Ever since Zillow introduced the Zestimate in 2006, consumers really have had only one choice if they wanted to get a quick and dirty home value estimate online.
Whatever you think of Zestimates, there’s no doubt that it’s been catnip to consumers. People love them. More importantly, they’ve reached an underserved segment of the online real estate market: sellers.
For awhile, it seemed, automated valuation models (AVMs) were a bit too hot of a hand grenade for many brokers, who abhorred placing them on their websites. Zillow was left to seduce sellers largely alone.
As I’ve written before, I sense a bit of a retreat from that early broker position. These days, many brokers have made significant strides to address this gap and go after sellers online, too.
And so it was in this context that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach came to us with an interesting design challenge…
They wanted 1000watt to design a report screen that would combine the output from not one but three AVMs (from RPR, Zillow and Collateral Analytics). And they wanted to create something that would give the necessary context around that data and, perhaps more importantly, give clear reasons for prospective sellers to engage with their brand.
First, rather than dance around the inaccuracies in the AVM data, we chose to tackle them head-on. We decided we would present all three valuations side by side, visibly branded, so that a consumer would immediately get a sense of the disparity between the machine generated numbers, but also get a sense of exactly who had provided that data.
We also used that positioning and the immediate inconsistency in the numbers as a clear reason for a consumer to contact a Fox & Roach agent to get a professional estimate.
The second part of the challenge is where we started to have some fun. And luckily, Fox & Roach had already brought us some extra building blocks to play with.
They had engaged the startup Buyside to provide them with loads of great buyer data.
We went through all the data elements and cherry-picked the indicators we thought would be most valuable to a consumer. Buyside was able to give us breakdowns of the numbers of buyers and, more importantly, specific insights into buyer demand patterns, right down to the ZIP code level.
From a design perspective, we knew we had to be judicious in how we presented this information so as not to overwhelm the visitor. We used typography and whitespace to really draw attention to the elements we felt were most important.
Finally, we tapped public records data, specifically sold data, to layer in yet one more point of comparison to any property property. So, in addition to seeing what a computer thinks their home is worth and how many buyers are in the market at a given point in time, a seller can see sale prices of nearby properties.
Taken altogether, Fox & Roach now has what we feel is one of the most comprehensive seller engagement tools available. It’s something the brokerage can use as they ramp up for their busy selling season this spring, and also something every one of their agents can use in their own prospecting.
That’s smart thinking.
Special thanks to Steve Storti and Rajeev Sajja at BHHS Fox & Roach for their vision and drive behind this project, and to Charles Williams and his team at Buyside for weaving this whole thing together and making it work.
[Disclosure: 1000watt has performed work for Buyside in the past.]
Side note: The entire 1000watt team will be in Miami Beach this week at the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World conference. If you would like to talk to us about what we could do for your brokerage, please reach out. We’d love to meet you.