Online Estate Agency Disciple? Here’s What One Algorithm Had To Say.

Online Estate Agency Disciple? Here’s What One Algorithm Had To Say.

Online Estate Agency Disciple? Here’s What One Algorithm Had To Say.

Pittsburgh University developed an algorithm. To decide which hospital patients were most at risk of dying from pneumonia.

Shed loads of data uploaded.  Buttons pressed.  The algorithm got to work.

Here’s the stunning conclusion:

Patients with asthma were at low-risk of dying from pneumonia!

The software couldn’t explain this bizarre conclusion.

Researchers, however, could.

” Asthmatics are at a much greater risk (of dying from pneumonia). So doctors send them straight to intensive care.  Which increases their chances of survival.  The algorithm blundered because it knew nothing beyond the data.”   Robert Matthews – Aston University Prof. of Science.

Closer to home, another piece caught my eye.

This from Craig Vile, Director of the Valpal Network.  Valpal is the property valuation tool used by many estate agencies to offer instant online property valuation.

“Providing instant online valuations on your website has arguably become an industry standard.  As you will know by now, instant online valuation acts as a traffic generator.  They’re not there to provide an actual valuation.  That’s for you to do at the market appraisal stage.”

“They’re not there to provide an actual valuation.”

It’s no surprise to me, or to the thousands of estate agents that sign up for this flimsy marketing tool.  But it might be for the unsuspecting homeowner.

Is it accurate?  Is it worthwhile? It doesn’t matter.

Its true purpose is to harvest your data.  And signify to the estate agency that you are ‘a warm lead’.

Algorithms have their place. Efficiently smoothing the mundane tasks in estate agency.  But not for a valuation.

It’s too important for that.

Online estate agencies suggest they provide a service equal to that of the high street.  An algorithm came up with the bizarre pneumonia/asthmatic conclusion.  It’s an algorithm that online estate agencies use to value your home.

It’s an algorithm that your ever-so-accommodating online estate agency uses.  Because they have no evidence other than historical data.

No evidence of local market trends in the past three months. For better, or for worse.


No evidence of underlying factors that might increase/decrease the true worth.

Backing onto a major busy road.  Heavily wooded area that blocks sunlight from a south-facing garden.  A property requiring more than cosmetic update.


Teplio, HouseSimple, eMoov and other online estate agency disruptors have long proclaimed the advantages hi-tech brings.

It is what differentiates them.  And to which the public remain steadfastly indifferent.

But, if Pittsburgh University can get their medical data in such a twist?  Online estate agencies, with their imprecise software, aren’t worth even the price of a phone call.

For the record, even though this instant online valuation tool is available, agencies don’t have to use it.

The uptake of this instant gratification tool by estate agents is dispiriting.  It encourges the easy option.

For both agency and vendor.

The agency does it because it doesn’t have to push itself.  To produce something worthwhile and inspiring.

Something that benefits a vendor.

The vendor, because the promise of an instant online valuation should be the very least of their concerns.

Getting the best estate agency rings that particular fence.

Even though it produces ‘results’ for an agency.  By way of ‘warm leads’,

As Jay Acunzo says:

“The ends absolutely do not justify the means when those means are mean. Or tone-deaf. Or spammy. Or abhorrent.”

“It’s not there to provide an actual valuation”.   

Well, why didn’t they just say that.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica aren’t the only ones interested in your personal data.

Do yourself a favour.  Do the estate agencies a favour.  Replace the instant with the slow.

Take your time to research the estate agency options.  Make them accountable to something other than an algorithm.

Thanks as always for reading:)

If you have any questions, drop an email to: [email protected]

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