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Using Emotion Detection Technology in the world of Real Estate

By Dean Signori | July 19, 2019

Could a machine find you the perfect house simply by analysing your facial expressions? With the exponential growth and development of Artificial Intelligence this is becoming a reality. Machines can now detect emotion with a 90% accuracy rating, and this has many implications for the real estate market, for both buyers and sellers.

Emotion Recognition Technology (ERT) is successfully used by big name brands such as Disney, Unilever, Mars, Apple and Coca-Cola to effectively understand what motivates their buyers. ERT analyses the facial expressions of customers when they see an advert or film for the first time. The advert can then be tweaked to be more appealing to the customer if the emotions recognised were negative or neutral for instance.


We buy things based on our emotional responses, including real estate. Emotion is strongly linked to why we buy the things we do and why we buy brands rather than generic items. For a real estate agency affective computing is important for building a brand name. If an agency understands a clients’ emotional reactions to its advertising, the campaign can be adjusted until the desired response is achieved before release, saving a lot of time and money and helping to effectively sell the home.

Kellogg’s used EDT super successfully when they released their alien advert rather than a human based advert. This version generated steady levels of engagement over the course of multiple views.

House Viewing

Webcams and smart technology can be installed or activated on clients’ computers when browsing real estate sales pages. ERT can determine, in real time, changes in facial expression when clients are viewing houses. By mapping the expressions onto emotions ERT can pinpoint the exact time a person’s face lit up, joy was apparent, or disappointment was evident. How many times has a potential house buy said, ‘I like this one, but I don’t know why’? ERT can tell you exactly where in the house photos their faces lit up. “This could be more objective and accurate than a salesperson’s observation” says Andrew Holm from the Phoenix branch of The Holm Group.

ERT can also be used in real life house visits, cameras or video could be used to collect data to be analysed and personal packages developed to aid home buyers in their decision making. Unilever has already incorporated ERT into its recruitment process to help decide if a candidate is a good fit or is telling the truth.

On the flip side, ERT could help determine what emotions the sales agent is showing and how the buyer perceives this.

The thriller video game ‘Never mind’ Uses ERT in real time to adjust the games difficulty, length, storyline in response to the players emotions. Using this in the real estate market is a simple step from here. Computer algorithms could be developed to show clients other houses based on analysis of their emotions while viewing houses. In real time the viewing agent could expound on certain features or play down others.

The uses of ERT in real estate are limitless and offer real help for clients trying to choose the biggest investment of their life. It offers, possibly for the first time, hard evidence on why clients like a certain house and not another. ERT linked to facial recognition and voice stress analysis becomes a very powerful tool.

"Dean Signori leads the team at Homes Direct 365, a luxury furniture company based in the UK. With over 10,000 products growing daily ranging from antique French style, mirrored & shabby chic furniture. Advising property owners and real estate brokers on interior design and home staging."
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