Even though the first artificial intelligence AI programs begin to emerge in the 1950s, this technology had been the exclusive realm of computer scientists and leading-edge researchers. Today, however, it seems like we can’t talk about any subject or field wherein AI applications are not being discussed for their growing influence.
That includes the real estate sector. Those who don’t well understand AI can’t imagine how “intelligent machines” can have anything to do with buying a selling property. However, AI is doing nothing less than “transforming the real estate industry,” said Tara Mastroeni, a real estate writer for top media venues like Forbes and Business Insider.
We’ll forgo a tutorial on what exactly AI is here so that we can go right to describing key areas where AI is being used in real estate today.
Helping Agents Get More Clients
Real estate agents spend hours sifting through hundreds of e-mail inquiries and evaluating scads of people who contact via their websites and social media presence. The vast majority of these people are “unqualified” prospects who are likely to bog a busy agent down by wasting their time with half-baked intentions.
Now AI apps can be applied to these thousands of data points to pinpoint which prospects have the highest potential to convert into profitable clients.
Transforming Home/Property Research
Once again, webpages have been revolutionary in helping people searching for property. They offer an embarrassment of riches to choose from in just hours. Getting the same amount of data took days or weeks before the web. However, now that websites have proliferated to an enormous degree, wading through all that data means navigating a bottomless quagmire of information.
Here again, it’s AI to the rescue. AI apps can sift through gigantic amounts of relevant data posted across the internet and winnow out key data points finely attuned to the need of the property searcher. It makes real estate commerce vastly more efficient across the board.
Easier Property Valuation
This is an area where the “predictive” capability of AI comes into play. For example, an AI-driven “valuation model” can gather data from public records, an area’s transportation infrastructure, school district ratings, crime rate statistics, and much more — and use all of that to quickly nail down a value for a property in that area.
Technology is disrupting many industries. Even a sector as old as real estate is being affected. Here are some innovative real estate technologies that are changing the scene.
New Buy and Selling Platforms
Platforms like Redfin and Zillow are emerging. They’re making it easier for consumers to directly sell their house on their own, without an agent. “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) was previously difficult to do but the advent of the internet changed things. Real estate has very high fees, typically 5-6% of the selling price. These new platforms can save sellers a lot of money.
Sometimes potential buyers are in a faraway city. Or they’re unavailable during an open house. Either way, they’d benefit from a virtual walkthrough of the property. This is easy to do with some low-cost apps available.
With the technology available today, you can stage a property by digitally adding furniture. You can also create realistic photos even before construction starts.
Drones have already found a couple of use-cases in society. For real estate, they can be used for aerial photography. A flyby would be a great way to get a feel for a neighborhood.
As of now, it’s difficult to move a drone around a tiny, enclosed place. This means drones aren’t good for exploring the interior of a house.
Currently, you can plugin to the MLS (or another real estate database) that you want a studio or a four-bedroom house. In the future though, AI will be able to make recommendations based on your values, personality traits, and preferences.
Chatbots are rapidly improving every year. They’ll be able to answer questions from customers. Eventually, they’ll be able to accompany clients to real estate showings. An agent might be able to take on more clients or lower their fees.
Along with AI, big data will assist in making personalized recommendations. The more data a company has, the better it can make data-driven decisions.
Traditional real estate has been turned upside down by the introduction of virtual technology that assists home and commercial buyers and sellers.
Real estate, once considered a transaction resulting from a personal relationship between agent and seller, was already changing before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is evolving now more than ever.
The benefits of virtual reality (VR) in real estate include the following:
(1) Distance is irrelevant.
Are you thinking of becoming a snowbird and looking for a home in Florida while living in Pennsylvania? Instead of booking multiple trips, you can narrow down the neighborhoods and homes you are interested in online from the comfort of your home.
(2) Properties under development come to life.
Design of commercial properties has always been guided by architectural drawings and two-dimensional mock-ups. Now, VR allows three dimensional views and makes it easier for buyers to request and implement timely changes because they are able to see the building in a more realistic view.
(3) VR is cost effective.
Yes, the technology costs money, but it quickly pays for itself. Consider the popular app called RoOomy. It allows for virtual staging.
According to Thinkmobiles.com, since 1985, real estate agents have been actively staging homes. Staged houses sell in 80% less time and often for higher prices.
RoOomy opens the staging process to the homeowner and allows the person to visualize how the house could be furnished to best meet his or her needs and preferences.
Because it is technology-based, the components can be reused. Gone are the days of the realtor dragging pictures, plants, and decor from a sold home to the next house for sale.
V-commerce goes one step further and allows the homeowner to purchase the actual piece that he or she has virtually staged in the home.
With so many benefits, it is hard to believe there are people who are not sold on the VR real estate experience.
Sam DiBianchi, founder of DiBianchi Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida tells Fortunebuilders.com,“Real estate is personal. Technology cannot get personal with a potential buyer or seller–it’s impossible.”
DiBianchi adds that VR is an excellent tool, but he believes it should be used as a tool and not be the all-encompassing real estate experience.
While every field is impacted in some capacity by technological advances, it could be argued that real estate has the longest history of shifting in new directions when technology advances. Today, technology impacts every aspect of the real estate process. Before a buyer even contacts a real estate agent to look at the house, they can take a long look at the neighborhood, thanks to satellites. It has been reported that 70% of buyers look for homes online before they begin shopping. Technology continues to alter the way that we buy and sell real estate.
While many people see the blockchain as a way to potentially support cryptocurrency, but it may have even more practical applications in real estate transactions. Real estate contracts between sellers and buyers can be done with complete encryption protection and security checks that are built into the programming. Blockchain ledgers even provide the opportunity to securely save property title logs and other documents that are needed to complete a real estate transaction.
While AI sounds intimidating to some people, it can provide the opportunity for both potential buyers and their agents to streamline their shopping process. Recent advancements have created a way for prospective buyers to get a real-life, 3D look inside a home they may be interested in without having to schedule a showing, meet with their agent and drive an unknown amount of miles to get to the address. Not only is this a great deal for buyers who may have a hard time getting their schedules to work out, but it also frees up agents who may be juggling multiple clients.
Since the dawn of real estate, agents have utilized some CRM to keep up with contact information for various clients. Modern tech advances have enabled agents and brokers to plug a client’s information into their CRM and even send them an automated e-mail every so often to touch base and see where they’re at in their decision-making process. While this may sound minimal, not having to make a dozen phone calls a day to people who may not be committed to buying or selling is enormous for real estate professionals.