How AI Is Making Its Mark on the Real Estate Industry

November 18, 2020

You likely already use or have experienced artificial intelligence in your everyday life. Consider voice assistants—Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant—or when you visit websites and see product recommendations served up based on your previous search or purchase history.

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used in real estate, offering methods to drill down into data in new ways that could drive business decisions and automation and increase your productivity, panelists said Tuesday at “Emerging Technology: How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Buying & Selling Real Estate,” presented by iOi Summit, during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.

“Artificial intelligence is outpacing other emerging technologies in real estate,” said David Conroy, the National Association of REALTORS®’ director of emerging technology. “I do believe this technology has an opportunity to change the course of our industry.”

The applications could be vast. For example, AI is being used to enhance property valuations, provide 24/7 chatbot support services on websites, and smarten up CRMs to tell you who may have the greatest likelihood to sell in your database to prioritize your marketing efforts. Artificial intelligence is also being used to automatically tag and search property images and help predict future home values and rents.

Foxy AI, a virtual property valuation tool, has launched Remodel It, which can offer instant ballpark estimates on remodeling projects as home shoppers browse for homes online. Home buyers can receive estimates for repairs or remodeling as they consider homes for sale to help them make more informed purchase decisions, said Vin Vomero, CEO of Foxy AI. The tool, which is offered as a browser extension on major listing websites, can automatically tag features within property photos and allow users to choose what they want to renovate. The company will soon be launching a website where users will also be able to upload their own property photos to gather estimates on renovation costs and also later connect with contractors.

NAR also has been turning to AI technology to better tailor its outreach to members. For example, it uses AI predictive analytics, such as personalized education recommendations, to provide content to members and has added a COVID-19 chatbot to its site at nar.realtor that can field pandemic-related questions and direct you to the proper resources, said Julianne Heller, a data scientist for NAR.

Maureen Teyssier, the chief data scientist with Reonomy, shared how her firm is using AI to serve up property intelligence on commercial properties nationwide. The company has crunched an enormous amount of commercial data—covering 52 million properties, 100 million companies, 30 million personal profiles, and 53 million tenants—that can be searched in multiple ways to reveal a property, company, or personal view of ownership nationwide. Users are able to search by asset types, square footage, building ownership, transaction history, tax assessment, opportunity zones, and more. The search database allows you to “cut through the clutter to identify palpable value in the market, build a database that contextualizes the market and your prospects, and apply research and expertise to increase speed and build relationships,” Teyssier said.

Conroy added that the feature’s use of “knowledge graphs” is a growing use of AI learning to help determine the main players in real estate markets and in learning more about their holdings.