The real estate market has experienced a very rapid shift to digital over the past two years. As COVID-19 spread across the United States, the industry had no choice but to adapt and utilize available technology to continue operations immediately. This is especially true during the red-hot housing market brought about by the pandemic.
A Tech Revolution
The COVID-19 restrictions led to the increased use of video conferencing programs, such as Zoom, to create a socially-distant way for buyers and sellers to negotiate. Meanwhile, real estate agents continue to utilize social media, particularly Facebook Live and Instagram TV, to drum up hype for available houses while everyone is in quarantine.
Some companies were more creative. They tapped virtual reality (VR) technology to recreate the experience of touring open houses digitally to avoid infections.
The real estate market has been moving toward digital services before the pandemic. The process of house-hunting has become more accessible thanks to websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, and Homefinder.com. Meanwhile, real estate agents use lead generation websites to find clients. There have been plenty of improvements in the process of buying and selling a house thanks to technology.
What else can technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI), offer?
The Introduction of AI
AI has been around for a relatively long time. Still, people usually hear about it in the tech sector. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft dedicate resources to developing and applying AI to daily life. The voice assistants that have become ubiquitous thanks to smartphones and smart speakers use AI to understand commands and perform tasks.
There are also talks about self-driving cars powered by artificial intelligence in the future. AI will enable these machines to be autonomous.
But other industries outside of tech have started utilizing AI too. The retail and hospitality industries employ chatbots, which are computer programs that simulate regular human conversation, to engage with customers and help address their complaints. Chatbots are available 24/7, while a dedicated team of customer reps might be limited.
In real estate, some of the biggest companies have started adopting AI. Zillow and Compass have launched their platforms that use artificial intelligence to revolutionize the house buying and selling process in the past couple of years.
Zillow says that its platform, Zestimate, which is what it calls home prices, uses neural networks that work similarly to the human brain. It collects and uses troves of data to predict current home value more accurately.
AI is also now being utilized in mortgage applications. LoanSnap, a lender based in San Francisco, uses AI to aid borrowers in helping users find the right type of loan for them and identify the perfect investor. The platform can do this by creating forecasts of how different options will play out in the future.
AI Algorithms Match Buyer to the Ideal Home
AI can also aid buyers find their dream house. Nowadays, it is still customary to go from one open house to another to see if it is the right fit. As one can imagine, the process is tedious, and it takes a long time. Moreover, most people have to consider different factors when buying a house, such as size, space, and location. This makes purchasing a home all the more stressful.
AI can process vast amounts of data in a blink of an eye. The buyer will submit the characteristics they are looking for in a house (number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the lot, kitchen layout, location, price range). Then the platform will compare it to all available listings. This way, the platform can narrow down the options it thinks will be the right fit.
More Reliable Searches Using AI
Most online platforms already have a search function that considers the buyer’s criteria. The method is often inaccurate and still provides a long list of options that leaves the buyer exhausted by the end. An AI algorithm can streamline the process by learning about the buyer’s personal style and preferences.
For example, once a buyer has clicked on a listing, the AI-powered platform can recommend other similar listings. Retail is already doing something similar by predicting what customers might like based on their previous purchases and online activities. With AI, finding the right home for the buyer will be a quicker and more efficient process.
The real estate industry has already adopted different technologies to improve the buying and selling process. However, there is still potential to use more advanced tools that can revolutionize the entire market. AI is one tech that is slowly but steadily making its way into different processes within the industry.