I'm not sure how folks on Active Rain feel about Home Valuation Widgets, but I thought I would pass on some statistics you might find interesting.
A Home Valuation Widget or AVM (Automated Valuation Model) is the property estimation feature on that website that rhymes with "willow" that literally put that company on the map. Realtor.com has one. So do many other real estate websites.
The opportunity for local brokers and agents is that this AVM technology is now available to them on the hyper-local level. They can offer their own AVM for the specific neighborhoods they are targeting.
Sure, some people might have issues with these home value estimator tools.
The figures are not super-accurate. But they are not meant to be.
Those results are meant to be accepted as quick, rough estimates. They are obviously not CMAs. They are not formal appraisals.
But what we do know about them is that they are very popular for attracting visitors to a website. And more visitors means more leads.
Most of the visitors will just be curious. But there will be a few that might be generally interested in selling their home.
Plus as we all know about sales funnels, today's cold prospect could be a serious hot prospect in six months, a year, etc.
In addition, a lead does not have to be a person looking to buy or sell today. It could be a lukewarm prospect who you just want to persuade to sign up for your mailing list.
And if anything, driving people to your website helps promote your brand name. In a competitive marketplace, brand recognition is absolutely a necessity to stand out in the crowd.
The numbers for Home Valuation Widgets
Check out these statistics:
Looking at search results for Google in January, there were about 27,000 queries that asked, "How much is my home worth?"
There are other ways that people are asking this question. Another popular search term is "What is my house (or home) worth?" There were a combined 20,000 searches in one month for that phrase.
Another variation, "Value of Home?" was asked 6,600 times.
According to one survey, about three-quarters of homeowners said finding out the value of their home is important to them.
About a quarter of them said they went online to find to check the estimated value of their home.
Here's another fact I can personally attest to.
The Automated Valuation Models placed on websites that are customers of the company I work for generated 1,121,000 estimates last year from people visiting client websites.
More than a million requests for estimates.
There's no denying it, home value estimator tools attract people.
The models have gotten better as the software has become more sophisticated at estimating home values. Plus, there is more historical data and sources to draw from including county records, MLS services, tax records, mortgages, etc.
As we all know, at the end of the day, the real value of a home is what someone is willing to pay for it.
Use an AVM to introduce your company
These AVMs are tools are just meant to start a conversation.
Personally, I use a home value estimator for these reasons:
- To see the direction of the marketplace, whether the estimated value of my house and others on my street is going up or down.
- To compare the value of my house to other homes in my neighborhood.
- To compare the estimate on my property with the price of a property I know has recently sold (At that point I feel I have a better grasp on the true value).
Like many others who watch the market, at some point I am going to think seriously about listing my house after I see those numbers.
That's a prime opportunity for an agent to offer a CMA. Or for an agent's phone number to appear to discuss market conditions.
That's lead generation 101 - provide some form of interesting content that catches the attention of prospects.
And to keep that content (or feature) out there so that when prospects are ready to take action, they are on your website and think of contacting you.
As you can imagine, nothing will perk up the ears of a homeowner faster than someone offering to answer this question, "What is my home worth?"
It's a strategy to attract visitors on social media. Or in email blasts and mailings.
Some real estate professionals like Home Valuation Widgets. Some don't.
But there's no denying, many consumers do.