Imagine this; there’s a new Realtor in town. They haven’t sold any homes yet, so they are trying to drum up a bit of business. While you are sipping your morning coffee you happen to notice that this real estate newbie appears to have scrawled some numbers on your window. And on your neighbour’s windows. What the heck is he doing?
Running outside to ask him (while also dialling the local police station, this is, after all, vandalism) what’s going on, he explains he was just offering everyone in the neighbourhood his expert opinion on the value of their homes.
Obviously, this person is nuts, but it does get you thinking. “Hmm, I always knew Fred and Joan’s house was worth less than mine! With that terrible deck, it had to be. But there’s no way The Smith’s house is worth more than mine. Unless maybe they did some major remodelling inside. Might need to invite myself over for coffee and see”
Then you stop again. How can this ‘agent’ possibly know either? He hasn’t been in your house. Or Fred’s. Or the Smiths’. He’s just guessing, based on the exterior and the online data about sales in the neighbourhood. And he wasn’t even that good at it, because looking closer these estimates are all over the place. What a joker, you chuckle to yourself as the police load him up in the back of the car.
All of this is, of course, a ludicrous idea. However, more and more people are trusting an electronic version of this loony Realtor to predict the value of their home all the time. These generic home valuation sites have been hugely popular in the US for years and they are now making big inroads into Canada as well.
On the face of it, we understand the temptation to use them. They are quick and easy – all you have to do is plug in your address, you don’t have to talk to anyone – and they must have a ton of fancy algorithms and AI thingies that help the bot come up with that final figure, right?
Wrong. These online real estate valuation bots are all basically painting a number on your window too, without ever having gone inside, and without ever having sold a house. And they’re definitely not experts in your local market. And so the figure they give you is nothing more than a not very educated guess. And basing an eventual asking price on it should you decide to sell could prove disastrous.
You Still Need a Human Realtor
Everything is going digital. But not everything should be, and that includes getting an accurate valuation of your home. Yes, it might take a few minutes longer, but rather than relying on the very questionable opinions of a bot on a random website contact a real, live human Realtor.
As human Realtors, we can actually come to your home (with your permission of course) to view it inside and out to get a good sense of what its unique selling points are. And what might need to be fixed.
We are also local market experts, so we intimately understand the impact your neighbourhood in general – and the current sales climate there – is likely to have on the value of your property. Plus, we are much nicer than those bots and certainly more successful!