Zoocasa announces Zoopraisal, a FREE property valuation service.

Ever wonder what your home is worth today?  Or that house down the street?   How about a friend or neighbor’s house?   Finding out would normally involve contacting a realtor for their professional opinion or hiring a professional appraisal.

Well now you can find out on your own.  The release of Zoopraisal, by Zoocasa.com, may have caused some controversy with appraisers but the service is here and it’s getting a lot of attention.

Zoocasa has entered into an agreement with Centract Settlement Services, an appraisal service company that has administered millions of appraisals across Canada.  Here’s a direct quote from Zoocasa.com website “Zoopraisal™ is Zoocasa’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula, powered by Centract. It’s a starting point in determining a home’s price.”  (Clearly, Zoopraisal is not guaranteeing the value.  It’s just an estimate…the service provides a range of value.)

Zoocasa.com is an online service that provides access to homes that are listed for sale, online.   The goal of the site is to provide a place where buyers can start their search using the internet.   In my opinion, Zoopraisal will only enhance this service.   This can’t replace a good realtor that’s out there looking to match your needs when buying a house.  I think there are still too many intangibles that come into play.  Local knowledge is invaluable and is something that can’t be uploaded online.

But if we look to the U.S., we’ll find similar sites such as Zillow.com.   This powerful site tells you everything from the selling price to whether it’s being foreclosed, to the Zillow’s estimated value, the price per sq foot, etc.   They also offer mortgage quotes, realtor referrals, etc.   These info sites make their money by charging those that want to advertise or participate on their site.

There is a question as to whether all this information should be made public and whether this infringes on one’s right to privacy.  The debate will continue… One thing is for sure, with pressure from the Competition Bureau on the Canadian Real Estate Association to make it easier to access the MLS, we are definitely headed in a new direction.    There is more access to data.   This is not a bad thing.   More data is better.  It helps to make an informed decision.   Professionals like Realtors, Appraisers and Mortgage Brokers should not be worried.  Their expertise will always be needed.

Watch for more of these sites to pop-up soon in Canada.

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