CoStar Group

www.costar.com

CoStar Group Reviews

Updated January 28, 2015
Updated January 28, 2015
345 Reviews
2.6
345 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
CoStar Group President, CEO, and Director Andrew C. Florance
Andrew C. Florance
232 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • decent benefits, decent location, so-so entry level exposure to commercial real estate (in 25 reviews)

  • Company provides good benefits, a good way to break into the commercial real estate marketplace (in 27 reviews)


Cons
  • The main problem really is that upper management are like headless chickens (in 33 reviews)

  • High employee turnover, including in senior management and corporate officers (in 21 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Research Associate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate I in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Research Associate I in San Diego, CA

    I worked at CoStar Group full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Free snacks in the break room. The hot chocolate is probably the best thing about this job.

    The research managers are awesome. They are very down to earth and understand the job sucks.

    Work life balance is great. You punch in and out every day. So once you punch out after 8 hours you leave and completely forget about the job until the next day when you punch back in.

    Cons

    Incredibly boring work. You are a glorified telemarketer. I honestly do not understand how some people have been researchers for 10 plus years.

    A lot of people complain about the metrics, but it really is not very hard to meet them if you're working. The day to day job gets very old very fast.

    The directors run around like chicken with their heads cut off. They throw random assignments out and constantly change what needs to be done. You end up doing the same project 5 times because they change what they want done every week.

    Pay is pretty bad for requiring a college degree. A lot of people leave because they can find entry level jobs paying a lot more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Before assigning project, make sure you know what you want done. Also if you're going to require a college degree pay the employees more.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Reasonable, but you're a robot at the end of the day

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate II in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Associate II in Washington, DC

    I have been working at CoStar Group full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    You get free gym membership, lots of great snacks and drinks, a comfortable work environment (as comfortable as cube life can be) and your peers are generally young and always up for happy hour. The work culture is fast paced and the days go by quite fast when you're busy with special projects. When you start, you'll have a terrible portfolio until you work your way up to more clients; then it is more rewarding and you will actually have work to do.

    Cons

    You're a robot. You sit at your desk and input data and work from spreadsheet hell. If your'e the creative type, your brain will slowly rot working here. It is very fast paced, but special projects kill your numbers and then they expect you to be fabulous regardless of that. Numbers number numbers. The pay is not great. If you live in DC, good luck on their HOURLY rate. Also be prepared for big brother watching your every move. They'll track you if you leave for a 10 minute cig break. It's super corporate and HR expects everyone to be perfect little angels. Too bad that's incredibly wishful thinking.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management is all over the board. Some are really fine entrepreneurs while others could care less. To those who care a bit TOO much, stop worrying about a punch out that was 2 minutes over 8 hours and worry about more important things.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Would not recommend to middle to experienced professionals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at CoStar Group

    Pros

    They do provide a great office environment. Gym, benefits, healthy snacks. There is also a great team dynamic here - assisting each other to get through the tougher days. The company is growing and hopefully, there is room for growth down the line - it just isn't evident for anyone in middle management at this point. Technology is top notch and while the company is incredibly budget-conscious, they are able to provide you with the technology necessary to complete your job.

    Cons

    Upper management has no communication with middle management. Senior executives are so intent on growing the company, they're failing to see the every day deficiencies and the wonderful talent walking out the door because of the blatant disrespect they receive. From incredibly low pay to lack of bonuses and incentives - employees are not credited for the endless hours they put in each week (60+). The way employees are treated is something I have not seen before (middle management) and it's impossible to continue to expand unless the foundation is strong and sustainable. Incredibly difficult to take a day off, let alone any vacation. Employees that have been part of the company for over six (6) months are denied vacation requests as there's not enough manpower or coverage to allow them to take time off. There's absolutely no work-life balance in a variety of departments - by increasing your staffing requirements, you're able to treat your current employees with respect and allow them to enjoy life outside of the office.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Middle management cannot be taken for granted. They see the deficiencies on a daily basis and are ready to provide feedback. Allow your employees to take vacation or day's off if they have the time accumulated. Provide them with a better work life balance by employing more staff to give them the break they so desperately need. And, don't be afraid to compensate your staff for what they're worth.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Inside Sales

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at CoStar Group full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great people to work with for the most part, relatively fun atmosphere.

    Cons

    To many changes within the company that aren't to the benefit of the customers and employees most of the time. No longer a focus on hiring the best talent, is turning into a burn and churn type of position.

    Pay is not good despite what your told in the interview process. They tell you people are making lots of money, but it is a select few. They changed the ways people can make money because apparently they we were making to much.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Manage employees individually, and pay top talent what they deserve. If they can bring in recurring revenues to the company, then they deserve to be paid more.

    Hire from within and stop bringing people from the outside and paying them more, while employees who start from the bottom and work their way up are offered minimal salary increases.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Some Opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at CoStar Group

    Pros

    CoStar invests a lot into training their new hires. You will get a solid month of training before hitting the floor. Some continued training is offered as well for those interested. Swanky HQ office, really nice. Free healthy snacks are great! People there are pretty awesome; mostly a young, energetic workforce.

    Cons

    Bonuses are quite limited, even though you will get something each quarter. Upward mobility is rather limited as most managers are hired externally now. Metrics can be strict, but if you work hard, you are generally recognized and rewarded.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more attention on getting accurate data rather than on call volumes. It really does matter if CoStar's clients can use the information in the database. You need to be sure Researchers understand that, while a high call volume is how you get a lot of good information, it's not the only way to enhance the database. A lower number of high VALUE calls are much better than a lot of calls with poor content.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    CoStar Group Response

    Jan 22, 2015

    We have heard similar opinions from researchers before regarding call volume, and we have moved away from measuring call volume as a key metric in the past year. While phone conversations are the ... More

  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Squirrelly Procedures, Inconsistent Rules, and Arbitrary Rewards

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at CoStar Group

    Pros

    Good benefits.

    Young coworkers - you can make some great friends. However, the new hires are increasingly serious, all-business, nerdy types.

    Free food to sustain you and supplement your meager earnings.

    Cons

    I worked at CoStar for over 2 years. There have been a number of changes over that time, but they were largely misguided. The company is more interested in improving their outside appearance and increasing ratings on glass door than they are in enhancing the satisfaction of actual employees. Don't be fooled.

    While the number of promotions skyrocketed over the past year or so, the process lacked transparency and more than half of the researchers in the DC office were promoted on the same day. Clearly, this round of promotions was in the works for awhile, but was kept under the radar before and after the decisions were made. Those that weren't promoted had no idea that a bunch of their coworkers were, and when it finally came to light, employees who had been left out were given no explanation. It was TOTALLY ARBITRARY. The "metrics" that everyone complains about have become so unclear that they can be used in any which way to back up a promotion or lack there of.

    If you didn't get promoted, it was because of your "metrics". But supposedly there was less emphasis on the metrics at this point and they were no longer the sole indicator of performance? Even if you accept the "metrics" as a valid justification, the metrics had changed so many times by then that no one even knew what they were. Not surprisingly, when I asked my manager to show me something more substantial that indicated my sub-par numbers, like a report or something tangible, he/she could not produce anything. Promotions and bonuses are not based on quality of work, amount of work, or even metric numbers - managers do whatever they want and use the phantom metrics to back up their decision either way.

    The company claims to have opened the lines of communication to show the employees "that their opinions matter." That's a joke. Keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself if you want to keep your job. Supposedly managers are now receiving training to develop their relationships and rapport with their employees so "both are able to continue growing in their work." That's a bigger joke. Passive aggressive e-mails are the name of the game. HR likes to play the "neutral" card when it comes to office conflicts and employee concerns, but in reality they are always on the side of management. The name "human resources" is ironic - they are more "inhumane" than "human" and only resources if you're looking to get fired.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want loyal employees, you should stop promoting RA's fresh out of training and leave the most seasoned researchers in the dust. You can only learn so much through training; you have to actually work with the database and learn as you go. This is the nature of the job. Researchers who have been at CoStar longer have had more time to acquire job-specific knowledge. They've seen more, they know more. Value them and reward them accordingly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    A legal monopoly, but more like Standard Oil than Google...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at CoStar Group full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Public transportation vouchers - Something like $150 dollars per month. Unequivocally generous.

    Learn about commercial real estate - Your first 2 weeks, regardless of position, is spent in a crash course on commercial real estate. The head of the teaching program was great, and I learned a significant amount, starting as I did with relatively little knowledge of commercial real estate. By interacting with CRE professionals you become reasonably well-versed in the language of real estate, and extremely well-versed at apologizing.

    Extensive array of healthy snacks provided.

    Sometimes you would develop relationships with big players in the market, and have enriching conversations about listing strategies and market goings-on. Also, hunting down Comp confirmations from unwilling parties could sometimes make you feel half-private investigator/half-debt collection agency. Mildly exciting.

    Cons

    The entire research department (which constitutes the majority of the company) is based on a set of seemingly arbitrary metrics that are frequently changed from on-high and with no input from the researchers themselves. This culture leads to a lot of grumbling, a lot of wheel-spinning, and thus some superficial team-bonding. But not a lot of good market data.

    The company teaches you enough to do your job functions (speak to people for 2 minute intervals, use databases, that's about it actually), but not enough to do much critical thinking. Nor do they want you to: once you know how to critically think about real estate, you are probably looking for a better company.

    The Sales division of this company is really despicable! I cannot tell you how many times I had to calm down a single-property owner who was conned into buying the most basic (useless) product offered, which sales associates must sell before they are trusted with real products like CoStar or LoopNet. "Yes ma'am, I am afraid you literally have no choice but to wait until your contract is up. In the meantime I will still be calling you once a month anyways. Yes, that means you're paying for absolutely nothing. Well, my two minutes are up, until next time!"

    Paid Time Off. You earn one vacation day (8 hours) per month worked (starting after the first month I believe). That is, unless the city public transportation and roads are shut down for snow, in which case you need to sacrifice a vacation day because you cannot get to work.

    Awful data and half-baked strategies. This is the most disheartening part of working at CoStar. I spent about half the time that I worked there on a team project to clean up the data in a market that had formerly been mishandled by researchers in a different office (one with tenured employees in a non- phone call recording state. Therefore much less quality control). Day in and day out, we were trying to quietly clean up blatantly inaccurate data that we had been selling to subscribers for years. The work really defined our team and made us feel like we were doing something important vs simply meeting the arbitrary call metrics. One day, the powers-that-be decided to put the market back with the research office that had screwed it up so bad in the first place. Our team was dissolved and scattered to the wind, months of our hard work for naught. It was a more poignant ode to bureaucratic inefficiency than Catch-22, The Ugly American, and Office Space rolled into one.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm glad for the experience, as I now work in real estate, and the exposure was very valuable to me. And I wouldn't feel so strongly if I didn't believe that CoStar was only a few steps away from being an actually pleasant place to work.

    Let employees feel like they are building towards something: accurate market data, happy subscribers, and a career in commercial real estate. Stop playing simon says and calling it strategy.

    Stop predatory and dishonest sales tactics. Earn back the trust of your mostly-resentful subscriber base. And while you're at it, send some apology letters to the poor folks you've deceived into purchasing (that basic product that you start sales associates on. I'm being nice by not using the product's name).

    Oh, and reading this site, I've never heard of a company that does so much to combat negative reviews, but so little to address the fundamental problems that the customers (and employees) have. You look desperate to potential employees, which stands in ironically stark contrast to the arrogance you display towards your customers (potential and existing).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Not the worst, but far from good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at CoStar Group full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of smart people working for the company.
    Good benefits package.
    They compensate fairly.

    Cons

    Disorganized.
    Divided. People rarely socialize outside of their group/team and the CEO would never speak with you as if you're both just people who carry value.
    Office culture is quiet, awkward and uninviting.
    There is no work from home program and there is a strict line drawn between work and home life. Fun and enjoyment are not encouraged at work at any time, but taking your work home is also not encouraged.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer a work from home program for employees that can accomplish the same tasks at home as they can at work. Employees won't need to take off work for minor appointments and they can still be micromanaged based on their accomplishments if that's a desire. If not, then find a way to encourage a more enjoyable office culture so that people will enjoy being required to come in to work every day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Call-centre...despite what they say

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Glasgow, Scotland (UK)
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Glasgow, Scotland (UK)

    I worked at CoStar Group

    Pros

    Central Location, decent pay for what you do, staff are friendly.

    Cons

    It's a call centre, high volume calls, target driven, micromanaged, autocratic feel, lack of transparency

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    link in with HR and ask about the reasons why people are leaving

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    CoStar Group Response

    Jan 22, 2015

    It’s true that the Research Associate position does require a lot of phone calls, but it’s a necessary part of the role to develop a strong relationship with key commercial real estate players. If we ... More

  11.  

    ALL A LIE

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Advertising Consultant
    Former Employee - Advertising Consultant

    I worked at CoStar Group

    Pros

    I can say I worked for a BIG CORPORATE company
    They have great give-a-ways to clients

    Cons

    LIE, LIE, LIE
    They sell you this bridge but it's all a LIE (all depends on your Regional) and my Regional HANDED things to his "FAVORITE REPS" Reps who worked for him elsewhere, that he hired and brought over to Apartments.com. He LOVED to "train me" while talking on speaker phone from his truck! Costar is ALWAYS making changes, they ALWAYS have a vision, they ALWAYS want to take over someone, something AND be the BEST.....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice, TRAIN your managers before you make them MANAGERS. Just because they were a manager elsewhere does NOT mean they are fit to be a manager at Apartments.com/CoStar!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    CoStar Group Response

    Jan 22, 2015

    Thank you for your feedback, and I’m sorry you didn’t have a pleasant experience working for CoStar Group. You’re right that a managing role at another company does not fully equip someone to manage ... More

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