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A Marketplace for Public CMAs

We all know homeowners want to know what their homes are worth, particularly if they are selling or planning to sell soon. We know how they get the answers to that question. They either look at Zillow, ask knowledgeable friends in the industry, get an appraisal, or they contact an agent and request a CMA.

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Image via mainereagent.com

We all know homeowners most definitely do not want to give agents and brokers their contact information to determine what their home is worth (the consumer pain point Zillow identified a decade ago, and built their early audience with). But, as I said thousands of time while I worked there, a Zestimate is a starting point. It’s NOT the same as a CMA by an agent who has visited the home and knows the area. If you want to make real decisions, you should talk to a professional.

We all know a personalized comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine a home’s value.

What if agents/brokers…here’s a shocker…gave homeowners exactly what they want? Instead of homeowner needing to inquire by giving up an email address and/or phone number, what if CMA’s were delivered to owners proactively, with no strings – or contact information – required?

Yes, it’s a leap of faith to do custom work for someone who you’re not sure is serious. But most of you spend some time marketing – why would you not spend some of that producing CMAs, and leaving them online as breadcrumbs back to your website? Homeowners would appreciate you demonstrating real value without requiring anything in return – and I’d bet they’d be more likely to contact you when they are actually ready to sell.

Has anyone taken a real crack at enabling CMA’s to exist publicly? It would be pretty damn interesting for pre-market homes, and Make Me Move listings – and, certainly, for sale by owner listings. Over time, agent’s accuracy could then be measured against selling prices…exactly the same way Zillow’s Zestimates are.

Of course, public CMAs is playing the long game; which I’m guessing is the reason this doesn’t exist.

PS: I bet, if the members of an an entire MLS worked collectively to blanket every home in the area with a custom digital CMA free of charge, they could end up with a compelling consumer offering that just might attract some of those currently browsing home values on Zillow. Any MLS’ have the guts to try it?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • I like it. Similar to Zellba, but for CMA vs. meeting requests. Agree consumers don’t want to provide contact info until *they* are ready to meet an agent. And anything that allows agents to proactively publish content that allows them to demonstrate their chops is going to help them. I’d include a section in the CMA for subjective commentary so agents can distinguish themselves beyond their number.

  • It could be a good idea for a niche agent. Publish CMAs for the tract or subdivision that they specialize in.

    On a larger scale, it’s probably not plausible. Agents make time/money spending decisions based on the likelihood that they’ll pay off, and CMAs aren’t quick/easy. If you used targeted analytics to pick the right homes, i.e. use Rebogateway or something similar and publish CMAs for all houses with public records triggers for likely sales, you might have something. Do the CMAs and drop them on the front porch with links to the website. Overall, the labor necessary to blanket a market with CMAs would require a huge coordination project between many, many agents. That’s not something we do well. 😉

    • “That’s not something we do well.”

      Exactly, it’s hard. Which is why it’s worth doing. If you pull it off, it’s very very defensible. This is the type of gamble/endeavor the industry should be taking on if they truly want to lesson the foothold of the portals. Not rebuilding zillow 10 years later (BPP).

      • BPP with CMAs attached to properties, each linking back to the website of the agent who submitted the CMA?

        • Yes. Build a portal. Focus it initially on “find the value of any home derived by agents on the ground in your local hood” (target that to a small geographic area that has been covered with cmas).

  • It could be a good idea for a niche agent. Publish CMAs for the tract or subdivision that they specialize in.

    On a larger scale, it’s probably not plausible. Agents make time/money spending decisions based on the likelihood that they’ll pay off, and CMAs aren’t quick/easy. If you used targeted analytics to pick the right homes, i.e. use Rebogateway or something similar and publish CMAs for all houses with public records triggers for likely sales, you might have something. Do the CMAs and drop them on the front porch with links to the website. Overall, the labor necessary to blanket a market with CMAs would require a huge coordination project between many, many agents. That’s not something we do well. 😉

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