We challenge NAB and ANZ

by Gina Kantzas and Mal James

with contributions from Kathy Russell and Randall Smith

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

We had another incredibly positive week in real estate with 5 buy sells totalling over $20million. Our opinion is the market is in an interesting phase. It is trying to work out which way it is going, now there is a fair bit of stock on offer.


It does have some depth for quality A-graders.


However, for those homes with less than perfect PPP’s, it’s fair to say, results are now a tad patchy.


Today we have a really good article by Randall and Kathy on Bones. We were going to show you specifically how Multi-list is working but we’ve held that over, so as we can focus on the “fight” for your trust in “value/price” advice, between agents/valuers and the big banks.


With the masks off we have broken our being positive in Covid rule (just this week) and decided on a bit of stoush!


And it’s not so much an attack on the banks, more so a defence of our position as agents and valuers.


This is not Bank Bashing across the board – overall they have done a great job in Covid and thank you.


Today’s article is more to defend our industry – agents and valuers’ roles in real estate.


The expertise of valuing and pricing, which some view as slightly different and others the same, are so important in real estate.


Banks are taking us on in the “property expert” stakes with computers and brokers and ad executives and the public may be starting to think banks are a better bet than agents with regards to values.


Serial underquoting agents are not helping our industry’s credibility, and this is opening up this marketing opportunity for the banks. So, in some ways fair enough, we actually deserve the competition.


However, as we stand today, we challenge banks back as the property value experts.


The banks are actually poorer – a lot poorer at property report value advice than many agents and valuers within our real estate industry, and so that is the point of this article – to show buyers and sellers where you actually stand with regards to value and pricing opinions.


Hope you enjoy it.

The fight for your trust in value.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, then chances are you will have seen the offer of a free “valuation or pricing” from ANZ, NAB or one of the other banks on the internet or TV.


You are pointed to their website; you type in the address and out spits a number purporting to be what your home is really worth.


Being banks you may be beginning to think these reports with their “value/price” opinions are well founded and probably more reliable than us pesky buy sell estate agents.


The “valuations/pricing” the banks provide, do not use best practice valuation or real estate agent pricing methods.


AND as you will see today in the case of NAB, they specifically rule out using the information contained in the estimate of value they provide, should you use their free valuations to buy and then apply to NAB for a loan.


So, if these valuations are not valuations, what are they?


We maintain they are nothing more than part of a scatter gun marketing ploy and if you throw enough numbers out there, then you will connect with a certain percentage of buyers and sellers.


However, it’s how they do this, with their implied claims and promises that may not only BS (their words), but it borders on or crosses the line of ……….


We at James Buy Sell think:

  • Both ANZ and NAB do not make visits to all the homes prior to putting the value/price number out and this is not valuation best practise.
  • Appear to have no human oversight on every home before publishing the figure and despite the fact it may be considered “just marketing”, there are proven downsides for some buyers and sellers to this – a la the agent under/overquoting scandals and the proven damage caused, which was also initially argued by our industry as “just marketing”.
  • That in our opinion there is currently no algorithm or AVM that can consistently, more accurately predict an Inner Melbourne home price or value in say the $2m to $5m range than a local, experienced, trained and ethical buyer or seller agent or valuer, following best practise valuation and estate agency pricing methods.

We acknowledge that we used to make public some value/price thoughts in Q-Rates and James Ratings, but we stopped. Now all our $ thoughts are in-house for clients only. We only give value or price thoughts to clients where we have been to the home, considered the home’s characteristics and condition, looked at comparable sales, the market in general and other things such as title, overlays, contract etc AND PEER REVIEWED internally – this is regarded as part of valuation/pricing best practice, but we digress.


Last week we asked you to imagine the outcry or even prosecutions if we at James as buyer or seller agents consistently produced and published the sort of “valuations” that ANZ/NAB are publicly producing for homebuyers.


We showed you at 75 Coppin St Malvern East, that it wasn’t agent BS as these ANZ ads below imply, it was indeed ANZ who was full of the BS (to use ANZ lingo).

How did the ANZ REALas prediction of $3,138,000 stand up?

ANZ’s above claim is to remain up to date responding to market changes.


ANZ’s Realas estimate of $3,138,000 remained during the listed home sale of 75 Coppin, despite being $750,000 to $1,000,000 below the agents advertised SOI range on the property (advertised on REA and Domain for over a month at $3,900,000 to $4,200,000).


Ultimately the home sold ($5,000,000) well in excess of the agents’ range.


Could you make an argument that the bank’s estimate artificially suppressed some buyer demand as implied in the above video advertisement and the seller should be unhappy or is that too much of a stretch? Would you be happy if you were the owner and your home loan was with ANZ?


Could you argue that ANZ are holding themselves out as experts and this is some form of underquoting or is that being too harsh?


Or could you say they simply did not do what they said they would do and stay up to date?



This week here are NAB's claims on their Property Reports.



  1. Would you think that NAB was giving you an expert valuation?


  1. Would you expect the figure to be – something to use in borrowing money from NAB?


  1. Would you expect the figure to come with some level of care? – eg the home has been visited, or the condition of the property checked or market nuances taken into consideration when arriving at a figure.


We think the answers should be Yes, Yes and Yes. The NAB thinks No, No and No.

In the NAB fine print, NAB says the figure is not information NAB would use in valuing a home.


We quote from NAB.


“Any estimated value or estimated value range contained in this publication will not be used by NAB in valuing the property.”


And how do they come to this mystery non figure they would never use in home valuing – which NAB calls an AVM.


We quote NAB’s small print again.


(AVM Estimate) is a computer generated, …….. (ii) without the physical inspection of the subject property; (iii) without taking into account any market conditions (including building, planning, or economic), and/or (iv) without identifying observable features or risks (including adverse environmental issues, state of repair, improvements, renovations, aesthetics, views or aspect) which may, together or separately, affect the value………


What actually is the point, efficacy or relevance of this figure?

You be the judge on ANZ and NAB “value” advertising for homebuyers.


We at James Buy Sell and we within the real estate industry are far from perfect, but we are better than the BS (to use the words of ANZ) coming from the banks on valuations and property market predictions right now.


C’mon ANZ and NAB, you are the ones making the claims about agents’ BS and expert values/prices.


We at James Buy Sell think ever so politely, it’s time you either put up or shut up.


So, take up the challenge please or alternatively pull your BS off the internet, thank you.

There is no such thing as a perfect house that suits every buyer and lifestyle.  A dream home to one buyer may be a nightmare for another. There are, however, common elements to all good properties. 


Often, when inspecting a home, agents and designers will comment on the “bones” of the home.  Does it have good bones or bad bones?  Whilst this can be a vague throw away line, suggesting the home could be easily renovated, good bones are relevant to all homes. New or old.


It can be confusing for a buyer to see beyond decoration, to filter out the styling and see the bones that lay beneath.  Is it a good home with the potential to be a great home? Or is it a home that will never feel quite right? Even worse, is it a money pit requiring a major re-build?  A house with good bones may not look great upon inspection, but it may be a diamond in the rough.


The bones of a home encompass not only the construction materials and quality but also the room proportions, natural light and floor plan.


The construction should be of sound quality, requiring no major costly repairs. This should be confirmed by a professional building inspector who will look beneath the surface. Fancy styling and a lick of paint may be hiding a multitude of sins.


Ideally, the floor plan will be logical with good flow, zoning and ample natural light. Rooms should feel spacious, with good proportions that allow easy furniture placement and movement through the space.  An overly large space can feel cold and be difficult to furnish.  A tight space can feel awkward and cramped.


Ultimately a house with good bones will stand the test of time and will adapt easily to whoever makes it their home.

Multi-list works. Next week we'll show you how.

Footnote: 31 Were Street Brighton sold this week via James Multi-list.


  • James Buy Sell value estimate and that of 3 independent agents (Barb Gregory of Marshall White, Jen Dwyer of Belle and Stefan Whiting of Buxton) several months ago: $4.2m to $4.5m.
  • Statement of Information (been on the internet a month): $4.2m to $4.5m
  • Sold Price within the range $4.2m to $4.5m at a 4 bidder volcano auction on Tuesday.


NAB’s expert property report on values as of this week below.