Industry NewsTechnology

New valuation site relies on wisdom of crowds

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A new real estate valuation Web site developed by a former commodities trader will rely on the collective wisdom of users to estimate the value of individual homes and generate price indexes by ZIP code and neighborhood. If enough people participate, would be better at predicting the true market value of properties than sites that rely on public records, comparable sales and other factors to generate estimates using mathematical formulas, said Karim Tahawi, founder and chief executive officer. Tahawi thinks real estate professionals will participate in -- not only providing valuations, but answering questions, blogging and contributing articles to a Wiki -- because the site will help them land clients and generate business through the site. Registered users will be scored on the input they provide to the site, earning them "reputation currency" that can put their profiles at the top of lists generated by visitors seeking experts in a particular ZIP...