Monday, November 24, 2014, 12:06pm

William Raveis Real Estate, the largest family-owned brokerage in Connecticut, has launched a new “RAVestimate” feature on its website which provides estimated home values. It is the first major broker to offer an automated valuation feature to compete with Zillow’s “Zestimate,” and founder Bill Raveis says his brokerage’s offering easily outclasses the portals’.

“We’d been seeing the Zillow estimate get a lot of traction in the marketplace, but the data was inaccurate. So we’ve been saying, how do we make something that’s more accurate, and actually provide more value?” Raveis told The Commercial Record.

Two years in the making, the new RAVestimate combines MLS data and town records, as well as sophisticated regression analysis, to not only provide an estimated current value for a particular home, but also forecast pricing trends in a given neighborhood. The feature is available for all the markets in which Fairfield-based Raveis has offices, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York.

In addition to displaying an estimated price, the RAVestimate tool also displays comparable sales and neighborhood sales trends. Homeowners who desire more in-depth detail can sign up for a neighborhood newsletter or speak to an agent to get a market value report for their property.

“The RAVestimate is a more accurate profile than the Zestimate. And plus we have something that Zestimate doesn’t have: we have our agents, boots on the ground, to give you a more accurate market value if you need it. So the combination of more accuracy, technology, combined with the human element, the agent, trumps the Zestimate,” said Raveis.

Describing his own agents as “ecstatic” to finally have tool to counter homeowners swayed by the Zestimate, Raveis said he was confident that his brokerage’s offering would not suffer from the same inaccuracy problems critics have said plague the Zestimate.

“Nothing’s perfect in this world, but you try to get as good as you can, and I think what we have here is the best the industry has to offer,” he said.