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Are Manual Market Surveys Legal?

Are Manual Market Surveys Legal

Occupancy and revenue growth rely on market survey data for fact-based pricing decisions. How you conduct those market surveys makes all the difference. 

Manual market surveys are legal but plagued with error-prone processes and private data sharing liability concerns. The manual, or traditional, way of doing market surveys comes with risks and consequences. Take a look at the repercussions physically entering pricing and availability into private data sharing mediums can have on your business. 

Risks & Consequences of Manual Market Surveys

  • Lawsuits. Price-setting has been a recent topic of discussion among the industry–and the Department of Justice. Several large property management groups have been swept up in massive civil antitrust lawsuits. 
  • Financial. Multifamily businesses face significant fines, costly settlements, and legal defense expenses. 
  • Damaged Reputation. Public exposure can severely harm an organization’s image, leading to loss of trust and financial burden. 
  • Market Distortion. Algorithmic recommendations generated from manually entered private data distort market visibility, which can lead to unsustainable rents and result in market instability. 

Private Data Sharing Mediums

These once-popular pricing algorithms are now raising concerns about the risks and consequences of manual market surveys. A serious question remains: What type of data is being sourced?

If it’s not ethically sourced data, it’s private data. There are several mediums in which manual market surveys produce non-compliant and poor-quality comp insights.

  • Optimized Pricing Tools

Without public data to shore up your Revenue Management Software (RMS), you’re making decisions from private data submitted by users. Market visibility narrows, affecting accuracy and potentially leading to price-fixing liability. 

  • ILS Data

Integrations help push pricing information from an RMS to an ILS. Convenience doesn’t equate to compliance or accuracy. Rents, leases, and availability on most ILSs rely on manually entered data from internal employees or secret shoppers. Not only is there a risk of pricing error, but pricing syndication could put your company in legal jeopardy. 

  • Market Survey Exchanges

Just like price optimization tools, market survey exchanges lack precise comp intelligence and complete market visibility. Users can only swap property details with other users, forfeiting data transparency, accuracy, and compliance. 

Public Data: Transparency, Accuracy, and Compliance 

Setting profitable rents is the linchpin for multifamily revenue growth. But is your data private or public? That determines how transparent, accurate, and compliant your pricing strategies can be to achieve desired results. 

Public data ensures all three, so you can adhere to your company’s processes and keep your organization free from legal risk.  

ApartmentIQ’s modern market survey platform eliminates the need for manual market surveys. Through automation and 100% public data, revenue managers have access to daily, precise comp intelligence direct from the source, supplying a data-rich compilation of nearly every major market in the US. No algorithms, no recommendations, no stress–just data.