10 Real Life #YEG Properties Meet the Zoopraisal™ Value Calculator

There’s been some news recently about the online advertising site Zoocasa releasing a Zillow-like online real estate value calculator for Canadian real estate. To accomplish this, Zoocasa went and bought access to Brookfield’s Centra system. They do a lot of appraisals, primarily in eastern Canada, and I’ve heard they gave Zoocasa access to 4-5 million records. That’s not a bad snapshot on first glance.

However, I’ve always said that appraisals are but one opinion of the value of a piece of real estate. Even within an appraisal they use 2-3 different ways of calculating values with differing results. I’ve also seen appraisals of the same property in the same condition differ by 10-15%.

To help cut through some of the BS, I’m going to run some recent Edmonton sales through Zoocasa and share the results. First, Addy Saeed had a good interview with Don Campbell that’s worth watching.

Don has a great quote in there. Don’t fall in love with a number. That’s always good advice for sellers. The value of your property is what a buyer and seller can agree on.

On to the data!

To do this quick test I pulled the last 10 Edmonton single family home sales from the MLS®. Because of delays in various offices enterting the data the sold dates are between October 28, 2011 and November 2, 2011 (today). Prices varied between $200,000 and $435,000. I placed no limits on the data except for being a single family home, so there’s two duplexes in the mix as well. One property (#3) didn’t have a lot size available because tax asessment data wasn’t available yet. Zoocasa wants you to:

  • enter the address
  • select from a limited number of property types
  • number of bedrooms
  • number of bathrooms
  • living area
  • lot size
  • year built
It’ll give area ballparks for most of those numbers and it’s reasonably close, except in new areas or where the property type isn’t usual for the area (e.g. the only bungalow on a block of 2-story homes).
Here’s a summary chart for you graphy-people. When I look at the raw data there’s some things that I think are worth noting:
  • On average the Zoopraisal is 2% ($8,300) higher than the sold price
  • 6 properties zoo-priced higher than sold, 4 priced lower
  • In once case (#7) the  Zoopraisal under-priced the property by $202,571 or 42% of the actual sold price
  • Of the under-appraised properties, 3 of the 4 were off by >10% (i.e. when it’s wrong it’s really wrong)
  • Of the over-appraised properties most were overvalued by $20-30,000

There’s no doubt it’s an interesting tool with limited data and it’s still only one tool. As a REALTOR® I’m still a little concerned that people will start focusing on a number that’s been created using faulty or limited data, making my job and the lives of buyer and seller alike much more stressful. That said, having another tool is a good thing for the future of the market.

If you want a more accurate value, give me a shout for a CMA.

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  • That was entertaining!
    Just tried it on my house, built in 85 SW Edmonton, three houses within two blocks 490-550k for sale. Tells me it’s worth 935k!!!

  • Great Summary…This tool will get better with time and become more accurate as it gets used more. Really this isn’t much different than a guy who wants to sell his house for $30K more than his house is worth because his neighbor just got that for his. It’s still about managing his expectations. Ultimately a licensed REALTOR® is best positioned to do that.

  • Great synopsis Chris… Thanks for posting this and using my video!