’s LoopNet with full access to comps. I am thinking of signing up for LoopNet today. I will give it a try for the month.

Furthermore, I have found numerous errors in CoStar’s data. IMHO, CoStar has gone off the deep end. They are to expensive for the crummy data they provide. Has anyone else tried LoopNet?


Steve Vertin
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Steven,

Don't get me started on COMPS. I've been using LoopNet for about a year now and I recently signed up for their pay-site, AppraiserNet. It works pretty well, although I find the search functions and constant waiting for the web-based downloads to be cumbersome. I don't know how well their AI database is going to work out. So far, there isn't any appraiser-originated data in my area and I really don't know that there ever will be. Loopnet does make rental surveys a bit easier and sometimes the sales show up, depending on what you're appraising and where you're working. I definitely consider it a worthwhile monthly data fee.

But I wouldn't trade Loopnet for COMPS just yet. I reckon I still need both. I've been a COMPS customer for 12 years now and I agree, both their quantity and quality of data have declined. In my area, they don't even report on transactions below $200,000, and they catch less than half of the transactions below $400,000. Data will show up in the local MLS for price ranges of all types that doesn't make it into COMPS. Sometimes, COMPS data also shows up in the MLS, but guess which source has more info and more accurate descriptions? No, its not the COMPS data. I'm doing a 10-unit apartment building right now. Half of my data shows up in the local MLS, half in COMPS. Only a couple comparables for this property show up in both and the MLS data is a little more complete. If all the commercial brokers would participate in the local MLS and/or LoopNet, COMPS would probably get wiped out here, and their corporate headquarters are based here.


When COMPS changed over from sending out hard copies of reports on a monthly basis to sending out CD-ROMs, I would have assumed the pricing would have gone down because of the dramatic decrease in their production and distribution costs; not so. The price actually went up. Then, their internet-only service reduced their costs even further, but still the prices increased and now they're adding new fees for non-subscription area data counts. I've done my share of yelling and screaiming about this for a long time now. We are in the 'information age', a time when the availability of data is greater, and the costs of acquiring it and distributing it to client bases should be lower, not higher.

Marshall and Swift recently sent out a survey trying to guage demand for an RE sales and lease database, I guess to compete with COMPS. If it comes out, I'd try it. I have fond memories of TRW's DAMAR on-line database. It was an excellent supplemental database and seemed to keep COMPS on its toes until they apparently were bought out by COMPS. It would seem that a little competition is good for everyone. But these internet companies don't seem to think so.


George Hatch
 
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