October 07 - 2021
For commercial real estate appraisers, accurate and up-to-date data can make or break your business. The online data explosion helps streamline this process, however, not all CRE websites are useful for appraisal purposes. Only those that provide detailed comparables data truly improve your client outcomes.
CoStar is a commercial real estate information site with a large property database on assets in the US, Canada, and the UK. The CoStar Suite, which includes CoStar COMPS, is available by paid subscription only. CoStar is one of the most popular online destinations for property data, however, there are several attractive alternatives.
Some reviews and reports claim that CoStar data may lack accuracy or completeness, and access is too costly. Also, other platforms might be superior when it comes to relevant data for appraisers. These might be some reasons to seek Costar alternatives.
When you evaluate any commercial real estate data source, it’s critical to consider how the data is curated and verified. For instance, you might ask, “How many levels of data verification are used? What are they?” If you begin to dig into the details, you’ll discover not all CRE comps sources are equal.
What are some of the top CoStar alternatives? Here’s the list:
4. Real Capital Analytics
CompStak is the CRE industry’s leading crowdsourced, machine learning-powered comps database. One of CompStak’s greatest strengths is that it incorporates multiple levels of data verification, such as:
The CompStak multi-level comps verification process increases the accuracy and value of the data significantly. This is critical for appraisers' credibility and the success of their clients.
CompStak also lets you find properties that are similar to your subject property (“competitive set”). You can compare data such as average rent, location, building class, building size, and other parameters. The public record and internal databases can’t do this and neither can most online services.
More importantly, CompStak gives appraisers access to a unique dataset that cannot be obtained elsewhere: commercial lease comps. For appraisers appraising commercial property using the income approach, understanding what the market pays in rent for similar properties is critical.
Some other areas where CompStak stands out are:
How much does CompStak cost?
For all brokerage and or valuation professionals, the CompStak Exchange is free, which makes it a viable CoStar alternative. This makes a vast amount of essential comps data available to all users. Other commercial real estate professionals need to pay for an Enterprise account. Learn why CompStak Exchange is free.
Trrend is a commercial real estate sale and lease comps software platform available at an affordable price. As a CoStar alternative for appraisers, Trrend is actually a CRM (customer relationship management) package designed for CRE. Comparables database management is one of the features offered.
Trrend enables CRE professionals and firms to generate and manage their own internal comps database. Appraisers can add comps or import comps from legacy systems.
Unlike CompStak, which provides comps that appraisers do not have via crowdsourcing, Trrend only allows appraisers to manage the comps they already have, and does not provide analysis or machine learning verification.
How much does Trrend cost?
The comp database component costs $35 per user per month.
Reonomy is a CRE online data resource that leverages AI and machine learning to locate property opportunities and can be used by appraisers. This CoStar alternative provides information on such as property owner information, portfolio data, transaction, and debt history.
Generating data from a wide range of resources, Reonomy can display up to 100 data points for any given asset, such as renovation details, sales history, opportunity zone status, and tax history. It’s important to remember, however, that AI tools are only as good as the data fed into the algorithm.
Reonomy's data comes almost exclusively from public sources, which means that commercial lease comps are not available. Also, commercial sales comps in non-disclosure states aren’t listed. This means data such as net operating income and cap rates aren’t shown.
How much does Reonomy cost?
Individual accounts start at $49 a month. Advanced packages let you dig into features such as tenant details and advanced filters. Team and enterprise packages are negotiable.
Real Capital Analytics (RCA) provides an extensive record of CRE transactions, developments, property sales, recapitalizations, and refinancings which makes it a viable CoStar alternative. It’s important to understand that RCA is a sales comps resource only (no lease comps). RCA focuses on markets in the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific, and it offers micro (locality) and macro (country) market views.
RCA covers sales transactions in real-time, including closed and pending deals with hands-on feedback from brokers, investors, and other data partners. CRE professionals then conduct a data science-assisted evaluation focused on market pricing, capital flow, and investments.
How much does Real Capital Analytics cost?
Access to the RCA database is only by subscription. RCA is classified as a high-end, costlier solution. RCA transaction data is limited only to sales of over $2.5M which excludes a large majority of transactions.
LoopNet provides US commercial property listings for sale and lease with over 800K current listings. Once independent, LoopNet is owned by CoStar but can be used independently. LoopNet also provides data about recently sold or off-market assets. However, the prices for off-market and sold properties are not shown in the data provided. In other words, while LoopNet offers some useful data for research purposes, it does not provide actual CRE comps.
While some appraisers use listings in the absence of closed transactions (comps), it is not considered a best practice, unless no relevant comps can be obtained.
Since it’s not really an in-depth commercial comp database, appraisers may find LoopNet lacks important data. For example, no rent data or sales prices are shown for closed transactions.
How much does LoopNet cost?
Access to the LoopNet sold and off-market data is free.
42Floors is an intriguing commercial real estate database of millions of listings to search from. The 42Floors website layout is modeled after search engines, and you can search according to market, city, or address data. Other features of this CoStar alternative include direct broker contact and new listing alerts.
42Floors is essentially an aggregator of US commercial properties for sale, lease, sublease, and co-working. The platform also offers a learning center with instructions about leasing, buying, office space budgets, negotiations, space buildout, and office selection processes. The research area shows listing rates, sizes, median rates, and rates by submarket for a wide range of metropolitan areas.
While 42Floors is not a true comps database, it does provide useful information in an easy to use format.
How much does 42floors cost?
For appraisers, the basic database is free. Advanced paid plans include features such as, advanced geographic filters, matching listings notifications, listings curation into surveys, and broker tools for creating listing data for your market.
TotalCommercial.com has been online since 1995, and the platform’s appeal is due to its simple interface and good value. All listings are visible to any visitor, and CRE pros can post any number of listings for $90 per year. Re-validated monthly, the listings are exclusive by licensees.
For appraisers who need simple commercial real estate listing data, TotalCommercial.com works well. The information is divided up state-by-state, and from there you can choose from improved property, vacant land, or leasing options. Price, cap rate, and essential data are all visible for free. To see commission rates, you need a paid membership.
Some of the drawbacks to the platform are the lack of filtering and advanced analytics.
How much does TotalCommercial.com cost?
For appraisers that want access to commission rate data, the cost is $90 a year. All other data is free.
CoreLogic is a provider of commercial property data, analytics, and services to commercial and government clients. This platform has access to a large database, mostly due to its ability to aggregate public transaction data from thousands of US counties.
CoreLogic uses public, contributory, and proprietary data to develop predictive decision analytics. The CoreLogic sales comp component is called RealQuest®, and it provides property reports, MLS data, property valuations, and transaction histories. The CoreLogic platform boasts historical data on 740 million real estate transactions overall.
It’s important for appraisers to understand that comps aren’t the main business of CoreLogic. CoreLogic simply compiles sales records from the public record and resells the information. The platform does not contain non-public information on sales such as cap rates and net income.
How much does CoreLogic cost?
The cost is $3 per sales comparable report. There is a range of paid subscription packages available too.
Reis is now part of Moody’s Analytics, and it is one of the largest commercial property database resources in the US. Through proprietary data and advanced analytics, Reis helps appraisers gain insight into the major US commercial real estate markets.
Reis leverages its advanced data collection methodology which produces transaction profiles. Available data includes price, closing date, buyer, seller, cap rates, and financing terms, and sales comps are updated daily. Lease comp reports include property-level rents, vacancy rates, concessions, operating expenses, and lease terms.
The Reis CRE comparables are provided in PDF format which means custom data sets or filtering is impossible. Unfortunately, the platform does not provide deal by deal lease comps. Instead, via survey method, Reis provides data about a range of rents for properties or submarkets.
How much does Reis cost?
Reis subscription comes with a fee, and depends on the number of users and the type of data access one selects. Reis does not publicize pricing on its website.
CREXi is an online commercial real estate platform that facilitates CRE transactions by bringing the entire process online from listing to closing. Launched in 2016, CREXi has grown into an active commercial property marketplace with over $600B in property value listed and over $100B in property closed.
For appraisers, CREXi sales comps data covers 50 major US metropolitan areas and counting. Their comparables data focuses on sales of retail, multifamily, and office properties. Crexi does not provide lease comparables.
As a newer CRE database, CREXi may be limited compared to other platforms. Also, Crexi is primarily a listings platform.
How much does CREXi Cost?
The free CREXi plan mostly targets expanding property listings reach, however, due diligence documentation is available. The paid pro plan provides market intelligence data and professional level support.