Michael Bruce says the new SmartVal automated valuation system he is this month introducing on Boomin will be the most accurate anywhere in the marketplace.
“Existing automated valuation systems are notoriously inaccurate. It’s very difficult to estimate the value of the house, you don’t know the condition it’s been left in, or how it’s been amended or extended. So whilst these digital tools have got better - they’ve certainly become more accurate - they’re still not totally accurate” he says in an interview with Estate Agent Today.
SmartVal, free to Boomin agents from later this month, uses a mix of technology, data and also an agent adding in their own knowledge in real time online - with a strict deadline of 15 minutes to respond to the customer online.
Once the SmartVal is sent to the customer the agent will gain access to the full contact details, enabling a follow-up contact.
He says the new system will address the two diverse impacts which current automated valuations have on the marketplace.
“On one end of the scale you have customers who’ve done a digital valuation and then get an agent out who has to get [the vendor] down from the high digital valuation. And then you’ve got others who then get the wrong [lower than expected] answer and don’t even engage with the market” he says.
Bruce has told EAT how he believes agents should approach the new tool.
“Whenever you’re available, whenever you’re ready, just log on and say you’re available for SmartVal. The world can then see that when a postcode is put in there are, say, 10 agents available to give SmartVals.
“We can then get a SmartVal back to a customer within 15 minutes. The agent then starts to build a relationship, with all the customer’s information, and they can build and grow that relationship to get in the [vendor’s] living room to get that property on the market.
“At the same time the vendor is getting a more accurate valuation, and you’re not finding the agent isn’t having to turn up and spend 20 minutes trying to bring them down, and on the other side you’re not finding that they don’t come into the marketplace.”
Some critics of the new tool have left comments on trade press articles saying the 15 minutes deadline is unreasonably short for agents, especially given their current heavy workload.
Bruce says: “We were able to engage agents in the process of creating it. What we found was the optimal time to keep the customer engaged in a way that means the agent gets the best possible conversion, and we landed on 15 minutes. But we’ve built the platform to be really flexible so if over time it needs to be flexed one way or there other, we can do it.”
While the tool is new to agents now, Boomin says there will be a marketing campaign beginning next month to bring it to the attention of the public, so it can be tested amongst potential sellers.
Bruce - who says he believes SmartVal to be a game changer that will help his fledgling portal differentiate itself from Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket - says: “We are leading the way, providing our agent partners with new innovations that seek to draw more people into the property market, create new business opportunities for agents and provide them with a competitive advantage.
“Boomin has the marketing firepower to support this latest innovation, which will feature prominently in a significant marketing campaign. Another example of Boomin making good things happen.”