Valuers must embrace tech to raise their game

How ready are real estate valuers to embrace the use of technology to raise their game?

Not quite, if a press statement issued on April 6 by the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) is anything to go by.

SISV said in the statement that valuations derived from the use of information technology were not considered valuations, in accordance with its standards and practising guidelines.

It further warned that all those who relied on computer-generated valuations "do so at their own risk", as these could not replace the "rigorous process of inspection, data collation, validation, verification and analysis" undertaken by professional valuers.

While it is understandable that SISV would want to shield its members from the sort of digital disruption that has upended so many other businesses, it should not do so at the expense of productivity gains and efficiency that technology can deliver, not to mention lower costs for consumers.

Automated valuation models have long been accepted in countries such as the United States and Australia.

Left on its own, SISV is unlikely to let go of its grip on the valuation part of the real estate industry.

Perhaps it is time for the Government, which wants to build a Smart Nation, to weigh in.

Pan Junwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Valuers must embrace tech to raise their game'. Print Edition | Subscribe