The Basics in Real Estate and the Age of AI
Let's take a closer look at the timeless information needs that have been crucial in real estate sales for the past century and explore whether AI could learn and potentially take on the role of a human real estate agent.
Suppose you happen to be in the process of putting up for sale a residential property in a family-friendly neighbourhood situated in the suburbs of New York. In that case, a well-crafted and persuasive listing could potentially look something like the example provided below:
Property Title: Spacious 4-Bedroom Family Home in Scarsdale, NY Address: 123 Main St, Scarsdale, NY 10583 Asking Price: $1,000,000 Property Type: Single-Family Home Year Built: 1995 Size: 2,500 Square Feet Lot Size: 6,500 Square Feet Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Parking Spaces: 2 Description: This lovely, spacious 4-bedroom family home is situated in the heart of Scarsdale. With a large, private backyard, a two-car garage, and a fully renovated kitchen, it's the perfect place for a growing family. The master suite includes a large walk-in closet and a luxurious bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower.
Fully Renovated Kitchen
Master Suite with Walk-in Closet and Luxurious Bathroom
Hardwood Floors Throughout
Community and Surroundings:
Close to Shopping and Dining
Easy Access to Public Transportation
Safe, Family-Friendly Neighborhood
Numerous Parks and Recreational Facilities Nearby
Contact Information: John Doe - ABC Realty, (555) 555-5555, email@example.com
Interestingly, this template has not changed for the last 100 years! Indeed, the fundamentals of a real estate listing have remained pretty consistent over time because they reflect the key information that potential buyers or renters are interested in. This includes details about the property itself, such as its size, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and unique features, as well as information about its location and the surrounding community.
However, there have been some changes and trends in real estate listings over the years. For instance, with the advent of digital technology and the Internet:
Photos and Virtual Tours: Listings now often include extensive photo galleries, 360-degree views, and even virtual or augmented reality tours of properties.
Details and Amenities: As buyers' needs and expectations change, listings now often include more details about property amenities, such as energy efficiency ratings, smart home capabilities, home offices, or private outdoor spaces, which have become particularly desirable features since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Property History and Comparables: Online listings can include information about a property's sales history and comparable sales in the neighbourhood to help buyers understand the market context.
Neighbourhood Information: In addition to basic community information, listings may provide detailed neighbourhood demographics, reviews, crime rates, school ratings, commute times, and more.
Online Interaction and Transactions: Technology has facilitated new ways to interact with listings, such as clicking to call an agent, scheduling a viewing directly from the listing page, or even making an offer online. Some platforms also provide integrated mortgage calculators or allow buyers to apply for financing directly.
Thus, while the template may seem similar, the level of detail, interactivity, and multimedia inclusion has evolved significantly.
But the basics never change?
Correct, the basics of a real estate listing remain relatively unchanged because they encompass the essential information potential buyers or renters need to know.
This includes the properties:
Location: This will always be crucial as it often influences property value and attractiveness to potential buyers or renters. Proximity to amenities, schools, transportation, and other factors all contribute to a property's desirability.
Size and Layout: The square metres and number of bedrooms and bathrooms are fundamental details. These directly impact how suitable a property might be for different types of buyers or renters (families, singles, retirees, etc.).
Price: The listed price or rent is obviously a key detail that will always be a part of real estate listings.
Property Type: Whether it's a single-family home, condo, townhouse, or apartment, the type of property is a basic detail that doesn't change.
Contact Information: There will always need to be a point of contact for interested parties to inquire further or arrange a viewing.
Description and Images: These give potential buyers or renters a sense of the property's look and feel. While the formats have evolved (from text descriptions and photographs to virtual tours and 3D models), the fundamental purpose is the same.
These fundamental elements provide a clear snapshot of what the property offers. Regardless of how technology or market trends evolve, these basics will likely continue to form the backbone of real estate listings.
If that does not change then will real estate agents be replaced by aAI? AI and automation have certainly made significant inroads into many industries, including real estate. These technologies can help streamline and automate certain tasks, such as gathering and analysing data, managing listings, and connecting buyers with sellers. AI and automated systems are far from being able to completely replace real estate agents.
Here are some reasons why real estate agents still play an integral role in the property market:
Human Touch and Expertise: Buying or selling a home is often one of the most significant financial decisions in a person's life, involving not just economic considerations but also deeply personal factors. The emotional support, guidance, and expert advice that a human agent can provide are currently beyond the capabilities of AI.
Negotiation Skills: Real estate transactions often involve complex negotiations. While AI can assist in analyzing market data to inform pricing strategies, the ability to understand human emotions, build relationships, and negotiate effectively is a human skill that AI has yet to replicate.
Local Knowledge: Real estate agents often have deep knowledge of local markets, including information that may not be readily available in databases or online listings. This can include everything from upcoming zoning changes and new developments to neighbourhood trends and reputation, all of which can affect property values.
Regulatory Navigation and Legalities: Real estate transactions involve complex legal paperwork and regulations. Real estate agents have the knowledge and experience to navigate these processes and ensure all legal requirements are met.
Networks and Relationships: Real estate agents often have extensive networks of contacts, including potential buyers or sellers, other agents, home inspectors, contractors, and legal professionals. These relationships can be key to finding buyers the right home or getting sellers the best price.
While AI and automation will undoubtedly continue to transform the real estate industry in various ways, it is highly likely that human real estate agents will continue to play a crucial role in the foreseeable future. The most successful agents will likely be those who are able to leverage these technologies to enhance their services rather than being replaced by them.
What are your thoughts?