This Startup Wades Through Public Data to Give Real Estate Investors An Edge
Matt Einheber ran a title insurance agency for 10 years and knows that finding public-record data often means sorting through a “sea of information that’s very disorganized.”
Then something changed. Cities like Philadelphia began organizing their public data in easier-to-use, machine readable formats. That made a slew of information about properties in the city easier to discover.
So Einheber created Brixsy, a website that offers free information about properties like zoning usage, land size, building size and taxes owed — as well as other information like mortgage information and judgments for a $35 fee.
“Public record data tells you the backstory of a property owner,” he said.
It’s not aimed at the typical homebuyer who’s used to consumer sites like Zillow, Trulia or Realtor. Instead, it’s focused on real estate investors looking to flip houses or buy them before they hit the market. Einheber said sites like Zillow only provide market data — like property history, tax information and days on the market. But Brixsy offers more competitive information for people buying physically or financially distressed homes. A “motivated seller” could mean Aunt Ginny left you a house you don’t want or you’re under financial pressure because the property has liens.
“The competitive advantage of any real estate investor is they’re buying stuff that a motivated seller wants to move and may sell at less than the market value,” said Einheber.
In September 2015, Brixsy released a beta version to “a few hundred” real estate investors and asked for feedback. More than expected signed on as paying customers right away. The site now has users “in the high hundreds” and has seen revenue double every month in last three months, Einheber said.
He offered this quick example of how Brixsy saves real estate investors time: “Here’s a property I’m interested in. I chase down the owner to negotiate, then find out in a month or two that they owe more on the property than it’s worth and the deal falls apart. Now you can find that out in minutes.”
The company is currently self-funded but Einheber plans to hold a funding round in 2016. Scaling the business is a bit tricky since you need to work in markets like Philly with open public data. Einheber said he’s got his eyes on markets in California, Florida, Maryland and Arizona.
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