Homeowners are being warned that their properties may inadvertently end up the Secret Property section of Boomin’s portal.
Boomin’s Secret Property tool lets agents give potential buyers an idea of properties in their desired location that they have valued without revealing the exact details.
These listings will give details including the postal area, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and a couple of key features but not the exact address.
The idea is that a buyer can then get an instant alert if the property comes to market.
But the HomeOwners Alliance has spotted a potential issue with this if a homeowner requests a valuation using Boomin’s online SmartVal tool and lives in an area that is easily identifiable, such as a small road or development.
A blog on the campaign group’s website said: “It’s worth being aware that when you have your house valued by Boomin, another of their features, it will be automatically added as a secret property.
“The exact location of your property won’t be revealed until the property actually comes to market, when we trialled it, our house was identifiable as it’s the only type of its kind on our small cul de sac.
“While in a competitive market these secret properties could be useful for buyers because it gives advance warning of properties that may come up, in reality, they may not ever come to market.
“Someone having their house valued through Boomin may be doing so out of curiosity rather than having a real intention to sell.”
The online review of Boomin also put the platform’s SmartVal tool, and promises of a valuation within 15 minutes, to the test.
The HomeOwners Alliance said one agent responded within 10 minutes, another in 20 minutes and a third didn’t respond.
The review said: “We received follow up phone calls from two agents shortly afterwards to offer in person valuations, which give more accurate valuations and allows the agent to meet us face-to-face.
“Not long after we had our valuation, we spotted our house listed as a secret property with enough details for it to be identified. The following week, we had someone who had registered an interest in it.”
Athena Hubble, managing director of Boomin, said: “SmartVal and Secret Property work hand-in-hand to connect agents with potential customers at an earlier stage in their journey, provide valuation guidance and a litmus test of demand to homeowners, whilst all the time looking to draw more people into the market.
“As the name suggests, all properties featured on Secret Property are indeed secret, with no way of being identified by the limited details provided but customers can if they choose opt out from Secret Property.”
SmartVal is powered in part by The ValPal Network’s valuation tool, owned by Angels Media, publisher of Estate Agent Today.