Comparison Site FindTheBest Adds Real Estate Data To Help Home Buyers

FindTheBest, a site where users can find data-driven comparisons of everything from smartphones to colleges, is getting a facelift today, along with a new comparison category — homes.

Alex Rosenberg, who leads the company’s new products team, told me he was initially hesitant about getting involved in the home-buying market, because of all the competition and all the data needed: “We didn’t know if we could do a great job with this topic.” Ultimately, however, he argued that not only do home purchase decisions represent “the right kind of problem we like to solve,” but he saw room for a different kind of product.

“We think we can do it better,” Rosenberg said, because existing sites, “take a very spec-heavy approach. They treat a home like we might treat a smartphone.”

In other words, while things like price, square footage, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms are important, there are also a number of other factors (like the schools, the climate, and whether or not it will be a good investment) that have less to do with the house itself and more with the broader context. Rosenberg said FindTheBest can weave that data together to provide a complete picture of the information you need to make a decision.

Despite the criticism of “spec-heavy” competitors, FindTheBest isn’t exactly holding back on the data – indeed, when Rosenberg gave me a demo, the pages I saw were dense with information. The key, however, is that those numbers and their significance are also translated into plain-English sentences and visualized in charts and graphs.

For example, Rosenberg showed me the listing for a property in Beverly Hills that didn’t just include basic information like price and square footage, but also photos, details about nearby schools, trends in neighborhood home prices, and more.

FindTheBest says that it has partnered with data services CoreLogic and ListHub to pull these listings together, and that it has data on 105 million US homes — which might be for sale, foreclosed, or off-the-market entirely. A lot of the data comes from public documents which will differ from county-to-county, but Rosenberg said that listing he showed me, with all its data, was fairly representative. (Rosenberg added that using the same data to offer a product for renters is “on the roadmap”, too.)

Users can also pull back from individual home listings to look at FindTheBest’s neighborhood profiles. Founder and CEO Kevin O’Connor (who previously founded and led Google-acquired ad company DoubleClick) said this is reflective of the company’s broader approach, as its various datasets become more interconnected. In fact, one of the motivations for today’s broader redesign is to bring all of FindTheBest’s topics together on one website, rather than treating them as separate properties.