• Posted 06/21/16

The Toronto Star: Online real estate tools offer data the listings don't include...they include such things as neighbourhood fence disputes and local school performance

David Silverberg has spent a career watching realtors jockey for distinction, and buyers and sellers scramble for listings.

As an agent, Silverberg said, "It was easy to be informed, but not well informed."

There was a lot missing from MLS listings.

“I went on a mission to fill in all the gaps that I saw that could be filled to make an agent more worthwhile and to put some additional value to what they provide," he said.

Silverberg and co-founder Terry Moshenberg have mined the city's data and other sources and collected it in to comprehensive, customized Toronto real estate reports.

For $99, their company, Hometrics, will research and publish in a matter of minutes, an address-specific report that includes details ranging from neighbourhood fence disputes to local school performance.

Buyers also get an email with a link to their report so they can access it via their phone.

"We're pulling out data most people wouldn't even know is available," said Silverberg, 52.

Hometrics reports are typically about 80 pages long and they rank neighbourhoods according to demographics, environmental factors — even the tree canopy.

High, low and average property sales information is there, along with the neighbourhood's sales history.

There are also fence disputes and construction permits, crime reports and noise, graffiti, zoning violations. It also has restaurants that have been flagged on the city's Dine Safe reports for health violations.

It will tell you what the neighbours are doing to improve their properties, from new kitchens to driveways, fences and swimming pools.

"If there are a lot of building permits, it may signify that the neighbourhood is good to buy and sell because there's a lot of people looking to do work on that street," said Moshenberg, 53.

As deep a data dive as Hometrics provides, Silverberg says the reports don't replace realtors.

"What I certainly don't want to say is that I'm capable of pricing a home. That's the task of the agent," said Silverberg, 52, who admits he didn't expect to be pulling all-nighters and sleeping on his office couch in his middle age.

"All this does is add value to their service."

Realtors have already paid to sponsor 90 of the 140 Hometrics Toronto neighbourhood profiles so they can provide reports to their clients. But consumers can also access the information directly.

By Tess Kalinowski, Real Estate Reporter