Real estate tech firm Tribus Group and real estate data company Realtors Property Resource have partnered to offer Tribus’ brokerage clients a free website widget that displays automated valuation estimates for homes and ZIP codes.
RPR, a National Association of Realtors subsidiary, offers an AVM (automated valuation model) known as an “RVM” (Realtor Valuation Model) as part of the analytics products it sells to third parties such as lenders, government agencies and secondary mortgage market investors. RPR’s national property database is available to all Realtors, but is not public-facing. Recently, the company developed an “RPR Broker AVM,” however, for use on brokers’ — but not individual agents’ — public websites.
“RPR developed the RPR Broker AVM in response to a request from members of NAR’s Large Residential Firms RES (Real Estate Services) Advisory Group,” RPR CEO Dale Ross said in a statement.
“As a dues-funded Realtor member benefit, RPR was created to provide advanced technology solutions to agents and brokers in order to help them be more efficient in serving clients and customers.”
Tribus is the first tech company to integrate RPR’s AVM widget, and Prudential Texas Properties is the first of Tribus’ broker clients to launch the widget.
The broker AVM combines comparable real estate data, sales history, available property appraisal information and localized economic factors that affect the housing market in order to generate an estimated value for a home and ZIP code, as well as how those values have changed over the last month and year.
”Our entire team at Tribus was very excited to implement this free offering for brokers,” said Eric Stegemann, Tribus’ director of strategy, in a statement.
“We’re pleased to start rolling it out to them over the coming weeks to help them better compete with the syndication sites.”
Publicly displayed automated valuations have been somewhat controversial in the industry. In announcing the creation of the widget, RPR said that estimated property values “have proven to be an attractive source of real estate consumer engagement.” But real estate portal giant Zillow’s “Zestimates,” for instance, have irked some real estate pros whose clients challenge them on listing prices or suggested prices based upon Zillow’s estimates.
RPR’s AVMs may not escape that ire, given that their estimates can also be off by a big margin from listing prices. For instance, the widget estimates that a five-bedroom Highland Park, Texas, home listed for $3.25 million on PruTexas.com is worth $2.545 million — a $705,000 difference. Of note is that the AVMs appear at the very bottom of listing pages, after a very long list of property details, a satellite map, comparable listings, school scores and a contact form.
Some big brokers are pushing NAR to require multiple listing services to provide them with data feeds they can use to build AVMs and sell them to financial institutions — a proposed policy to that effect is being debated this week at NAR’s Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo.
Should they succeed, such brokers could become competitors to RPR itself, given that its business model depends on selling analytics based on MLS data — including automated valuations — to third parties. RPR has cost NAR tens of millions of dollars and generated little revenue.