Brendan Fairbanks, Founder and CEO, Perchwell
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

In Focus: Synthesizing data to get smarter about listings 

MLS platform Perchwell was born out of CEO Brendan Fairbanks' desire to create "a more quantitative approach to understanding the market."

April 14, 2024
5 minutes

Data is everywhere in the real estate world. Agents and brokers rely on data to keep their listings up to date, and to help their clients understand all the factors that go into pricing a home. Because property information is often spread across multiple sources, however, it can be challenging to pull together all those data points.  

Perchwell — a residential real estate MLS and analytics platform — was founded to solve this problem, said CEO Brendan Fairbanks. 

"I wanted to build a product that allows for a more quantitative approach to understanding the market, that agents could then use with their clients to help them get to better decisions," Fairbanks said. 

Perchwell was that product, and the company has since partnered with leading real estate brokerages such as Christie's International Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Warburg, as well as organizations like the Real Estate Board of New York and the California Regional MLS.

The company's latest feature update is the industry's first RESO-certified "add/edit" API. The functionality is fundamental to MLS systems' most critical task — listing creation — and Fairbanks described it as a "value-add solution" that gives agents and brokers more real-time data about the properties they sell. 

Fairbanks spoke to Real Estate News about Perchwell's evolution and the ways MLS data is changing. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

How did Perchwell take shape?

I got very interested in the real estate market after I graduated college, which was around the time of the Great Financial Crisis. At first, it was kind of a hobby, and I quickly found that there was a very limited number of resources that could help me wrap my head around the market at a high level. So, I started writing software to aggregate different pieces of data like listing information, geospatial data, transactional data, zoning information and so on.

I looked to buy a place and I worked with an agent who was super-smart, and we were doing all this manual work in spreadsheets. That process led to the idea that became Perchwell.

You've secured some major partnerships — how did that come about, and what do those partnerships mean for agents?

We started working with a group of agents in New York City, and their brokerages came back to us and said they wanted all of their agents to use it if we were able to add backend listing management capabilities, which we did. In delivering that product, we basically built a better API layer and database. 

Then we pitched the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) about the benefits of our product, and that's how that partnership started. We use a RESO-based web API for our product.

Perchwell introduced the industry's first end-to-end RESO add/edit API. Why is this move the right one to make now?

It is more standardized across all markets compared to a Real Estate Transaction Standards-based structure, which requires a painstaking process to incorporate into a new market. RESO also makes it much easier to offer plug-and-play APIs for new products, which ultimately gives higher-quality data and products to agents and brokers. 

How is Perchwell working to ensure that listings have accurate information? 

We work with an MLS to get their business rules and their business logic into place whenever we spin them up. That includes their logic for adding listings of a certain property type and how they handle different statuses. Everything is fully localized and customized to that MLS. 

We also ingest a lot of third-party data and marry them up with listing information. We're sourcing property records, tax records, transaction records, and we add those to Perchwell. That way we can populate it with the latest property-level information whenever someone inputs a new listing.

CRMLS recently introduced Perchwell to its members, citing real-time data visualizations as a factor in choosing your platform. Why is this technology so valuable?

Our data can be personalized down to the individual level. You can look at what kind of premium a property in one location with certain amenities will cost you, versus another with a different profile. Every agent or consumer is focused on a niche part of the market. 

It may not be helpful to look at statistics across all of the New York or Los Angeles market when you're looking for a very specific location and amenity profile.

What's next for Perchwell in 2024 and beyond?

The main thing we are working on right now is our deployment with CRMLS, which is in beta-testing, and we'll be rolling that out more broadly later this year. We're also working on a partnership with another MLS that we plan to announce in the first half of this year. 

From our perspective, we're really just getting started and are excited to work with MLSs and agents across the country.

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