Would Real Estate Advisors Become Irrelevant in The Age of AI?
As Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and machine learning continue to progress in leaps and bounds, attention is turning to the potential impact on the world of employment.
The real estate industry is a case in point, as a range of automated tools have been gradually implemented over recent years to make property services and sales more accessible to potential buyers and sellers on a remote and flexible basis.
Does this mean, then, that AI will eventually render real estate advisors obsolete? We’ll explore this question in the article below.
The Current Use of AI and Automation in Real Estate:
Many real estate organisations currently utilise chatbots and similar automated features to provide help and information to clients.
This enables potential buyers, sellers and other parties to engage with the company’s services at any time of day or night without the need for a “manned” customer service line or email, keeping employee inboxes and phone lines clear of the more straightforward queries and freeing up valuable time.
Listings and Property Viewings
Another way in which AI is used in the field of real estate includes the creation of listings and methods of remote property viewing.
As well as images of the property, a listing may include CGI renderings or “staging” of the potential outcomes of extension projects and other potential changes to a home.
What’s more, potential buyers may be able to experience a virtual viewing. This technique sees 3D images of the property’s internal spaces “stitched” together. The viewer can navigate these remotely to get a better impression of the scale of each room and how they connect – without visiting the building in person.
This makes viewings more accessible to those based too far from the property to easily arrange an in-person visit, and to those who would otherwise find it difficult to secure a viewing time that suited their availability and that of a real estate agent.
Virtual viewings tend to reduce the number of “unnecessary” visits, as potential buyers can rule out obviously unsuitable properties without the need to see them in person.
AI and automation can also aid in the setting of sale prices for properties.
“Utilising global and local data, the features, location and finish of a property may be analysed and compared with others in the surrounding area to come up with a suitable asking price,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of house buyers and valuation specialists Property Solvers.
This is another task usually undertaken by a real estate professional that can now be automated.
The Future of AI and Automation in Real Estate
While the application of AI for the purposes listed above will serve to significantly reduce the person-hours required in the property sector, it is unlikely that the role of real estate advisor will become extinct altogether.
Many buyers and sellers still prefer a personal touch when it comes to communication and customer service.
What’s more, many property transactions do not run “as standard” from beginning to end, which means that having a human on-hand to handle nuanced situations and unexpected events can be very valuable.
The complexities of certain client queries may also be better served via the skills of a “real” worker.
Furthermore, property listings are rarely “cookie cutter” affairs, so a human touch is often beneficial when it comes to quality control and the imparting of unique or unusual information.
A “real” advisor may also be better placed to produce creative and engaging property descriptions that are tailored to relevant audiences.
In addition, it is currently difficult to study the various elements and features of a building in detail on a remote basis, and it can be easy for defects to go unnoticed unless the buyer takes the time to inspect them on-site. An in-person viewing is often vital to a final sale decision.
From the perspective of the estate agency, deploying a personable and skilled advisor to show clients around a property may mean all the difference between making and losing a sale.
Finally, while a lot of generic property data is applicable to every house, there are nuances and grey areas that may affect value. At present, this is something only a human real estate agent can gauge.
The above factors suggest that real estate cannot yet afford to lose its human advisors. While their numbers may be reduced, with AI taking on a large portion of their previous duties, human creativity and the understanding of nuance cannot currently be surpassed by machines.