Automated Pricing is Unreliable, and Often Misleading

Listing information on homes offered for today is being syndicated in so many places online that one can easily lose count.

That would be a very good thing if the information was all accurate.

Just out of curiosity I did a search on one of my own listings when it had been on the market for 14 days.

One site’s mobile app showed it having been listed for 155 days – while their desktop showed 556 days. One site named the listing agent from a prior sale as the current listing agent – along with a sadly outdated price. Worse, when I tried to correct the incorrect information on my own listing, I was unable to do so.

Estimated values were up, down, and seldom on target. But why SHOULD we expect these values to be correct?

The computer program can’t see whether the house is finished well or poorly. It can’t see how the house has been maintained – or even if it has broken windows and a tree through the roof. It can’t tell if there’s a panoramic view or if its proximity to schools, shopping, and medical care makes it more attractive.

Automated values can be a starting point. But the only way to estimate the price at which a house will sell is to look at it and compare it point by point to very similar homes which have sold recently in the same neighborhood or one where values are very similar.

Sadly, perhaps due to the extensive and well-placed marketing efforts of online vendors of this information, some homeowners sell out early while others hold out for a mirage. And buyers are sadly disappointed when they learn that the house they just fell in love with on-line actually has a posted list price from a former listing several years ago.

There are many reasons what a buyer should work with an agent from the beginning.

And, maybe it takes one or two tries to find the right match. Associate with an agent early in the process, work together to find more than one choice for best loan programs. Use the app of your choice to do your own home search, and then cross-pollinate the information with your agent. It’s not easy to get 24/7 clean information. It can be a stressful process.

When you have a good agent, all of the hiccups can be addressed early on so you avoid surprises and really focus on making the right choice…fully informed with the latest real data.