Artificial intelligence - it's not just a word that you would hear in a science-fiction movie. Today, there are increasing efforts to develop real-world examples of AI to help us in our everyday life, from Alexa to Siri to Cortana and beyond, but there's one sector where AI is going to lead to some interesting changes - the real estate industry.
The truth is, today artificial intelligence isn't taking the form of robot butlers or terminators sent from the future to destroy us. It's the algorithm Netflix uses to recommend new movies to us or the ability of a car to learn when to alert you if it's not safe to change lanes. Machine learning is the name of the game, there's a place for these sort of self-taught computers in the real estate world.
Knowing which neighborhood is going to have strong property sales in the coming months and years, and what you can expect specific properties, in particular, to sell for, has always been a bit of an art when it comes to real estate. Agents can pore over historical price data as much as they want, but there's only so much you can glean from that - in the end, you need to make educated guesses that, if wrong, can lead to wasted time and opportunities.
This is where artificial intelligence comes in. AI-based regression analysis, which takes a much more in-depth look at previous price data that has proven to be much more accurate than current systems. In the future, complex analysis of home prices and sale activity isn't the only way this sort of technology can be used, as it can be adapted to identify home buyer trends as well, making it easier to match prospective homeowners with houses based on more than just their budget.
How would such a system work? Consider how today's real estate search services operate. Typically, users input quantifiable data - zip codes, price ranges, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, total square feet - and then these search services return results based on those specific parameters. Yet even though these results are technically what the home buyer is looking for, there's a lot of chaff along with the wheat - you can spend hours crossing inappropriate homes off your list.
Yet an AI-based system, one that learns from a house hunter's more qualified needs instead of quantified ones, can help zero in on properties that have the qualities they're looking for that don't involve lot size or the dimensions of the master bedroom. An artificial intelligence can understand the parameters of amorphous concepts, things like "cozy" or "quiet neighborhood", in ways that traditional real estate search engines simply can't. Combined with user feedback that helps an AI hone their predictions for accuracy, and you've got a real estate search engine that learns over time, becoming increasingly better at delivering results.
These aren't the only applications for artificial intelligence in a real estate setting, of course. Chat bots designed to answer basic and common questions about properties during virtual tours. AI-based property monitoring sites may some time in the future allow tenants to pay rent online and report damages through AI chat bots, property managers to receive alerts as to when maintenance may be needed, and landlords find cost-efficient vendors or even source new tenants.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. The applications of AI in the real estate sector are likely to spring up faster than you can count, making the future extremely bright indeed!