Prudential (NW Properties) beat Zillow to the Net

I didn’t write the headline, the Portland Business Journal did on the front page in the Friday, March 3 eddition. Live in the area served by RMLS? Sign up for the Property Investment Profile (pip).

Prudential Northwest Properties saw the potential more than a year ago and launched its own valuation program, Property Investment Profiles, or PIP. It is the largest local residential real estate firm to feature a home valuation tool on its Web site.

The Internet has been a paradise for home hunters. Countless sites help buyers sort through listings. Financial calculators and mortgage brokerages abound. But it has not, until recently, offered much information for the non-seller who just wants to know what a house is worth.

Zillow and its lesser-known competitors are changing that by delivering real property value information to owners.

On PIP, Portland-area homeowners can register to receive home value information at regular intervals — much the way they receive financial statements. The system has enrolled about 10,000 properties and is growing at a rate of 100 a day.

Comparing PIP to a bank statement is apt, said Sean McRae, chief information officer for Prudential Northwest Properties. For most, a home is one of their leading assets. Being able to monitor its presumably rising value gives owners a critical piece of information on which to base investment decisions and home improvement projects.

5 Comments on “Prudential (NW Properties) beat Zillow to the Net

  1. So I was playing around with Zillow.com with my house today. It says my house is worth $330,000. I personally think it is worth about $350,000 so not to bad when they are going off the Tax records that say it is a 3 bedroom home when it is really a 4 bedroom home. It has a nifty function where you can adjust what is wrong so I tried that and adjusted it to 4 bedrooms, it dropped the price by $18,000 to $312,000! I thought that was fun so I decided just for kicks to see what it would be worth at 2 bedrooms, $344,000, 1 bedroom and it becomes $380,000!! My wife is going to be really upset when she comes home to see that I have knocked all the walls out of my house to drive my value up $68,000. I guess I need to update my listing presentation, some people think you may need to put new carpet in, new paint etc, oh no, you need to knock down all your walls.

    Good System.


    Kent Sisk
    Broker, e-PRO, ABR
    Prudential NW Properties

    Direct: 503-906-1416 Cell: 503-358-5127
    Office: 503-292-9393 Fax: 503-526-2816
    Toll Free: 888-358-5127 ksisk@pru-nw.com

  2. It’s disappointing that the article can’t differentiate between a service (Zillow) that let’s anybody use the service without giving their personal information and one (Prudential NW) that is a marketing tool of a real estate firm.

    Perhaps if Prudential’s tool was more easily accessible and open, it wouldn’t have taken a year to hear about it on this scale.

    Plus, the article (and many realtors) are the under the false impression that Zillow merely reflects property tax values. As anybody who’s used Zillow knows, the values are far different that the tax value. For the houses I’m in the middle of selling and buying, once the house details are corrected, it got pretty close to the sales prices.

    It’s fine to debate the accuracy of the different algorithms, but to claim, matter of factly that one is more accurate than the other (which Sean McRae does), by presenting inaccurate information is a bit dangerous.

  3. Both PIP and Zillow are marketing tools. Both are free. There’s a link at the bottom of Zillow for Realtors to sign up. Eventually Zillow will have to ask for information and it will be deceminated to third parties.

    Yes, we want your information so that we can keep in contact with you so that when you decide to buy or sell real estate, you think of us. We don’t charge for the service and when you register, you are giving your information out to one Realtor, not the company and we don’t share it with anyone. You have to go back to Zillow again and again to get information on your property. PIP sends you the information quarterly. It couldn’t do that without somewhere to send it.

    Zillow is in Beta so maybe it will improve as time goes on. They have to find a way to recover the $32 million invested so something will have to change.


  4. I disagree that Zillow will ask for information to be given to third parties. This is what other online home valuation services did, and there’s a reason that Zillow has already surpassed them in a month’s time (it’s open and easy). With the levels of traffic they’re seeing, they’re probably going to be fine with a free service, not asking for personal info, and making money off of advertising.

    Zillow does let you leave an email address to get property updates. I don’t know how frequent these updates are, but I’m sure these kinds of tools will improve in the coming months.

    Also, I’m not saying it’s bad that PIP asks for personal information. As Prudential’s business is getting clients in the door (not selling web ads), it seems sensible to me to get targeted leads. Just that, by doing so, it’s not the same as a truly open service like Zillow.

    One of Zillow’s stated business goals is to work with realtors (and obviously charge realtors to advertise). I heard an interview with one of their guys and they liken the service to that of WebMD; useful to consult, but at the end of the day you still need to go to a doctor.

    So, the realtors that can learn to leverage the Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia type services and add value, will do well.

  5. I think we can agree to disagree. Zillow is still in its infancy so we will have to see how it plans to pay back its investors.

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