The Pros and Cons of AVMs in Real Estate

AVMs have been a integral part of real estate technology since Zillow launched Zestimate.  Controversy seems to follow AVMs wherever they pop up, so we wanted to take a moment to lay out the pros and cons of using an AVM in your real estate business.

What is an AVM?

First things first.  What is an AVM?  AVM stands for “Automated Valuation Model.” It is a program that automatically analyzes various data points to produce an estimate on the current value of a home or property.  Most often, online visitors type in a property address and the engine uses linear and multiple regressions to form an estimate of that property's market value.  Data analyzed can include the age of a home, market values, trends, historical data, property features and more.  

Why do real estate business use AVMs?

Real estate companies often use AVMs to capture the contact information of potential home-sellers.  Home sellers are valuable leads in the real estate industry and the assumption is that people looking to learn the value of a home might want to sell that home.  Many solution providers sell versions of AVM, from Core Logic to Home Junctions.  Companies take those AVMs, put them on their website or page and try to identify people in their area who will likely enter the real estate market.


  • Consumers like them - based on the millions of users who used "Zestimate" enough to make it a household name, this is information real estate consumers care about.  It's a way to give them a sense of their property value without diving too deep in the real estate process.  It's interesting information and its a safe place for many to start the sales process.
  • An AVM attracts valuable leads - Seller leads are coveted for many real estate agents and they can be harder to capture digitally.  The AVM is a proven way to attract more seller leads.
  • AVMs can trigger online visitors to call an agent - If an AVM is positive, it might be an encouraging sign for someone thinking about selling their home.  The AVM might serve as the "tipping point" in making them decide to take action and call an agent for additional support.


  • They are only estimates and can be misleading - It is important to position any AVM as an estimate.  It is not meant to replace more in-depth property valuations like in-home inspections or Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) tools.  It a springboard to encourage online visitors to call an agent, not a replacement.
  • Some areas of the country are more accurate than others - The average Zestimate is off (+/-) by $14,000.  This can go up or down depending on the availability of public records in that area.  
  • They are automated - because they are automated, AVMs don't take into account the human element of real estate.  This may include neighborhood changes that can be intangible to home improvements that aren't reflected in public records.  


myAVM is the new AVM from Onboard.  It compiles our robust data base, including 38 million transactions (nearly 450,000 added monthly), tax assessment and liability information, recent home sales, market insights and more to create an informed, data-driven estimate.

myAVM is interactive, so users can indicate the condition of the property and the value will adjust accordingly.  This helps create a more nuanced experience and reinforce the fact that the AVM is just an estimate. 

Finally, myAVM is inviting.  It presents this important information in pleasing, fun way.  Most AVMs are fairly straightforward - like reading a book report.  myAVM is interactive and modern.  It's

We're hosting a demo of myAVM next Wednesday and would love for you to join us.  Register by clicking this link.  If you have any questions on myAVM or any of the data-driven products at Onboard, click the "Get Started" link and one of our reps will contact you.


Join us Aug 2 for a demo of myAVM

August 2, Brett Friedman and Dean Soukerous will be holding a demo and Q&A for the new myAVM, the only AVM for millennials.  The AVM uses the trusted data Onboard has been aggregating and proving to some of the largest names in real estate for 15 years.  It's created for any size brokerage however, and can be displayed either on an independent web page or directly onto your own website.

myAVM's beautiful design will get you noticed by more home-sellers.  If you are interested in learning more, sign up for the demo here:


The Video for the Developer Platform is Ready to View

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Demo of the new Developer Platform from Onboard Informatics.  Kevin Mattice, Senior Product Manager, and Jason Chen, Business Support Data Analyst reviewed what data is available on the platform, what you can build, how you can access the right data and where to sign up.

It's a great crash course into everything the developer platform provides and a great way to get started with Onboard.  

Enjoy the video and if you have any questions or need more information, reach out to use at support@onboardinformatics.


Onboard Informatics Revolutionizes API Developer Platform for Real Estate

‘Onboard API’ now has more flexible payment options, new datasets, and easier, risk-free access to information on every property and community in the country

NEW YORK – July 10, 2017 – Onboard Informatics today makes it even easier for developers to create next-generation real estate solutions with the relaunch of OnboardAPI

This single gateway enables partners to access a diverse range of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for critical real estate information like property information, value estimates, market trends, points of interest, and key demographics. The platform now also includes property owner and mortgage information. 

The robust APIs, developed at the company’s headquarters in New York, will help partners build, scale and enable tomorrow’s real estate solutions.  To make this as easy as possible, OnboardAPI is also introducing a new pay-for-what-you-use payment option for early developers.  While they continue to offer free access to build solutions, now innovators and entrepreneurs will be able to launch their products without committing to expensive annual contracts.  The pay-for-what-you-use model is based on a fixed cost per API call and allows those starting a new business to ramp up without a heavy upfront investment. 

“We’ve always been proud of our Developer Platform,” said Jonathan Bednarsh, President of Onboard Informatics.  “This relaunch solidifies our commitment to enable our clients and partners along with their developers to innovate and grow their business.  We want to empower the next big thing in real estate– not stand in the way.  OnboardAPI allows us to do just that.”

Partners can easily connect and integrate with four categories of APIs: property, community, points of interest and area.  All data can be cross-referenced for easier search functionality and can be accessed through a single API key.  The broad categories of data include robust datasets like Property Value Estimates, Owner Data, and over 5 million public and private establishments. All data can be linked to premium boundaries by zip code, city, state, neighborhood or residential subdivision. 

“Instead of people spending time aggregating data, OnboardAPI allows them to focus on building their applications while offering a consistent interface to the data,” said Kevin Mattice, Senior Product Manager.  “This platform gives people the flexibility to pull the data they need, instead of sorting through bulk data in different formats.  With the new pricing option, it is now easier than ever to get what you need and only pay for what you use.”

The new OnboardAPI provides a streamlined experience and clear, developer-friendly interactive documentation. This year, the platform has enjoyed double the traffic from 2016 and increased registrations 41%.

If you are interested in finding more about the platform, Onboard is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, July 12 to review the basics.  Register and learn more about the webinar here.   

Key API Categories in OnboardAPI


  • Property Details
  • Recent Home Sales History
  • Recent Home Valuations
  • Owner and Mortgage Details


  • Neighborhood / Metro / Residential Boundaries
  • Core Based Statistical Area
  • Counties in a State
  • WKT and KML formats

Points of Interest

  • Restaurants, Banks, Shopping and More
  •  Search by Address, Lat / Long and Area
  • 14 Business categories
  • 120 lines of business types


  • Crime, Population and Education
  • Weather stats and averages
  • Commute Times
  • Search by Area

If you're interested in learning more about the Developer Platform, join us for a demo this Wednesday, July 12.  Register here.  

Join us Next Wednesday for a Demo of our Developer Platform


The Developer Platform at Onboard Informatics offers unparalleled access to the best data in real estate.  This week we've launched a new look and a new pricing option.  If there was ever a time to learn how to navigate the platform, it is now. The platform has free API keys so you can start without commitment and make sure it has what you need.  If you're building something new or starting a new company, we now have a new pay-for-what-you-use pricing option.   There's never been a better time to learn about the platform. The Platform offers four categories of API data:

  • Community
  • Property
  • Points of Interest
  • Area

Included in these APIs is information on home owners, property valuation estimates, critical community information and boundary data on every property and area in the country.


Join us Wednesday, July 12 as Jason Chen and I walk you through the basics of the platform, including what data is available, how it works, and what you can build.  Get your questions answered and find out what is possible with APIs from Onboard Informatics.

Register by clicking this link: SAVE MY SPOT

If you are not a developer, but are interested in learning more about how data from Onboard Informatics can improve your business, fill out the form below.

We hope you'll join us next Wednesday, but even if you can't make it, register for the demo and we'll send you a free copy of the recording.

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Summer Demo Series at Onboard


This Summer, Onboard is launching so many exciting products, we're hosting a series of demonstrations to help keep you informed.  Here's a rundown of what we're launching and how you can sign up to learn more!  If you have any questions about these products or anything Onboard offers, fill out the form below.

The Developer Platform: Build Better

Wednesday July 12, 2017 | 2:00 PM Eastern 11:00 AM Pacific


The Onboard Developer Platform hosts the four type of APIs Onboard has today: Property, Community, Points of Interest and Data.  More information on everything the platform has can be found here.  July 12, Kevin Mattice, Senior Product Manager and Jason Chen, Business Support Data Analyst will host a demo on what is available in the API and how to use it.  Regardless of what you are building, this demo will make building it easier.

All APIs are free to use as you are getting up and running and will soon have a pay-as-you-go model, so when you start ramping up, you only have to pay for what you use.  With so many exciting initiatives around the developer platform, now is a great time to get more familiar with how to use it.  To sign up for the Demo on July 12, click on this link.  Even if you can't join us, sign up and we will send you a complimentary recording.

A New Way to Access Listings

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 | 2:00 PM Eastern 11:00 AM Pacific


This summer, Onboard is introducing a new way to access MLS listings.  Due to popular demand, we are partnering with a trusted source to offer this valuable content.   During the demonstration in August, we will review what listings are available, how to access them and any rules or restrictions around usage.  If you're looking for a new way to access listings, this demo is for you.

This data set will compliment Onboard's robust data offering, including property and community information.   To sign up for the Demo on August 2, click on this link.


Change the way you See AVMs with the New AVM for Millennials

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 | 2:00 PM Eastern 11:00 AM Pacific

There's a new AVM in town.  milAVM (mil-ay-vee-em) is a revolutionary AVM for the next generation.  It's the easiest way to connect with a whole new type of real estate consumer.  With it's modern, fun design, it will change the way you think about AVMs.  It will be available in a variety of ways for a variety of business types and sizes.

If you have struggled with the expense or "meh" design of AVMs in the past, we encourage you to see something totally new.  This is an AVM your clients will get excited about.    Join us August 23 and we'll run through the AVM in its entirety, how it works and what it can do for your business.  To sign up for the Demo August 23, click on this link.


Introducing the School API from Onboard

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | 2:00 PM Eastern 11:00 AM Pacific

Just in time for back-to-school, we're introducing an easier way to get the valuable school information you need.   The school API will have school information, ratings and reviews at a national level.  It will be offered in an easy, accurate API that will work seamlessly with our other data sets.  Regardless of what you are building, this will be a valuable addition to what you are creating.  School information is incredibly important for many real estate consumers.  Now it will be easier than ever to offer what they are looking for.

To sign up for the Demo September 20, click on this link.

If you have any questions about these products or anything Onboard offers, join us for our demos or fill out the form below.  Thank you for your interest!

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Video: Live Demo of Nav 2.0


Yesterday we hosted a Live Demo and Q&A of our latest product, Neighborhood Navigator 2.0.  I was joined by Brett Friedman, National Director of Sales and Dean Soukeras, Senior Product Manager and creator of Nav 2.0.  We walked through the product, explained the motivation behind building this solution, and fielded some outstanding questions.  We hope you'll take a few minutes to watch the demo (below), but if you don't have the time, here's what was covered. 1.  Nav 2.0 Delivers a 1-2 Punch!

Nav 2.0 is a new iteration of a product Onboard created 10 years ago called Neighborhood Navigator.  Navigator featured the most popular datasets in onboard's collection and made it easy for clients to display that content on their website.  Nav 2.0 includes this feature as well, but the Navigator Bar incorporates directly with your site, which makes for a seamless user experience.  It looks like it's part of your site and is fully responsive, displaying beautifully whether you're viewing it on a desktop or a mobile phone.

Nav 2.0 School screen shot

The second "punch" is the Nurture Bar.  The Nurture Bar offers to email the user a full property report of the home they are reviewing.  This easily allows you to capture more leads on your website.  We've known our content is effective in keeping people on your site longer for years.  Now we're using it to capture their information as well.

2.  Nav 2.0 Continues the Conversation with your Digital Audience

After they receive a property report, they will automatically receive a neighborhood report every other week with updates to things like home value and recent home sales.  This is content geared specifically to each person based on a property they care about, so these emails are read!  Every email features your agent's picture and contact information and when recipients reply to the email, it gets sent directly to you.

All of this requires no work on your part.  Just an easy and effective way to stay in front of your website visitors long after they've left your site.

3.  Nav 2.0 is Easy and Fast to Implement

You can have these two bars on your website or online application in less than a week.

Watch the entire demo below:

For more information on Neighborhood Navigator 2.0, fill out the form below:

White Paper: Generating New Business in Real Estate


In real estate, it can be tough to figure out the best way to generate new business year over year. There is a finite number of movers out there with more companies competing for their share. While we don’t have the magic bullet on how to generate new business in real estate, we wanted to find out what you thought about it. What were you doing to bring in closes? What was working? What wasn’t? This year, we surveyed nearly 400 real estate professionals on how they generate new business in the real estate industry. We discovered a wide range of feedback and insight from brokers, marketers and agents on how they invest their time, money and efforts. We took the findings and created an exclusive white paper on the best ways to generate new real estate business.

Our topics ranged from the type of data people use to how they spend their marketing budget. We also asked about key business concerns for the coming year and beyond. The result is a comprehensive white paper that goes into what it takes to build a real estate business and how different stakeholders within an organization take on this challenge. It's a fascinating, exclusive look into the world of real estate.

Here are some highlights from the paper:

34% of 2016 deals came from the agent's social sphere or network. The next largest portion came from digital leads. Purchased leads were about even with walk-in business and open houses in terms of the percent that actually generated revenue.

The average real estate website gets 2800 visitors per month.

Agents invest in different marketing tactics than the group at large. Their #1 marketing expense is social media marketing followed by branding and drip marketing. Purchasing leads, which ranked very high with the overall group, was fifth on the list in terms of how agents spend their marketing dollars.

To download and read your copy of the entire white paper, fill out the form below.