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.