The news media alerts us that Newton-Wellesley Hospital may begin using computers to diagnose patients.
Yujin Robotics of Korea is developing a robot nanny.
These new technologies are no more frightening than letting a computer determine the price of your most valued investment, your home.
And this is what many people are doing. With 20 years of downtown Boston Real Estate experience, I can’t tell you how often I have been told by someone wanting to sell their home in Boston, that they priced the house out on Trulia or Zillow. I have often been told by people buying homes in Boston that they have decided their offer based upon prices of comparable homes on these or similar sites.
As a professional Boston Realtor, I feel it is very important to warn future Boston home buyers and sellers of the dangers of allowing a computer program to determine the value of their most important investment. As much as I would not want a computer for a doctor or a robot to take care of my children, I would not want a statistical data program to tell me what number I should pay for my home.
The problem with these sites is that they only have the data which is entered into multiple listing services or public records, the most basic information. No Boston Realtor would ever tell you that square footage, location, lot size, parking spaces, etc. are not important factors when determining the value of a home. However, that is only half the story.
A computer cannot see inside your home. A computer cannot tell if the neighbor’s condominium had a funny floor plan or if the bedroom windows face a brick wall. A computer cannot tell that the owner was a reputable decorator who created the most beautiful kitchen in all of Boston. A cannot tell you that the empty nester market in Boston is trending towards the SOWA District or that a new development is going up on Harrison Avenue which will increase all the values in the South End. A computer cannot tell you that Spring is the best time to list on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay because the magnolias are in bloom.
These are things that only a very human, very knowledgeable Boston Realtor can evaluate for you.
Buying and selling homes in Boston, as in most of the world, is becoming more and more of a computer-generated business. This is okay! As a Realtor, I love that now I can map properties for me clients in seconds, send them multiple photos and virtual tours of the homes to help them maximize their time. But, when it comes to the intricate practice of pricing our home to sell or getting the best price possible on your new Boston condominium, only an experiences, intelligent, knowledgeable and local agent is human enough to do this.