What is your house worth?
South African homeowners are rushing to get a free property evaluation courtesy of a new online automated valuation website.Jose Rodrigues, MD of Cerno Cubed, the company behind the website, says the Real Estate Evaluation Portal (Reep.co.za) is one of the most popular websites in South Africa.

“We are currently registering a user every two minutes,” says Rodrigues, adding that the site is receiving one million page impressions a month. “We wanted to put the power of free property valuations in the homeowner’s hands.” All a homeowner needs to do is log on to the website and provide their name, ID number and basic contact details.

“We check the ID number against the existing deed registration office information to find the properties that are owned by the user, and then run an automated computer valuation model against the properties,” says Rodrigues.

The valuation model uses historical transfer information and existing market pricing and conditions to calculate a range of valuations for the property. The website then generates a report for the user, which provides high, low and market-valuation estimates, as well as suburb trends and a history of recent sales in the suburb and street.

A homeowner who had used the site said the evaluation he received had undervalued his property by a third, but said it could be because his house was one of the best on the street and the valuation could not take that into account.

Another homeowner who owned two properties said one house value was spot-on (he had recently sold) and the other was 15% higher than what he thought it was worth.

Rodrigues says homeowners can get valuations for properties they do not own, but will have to pay for this service.

Brokers and estate agents can take up a monthly contract -- paying per report or for a monthly subscription -- which allows them to draw as many reports as they want for suburbs or areas in South Africa.

Rodrigues says the income generated by the subscription services allows Cerno to offer homeowners free property valuations.

Article fron: www.mg.co.za