Perhaps the best example of metadata being imposed upon an unwary public is the “Zillow Zestimate”. Zillow.com is a real estate website that aggregates public information and boldly publishes the value of your personal property while quietly disclaiming that invalidity of their own valuation. In all fairness, RedFin.com and Trulia.com also provide similarly structured valuations of your most valuable asset with no physical verification. The slightest misrepresentation could cost the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars for which there is absolutely no recourse.
According to Homevisor.com: if your house (or a house you are looking to buy) has a Zestimate of $300,000 – there is almost a 25% chance that the house will sell for less than $240,000 or more than $360,000. That is a pretty wide margin of error.
There must be a way to Zertify Zilliow Zestimates on blockchain
The result is that responsible homeowners who have conscientiously maintained and improved their property at great expense of time and money may be punished in a market while those who neglected their properties may be overly rewarded. Neither the buyer nor the seller has any way of inspecting comparable homes used by Zillow. This causes market distortion that affects the buyer, the seller, and the community at large.
Zillow, Trulia, and RedFin all scan from public data sources. The problem is that there is no trusted public ledger where owners can register valuable improvements and amenities that may dramatically impact the value – and which lower the risk of owning a particular property. If such a trusted ledger did exist, it is certain that data scrapers such as Zillow, Trulia, and RedFin would be happy to scrape the data at no marginal cost.
An organization such as the National Society of Professional Engineers has sufficient authority to provide a blockchain based ledger where a licensed professional engineer could physically review major components of a property including structural, plumbing, electrical, envelope, energy efficiency, HVAC, Solar Installations, mold, corrosion, critical slope, tree liabilities, view amenities, etc., and formulate an annual cost of ownership statement (ACOS) over a standard period of time. The licensed engineer will register the ACOS, along with recent remodeling permits filed with the city, on the NSPE blockchain where it may be accessed by Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, MLS, banks, insurance, and the public, etc.
The ACOS and the Professional Engineering condition assessment could be provided to owners for a flat fee or subscription fee with a ROI greater than 10:1. This means that viability threshold for engineering assessment is defined as adding more than 10,000 dollars to the average sales price of the property for every 1000 dollars that the homeowner spends on the engineering report. Owners that don’t meet this minimum threshold would not benefit from an ACOS and could not be listed on the NSPE Registry.
Size of market:
Assuming that there are about 100 million private homes in the US. The percentage of under-valued homes that would benefit from a 10:1 PE registry are characterized at over +1 standard deviation on a bell curve distribution and higher. This is roughly equivalent to 14% of 100 million, or approximately 14 million properties. If each of those spends a minimum of $1000 dollars for assessments, the value of the market would exceed $1.4B dollars. According to Homevisor.com estimates, the market would bear an engineering cost of $6000 yielding a $60,000 ROI, or roughly a $10B dollar market.
Such a blockchain would safeguard the health and welfare of people and property while increasing the visibility of professional engineers as a public financial institution with real financial impact. The NSPE data would reduce volatility in banking and insurance ledgers so that pricing becomes more efficient. Real Estate professionals, renovation contractors, and real estate appraisers would also benefit from the registry by delivering the right product to the right client at the right time. It will increase the demand for a retail professional engineering sector to defend the technical best interest of society. It will signal high integrity rather than low integrity to the preventive maintenance market. Most importantly, the homeowners who maintain their property and those who will buy those properties benefit from fair market assessment of property values at a far greater utility than the typical point-of-sale home inspection.
- The ideas presented here are the sole creation of the author and not meant to reflect the intentions or interests of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Zillow, or any other referenced entity.
- Zertify takes its name from a portmanteau between the word certify and the statistical z-test https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-test