CoreLogic's General Manager of Banking and Finance, James Vaughan, writes about the impact home price research tools have on the role of Property Valuers.

An article I recently read, written by co-collaborator Shelley Horton, made me think more about a specific dynamic in property valuation that is now prevalent in Australia. Shelley wrote that the wide range of home price research tools available to consumers is shifting the role of Valuers away from the traditional and skilful art of the valuation itself. Instead, it is taking a Valuers' role towards an expectation management exercise.

It is now possible for a consumer to get a value estimate on pretty much all residential properties in Australia. Our research shows that brokers who proliferate this information convert at a much higher rate than their peers. Likewise, the data we see on lenders digitally engaging their customers in this fashion overwhelmingly vindicates Australians insatiable appetite for information on home values and the consumer expectation that their lender can help them find the property of their dreams.

But Shelley also writes around the challenges presented through value shopping, particularly when the value doesn't meet the borrowers' expectation.

The value of a property can very much depend on the valuation purpose, and with empowered consumers, I would suggest that managing this dynamic becomes even more critical.

Here are some tips based on consistent themes in our experience:

  1. Helping buyers find the right property and get value estimates is an extremely successful way of becoming the lender/broker of choice. The race to do this digitally is heating up.

  2. Make sure your digital engagement tools and customer-facing staff have clear methods of explaining what modelled valuations mean, where they work and where they don't.

  3. Understand your (or the lender's) policy on how to conduct valuations. Showing a value up front and then having to conduct full inspections that may come in with a different number is poor customer experience.

  4. Tap into a "frequently asked questions" process and the available market data to diplomatically manage customers' expectations. As an example, Gold taps in a bathroom renovation may not necessarily impact the value of a home. We all have an innate belief that our stuff is worth more than it is. So, considered, consistent methods to deal with such an emotive topic are very helpful. 

By executing these simple things well, it is possible to deliver a superb customer experience right, from the first interaction on your social media post through calculation tools on your website and consistent experience in the application process.