Canadian Zillow Still Not Available for Canadian Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

In: Real Estate News|Toronto Real Estate

26 Oct 2011

Today the Globe and Mail reported that Zoocasa has agreed to post home appraisal values from Centract Settlement Services, an appraisal company owned by Brookfield Residential Property Services (who are also connected to Royal Lepage). The front page of the Report on Business shows a picture of Realtor.ca, Zoocasa, and Zillow. Although the article does not directly compare these sites, the association of these sites being anywhere close to each other, could not be farther from reality.

Zillow is an American website started by ex Microsoft employees. It exists because the numerous American real estate associations are very independent and not amalgamated into a National association (like they are in Canada). The local real estate boards have agreed to sell their data to Zillow.com. This model does not exist is Canada because all our real estate boards belong to a National Association (CREA) that owns and operates MLS.ca/Realtor.ca. CREA own the data and do a good job at managing, marketing, and displaying the data to the public. Of course certain data is not available to the Canadian public (days on the market, previous selling prices). Buyers and Sellers need to contact a Real Estate agent for that data. Zillion is different from anything in Canada because the American Real Estate structure is different from the Canadian structure.

The first question that comes to mind when reading the new data available on Zoocasa is “how popular is Zoocasa”? Has anyone seen this company pop up in top search results for “real estate“, “Homes for sale“? PropertySold.ca does show up number one because we have tens of thousands of visitors per day coming to our website. Websites without traffic typically do not show up number 1 on Google. Is anyone able to tell me how many visitors that Zoocasa gets per day? Zoocasa posts some real estate listings listed by real estate agents. Why would someone go to Zoocasa to “perhaps” find their next home, when 99.9% of the agent listing are available on MLS.ca/Realtor.ca.

Using Centract’s appraisal values could turn out to be a big disadvantage to home sellers. The article in the Globe points out that the appraisals will not include upgrades done to the home. In which case, where is the value in the appraisal? Everyone knows that most home buyers invest in their property when they move in. So, if they now go to sell and advertise on Zoocasa, will the appraisal value be less than that actual value? What seller wants to have a lower value right in their listing page? Appraisal values are no substitute for real, actual, sold, values. These are only available through an agent who can access MLS.

So is it a big deal that there are appraisal values (that might not reflect an accurate value of an home) available on a website (that has an unknown amount of visitors)? I think you know our thoughts.

There are no 2nd bests in real estate. Either you show up at the top of real estate searches, or you don’t. Either you have accurate data, or you don’t. What buyer and seller wants to rely on inaccurate data when selling their largest investment?

Unfortunately the best solution is still to contact a real estate agent and find out exactly how much the homes in the neighbourhood have recently sold for. The good news is that, now that CREA has soften it’s listing rules, sellers can find an agent that will list a home for a few hundred dollars on MLS.ca/Realtor.ca. You can use this discount listing agent to obtain all the sold info you need. Even buyers can find an agent that offers a % of the Buyer’s Commission back. So there are ways to save money when you buy or sell a home. They just don’t involve going to website with an unknown amount of visitors offering appraised values.

PropertySold.ca

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For all of your real estate questions please call PropertySold.ca Inc. today at:
1-855-900-SOLD and speak to a customer service representative. We have licensed real estate professionals on staff ready to take your call right now. List your property for sale by owner today. New! We now accept real estate listings from real estate agents and new home builders & developers. More Information »

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