Three ways AI is automating the real estate industry


By Benjy Katchen

In the 1982 movie Blade Runner, superhuman robots designed to replicate the physical and intellectual abilities of humans go rogue in search of their creator with the hopes of extending their short, synthetic lifespans. It’s been 41 years since Blade Runner first hit the theatres, and while we may not be heading toward a full-blown digital dystopia, the movie does predict a technological future of sorts. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is far from the computer-generated “replicants” portrayed in the Ridley Scott film, it is having a profound impact on business operations in many industries – including real estate.

AI as we know it today consists of technologies such as machine learning algorithms, natural language processing and computer vision. Combined, these tools can be used to identify patterns and correlations to predict outcomes. In real estate, there are several AI technologies that are transforming the industry in ways that are making the homebuying and selling process more efficient, cost-effective, and consumer-friendly. Here, we’ll focus on three of the most impactful technologies.

1. Automated property valuation

Property valuation tools can make valuable information such as sold prices and other market data more accessible to help buyers and sellers better determine what, where and when to buy and sell, as well as estimates of current values. Many of these home value estimation tools use an algorithm based on up-to-the-minute market trends and property attributes that influence what a property is worth. Builders can also benefit from these valuations as they can help avoid overpaying for properties and identify opportunities for investing in undervalued properties.

2. Property search and recommendation

The ability to search and browse homes for sale online without driving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood with a realtor is possibly the biggest game changer AI has brought to real estate. In addition, recommendation systems that use external data and image recognition combined with user behaviour can provide personalized recommendations to potential buyers, making it easier for them to find properties that are to their liking. This can also help builders target their marketing efforts based on the demand for certain types of dwellings.

3. Predictive analytics

AI can be used to analyze market trends, sales data and other important information to help homebuyers and sellers make better decisions about when to buy or sell, where to buy, how much to list a property and more. Predictive analytics tools can help identify patterns and market trends to forecast future home prices and other valuable insights.

Predictive analytics can also predict a customer’s future buying patterns. For example, many of us have likely experienced when Netflix recommends a show or a movie based on what we’ve previously watched. Behaviour analytics can help real estate companies and builders alike understand the consumer’s journey in a more comprehensive way.

While the digitization of real estate has not taken hold as strongly as in other industries, these are just some of the many technologies that are starting to gain traction. As these technologies further penetrate the market, consumers can and should expect their real estate experience to have the same level of information and control as every other part of their digital lives.

Benjy Katchen is the CEO of Wahi, a digital real estate platform that uses state-of-the-art tools and best-in-class realtors to bring control, choice and confidence to consumers on their real estate journey. Wahi’s mission is to reclaim real estate for Canadians by providing a better way to buy and sell real estate, on their terms.