What we do
www.PropertyShark.com aggregates real estate data and listings from hundreds of public and proprietary sources into an easy-to-use yet comprehensive property research website covering a dozen major markets.
Founded in 2003 by real estate investor and programmer Matthew Haines, PropertyShark.com strives to level the playing field by providing real estate professionals, investors and savvy homebuyers with the information transparency essential to evaluate all types of real estate and make informed decisions.
How it all began
In late 2002, Matthew Haines had just finished renovating a 5-family brownstone in Harlem when he came up with a solution to the age old real estate problem of asymmetrical information. For any property, the seller knows the condition of a property but keeps it private. The broker presents properties as trouble-free opportunities. Various government agencies collect important property information, but the fragmented data is both difficult to access and held separately by each agency.
And the buyer? The buyer historically has had little information beyond what they could see with their own eyes or hear from their broker. In particular, buildings in Harlem at this time had a lot of problems, leaving buyers with negative surprises to be discovered only after the purchase, while many other potential buyers stayed cautiously on the sidelines. Potential buyers also had no idea about the actual price that comparable buildings were selling for, as asking prices were often double the actual selling prices and finding official sale data was extremely difficult. It didn’t have to be this way.
Matthew was renting out the apartments in his five-family building but realized that in order to significantly increase the value of his property, the neighborhood would have to get better. He set out to pull together information from a variety of sources to make it easier for people to buy and renovate properties in Harlem. In December 2002, Matthew created the first version of what is today the PropertyShark.com website in his apartment in New York City. He spent New Year’s Eve putting the finishing touches on the site and launched it under the name MatthewHaines.com on January 1st, 2003, followed by NYCpropertyresearch.com later that month.
In February 2003, Charlie Marcus joined the company as the first Partner and created the Foreclosure listings service, attracting immediate coverage by the New York Times. The first two employees were also hired that year. Matthew and Charlie not only ran the site, but actively used it. For example, they were interested in an eight-family brownstone at 149 West 119th Street, but the broker was completely unknowledgeable, so they used the website to figure out the name of the current owner, and ended up buying the building directly from the owner for $450K.
Charlie left the business to pursue other opportunities and in February 2004, Ryan Slack joined the company as the Partner in charge of data acquisition. More employees were hired over the next two years and the site grew in both usage and revenue. Bill Staniford and Brian Scully joined in the spring 2006 as Partners in charge of Sales and Marketing respectively.
In the summer of 2006, Matthew established a second PropertyShark.com office in Cluj, Romania to handle software development and data loading, enabling the website to rapidly expand into seven services in 12 U.S. real estate markets. Ryan left the company in early 2007, and Bill Staniford became CEO, with Matthew remaining as Chairman.
PropertyShark.com now provides Property Reports, Pre-Foreclosure and Foreclosure Listings, Sales Comparables, Maps, Building Photos, homes for sale, and For Lease Listings. The company now has 50 full time employees and has been profitable since day one, growing even during one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history in 2008.