Less than a year ago, the Supreme Court rejected the Toronto Real Estate Board’s appeal to prevent brokerages and real estate agents from publishing sold data online. Now a whole crop of “proptech” companies have launched.
One that caught our eye recently was HonestDoor. It’s only available in Edmonton at the moment, but it is a free resource for viewing sold data on properties across the city. That means you don’t need a real estate agent to see the last sold price, and it also provides a current value estimate, neighbourhood growth rate, annual property taxes, permit data, and transaction history.
"HonestDoor was born out of my own frustration when searching for properties to buy," says Dan Belostotsky, founder and CEO of HonestDoor, in a release. "It seemed wrong that consumers didn't have access to the information they needed to make informed decisions when this information had been available to Americans for years. Now, Edmontonians can find that information at their leisure and free of any pressure to make quick decisions.”
Whether you’re buying a home, thinking of listing, or just curious about your home’s estimated value (or your neighbour’s), this website seems useful (though you should keep in mind that your neighbours will also be able to see how much you paid for your home...this brings up a whole other issue of privacy, but that’s another blog post). We did some clicking around and it looks like there’s data on commercial properties as well. Some of the properties don’t have data yet, but that could be because the site just launched this week.
HonestDoor has plans to expand into Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto, so it won’t be long before you can find the sold data, transaction history and estimated value of resale homes in which you’re interested.
As more companies like this open up shop, the real estate market will become more and more transparent. This in theory should lead to more steady price growth and a less stressful homebuying experience.
Someone buying a resale home in Ontario today has to submit an offer without any knowledge of competing offers. This puts pressure on the buyer to offer more. This inflates housing prices and causes some people to exceed budgets. There are currently changes proposed for the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, which could make it required or optional for offer details to be available to either other interested parties or the general public.
If it becomes mandatory for agents to share offer details with all other potential buyers and people already have the ability to research past sold data and current estimated value, then bidding wars may become a thing of the past.