21 Real Estate Companies Using AI to Revolutionize Buying and Selling

July 29, 2019
Updated: August 15, 2019
Written by Mae Rice

Buying a house in a competitive market is a mentally taxing venture that reportedly involves fourteen distinct emotional stages. That means real-estate agents have to show empathy and compassion when prospective buyers need a boost—in other words, can't be bots. In 2014, an AI-powered bot showed enough humanity to pass the Turing Test, but it passed as a 13-year-old boy. Thirteen-year-olds don't typically sell real-estate. 

Still, artificial intelligence has transformed the real estate industry, which extends far beyond agencies and traffics in the world’s largest asset class. (Housing in the U.S. alone is worth $16 trillion.) In fundamental ways, AI has changed the day-to-day work of appraisers, mortgage lenders and developers.

“Bots, in some form or another, are literally determining everything from home prices to the color of paint would-be buyers see in listing photos,” Inman’s technology correspondent Jim Dalyrymple told Dotloop.

Appraisers, for instance, now compete with Automated Valuation Models, or AVMs, that use AI to value properties based on data and digital images. Many AVMs are more accurate than traditional appraisal methods, which have median error rates of around 15 percent. 

In addition, mortgage lenders make underwriting decisions that are rooted in AI's risk calculations, and developers select construction sites based on tips from AI platforms that specialize in hyperlocal zoning regulations.

AI has even made realtors more efficient (a shift that, some argue, has thinned their job prospects). AI-powered platforms can generate property recommendations tailored to each client’s personal tastes, and bots can sift through new leads for gems. 

At this point in its evolution, though, AI is sophisticated machine learning, skilled at digesting and learning from high-volume, real-time data streams. It can't replace the human touch entirely.

“[A]lgorithms work better when we leave a place for a human to be in the loop,” Bridget Frey, CTO of digital real estate marketplace Redfin, said during a panel discussion in 2017.

We’ve rounded up 21 companies that are changing the real estate industry with bots and AI-powered algorithms. 

 

zillow ai real estate
Zillow

Zillow 

Location: Seattle

How it’s using AI: At Zillow, AI factors digital photos into free property value estimates, or “Zestimates.” The technology relies specifically on a neural network, trained on millions of photos and home values to “read” photos in new listings for relevant information. According to Zillow, the resulting estimates — also informed by metrics like square footage — predict property value with a median error rate of two percent.

 

compass ai real estate
Compass

Compass

Location: New York

How it’s using AI: The AI in Compass’s customer relationship management platform nudges real estate agents to contact their clients when those clients are most excited to buy. Agents might get a heads-up when a client has been especially active on real estate websites, or has shown other digital signs of house hunting. The platform also auto-drafts emails to clients in order to speed up the outreach process.

 

rex ai real estate
Rex

Rex

Location: Woodland Hills, Calif.

How it’s using AI: Thanks to AI technology, this brokerage charges only a two percent commission on homes sold—less than half what a traditional broker charges. Rex’s algorithms place property ads on social media, search engines and digital real estate marketplaces, targeting users based on metrics like their recent purchase history. These self-refining algorithms update their targeting criteria in real time, too, as users click (or don’t) on ads.

Rex has enhanced its human real estate agents with AI, too. They staff open houses accompanied by a robot, programmed to answer nitty-gritty questions like “When was the roof last resurfaced?”

 

redfin ai real estate
Redfin

Redfin 

Location: Seattle

How it’s using AI: At Redfin, AI essentially augments human agents, handling some labor-intensive elements of their role. Redfin has automated the property recommendation process, for instance with an AI matchmaking tool. Data suggests it knows users’ tastes better than they do; they click on the matchmaker's suggestions more often than on properties that fit their own search criteria.

 

localize ai real estate
Localize

Localize 

Location: New York City

How it’s using AI: Available only for properties in New York (so far), Localize uses AI to fact-check apartment listings. The app can calculate everything from how much heavy bass shakes a building to, most impressively, how much light a unit really gets. Though real estate agents often advertise “sunny” properties, Localize's proprietary AI drills into subtleties like seasonal light variations, and the time of day when the apartment catches the most sun. Its property listings also feature data on park proximity, the efficiency of snow plowing and more.

 

divvy homes ai real estate
Divvy Homes

Divvy Homes 

Location: San Francisco

How it’s using AI: At Divvy Homes, AI personalizes applications for the company’s rent-to-own mortgages. The application form responds dynamically to the client's described financial situation, tacking on clarifying questions and cutting irrelevant ones. Artificial intelligence likewise speeds up underwriting calculations, which takes minutes at Divvy and can take a week with traditional lenders. 

 

apartment ocean ai real estate
Apartment Ocean

Apartment Ocean

Location: New York City

How it’s using AI: Apartment Ocean’s AI-fueled chatbot does the least rewarding part of real estate sales: It fields initial inquiries from prospective clients, most of whom won’t buy anything. The customizable bot can comprehend naturally-phrased queries, like “Do you have any one-bedroom apartments in Chelsea?” and asks the questions necessary to flesh out customer profiles. 

 

veros ai real estate
Veros

Veros

Location: Santa Ana, Calif.

How it’s using AI: Plenty of real estate companies evaluate properties via proprietary AVMs, and Veros has crafted an AI-powered tool for evaluating those AVMs: VeroPrecision. It calculates whether AVM valuation or traditional appraisal will suit a given property best. If it's AVM appropriate, the tool matches properties to specific AVMs optimally suited to their quirks.

 

housecanary ai real estate
HouseCanary

HouseCanary

Location: San Francisco

How it’s using AI: HouseCanary’s AI-powered AVM can estimate a home’s value in the present, and forecast how it will fluctuate for the next three years. The algorithms, which draw on 40 years of housing sales data from across the country, offers estimates that incorporate specific selling points like back porch views, and makes forecasts that account for peaks and valleys in the housing market.

 

mainstreet renewal ai real estate
MainStreet Renewal

MainStreet Renewal

Location: Austin, Tex.

How it’s using AI: This arm of Amherst Holdings, a real estate investment firm, owns and rents thousands of homes: 16,000 as of last count, according to Fortune. The company’s portfolio expands by about 1,000 homes a month, too, thanks in part to AI. Its savvy helps executives identify and bid on about 30 properties a day, unlikely to need extensive remodeling or spark bidding wars.

 

trulia ai real estate
Trulia

Trulia 

Location: San Francisco

How it’s using AI: On Trulia’s online real estate marketplace, AI customizes the user experience. The platform “learns” user’s tastes and favored search terms, grasping them in more granular detail the more the user browses the site. This informs the site’s recommendations, based on pages that were often visited by past users with similar taste profiles. 

 

cover ai real estate
Cover

Cover

Location: Gardena, Calif.

How it’s using AI: At Cover, a pre-fabricated home design startup, AI makes custom architecture accessible to non-millionaires. Drawing on customer's provided lifestyle data and aerial maps of each lot, Cover’s algorithms craft custom layouts for backyard homes slightly bigger than tiny houses for about $250, orders of magnitude less than an architect would charge. 

 

geophy ai real estate
GeoPhy

GeoPhy 

Location: New York City 

How it’s using AI: GeoPhy’s enterprise-scale AVM relies on AI to estimate values for commercial properties, like office buildings and shopping complexes. Its smart algorithms feed on countless data points, ranging from hyperlocal data on crime and park proximity to 150 million digitized property records from around the world.

 

quantarium ai real estate
Quantarium

Quantarium

Location: Bellevue, Wash. 

How it’s using AI: Built on scalable cloud infrastructure, this company’s AVM features deep learning algorithms that have processed data on more than 153 million property parcels in the U.S. (They've also picked up basic physics.) Mortgage lenders, construction companies and other real estate professionals rely on its valuations of commercial and residential properties.

 

mobile monkey ai real estate
MobileMonkey

MobileMonkey

Location: Boston

How it’s using AI: At all hours of the day, MobileMonkey’s chatbots conduct initial screening conversations with real estate agents' potential clients, pinging the agents only when a promising lead emerges. What “promising” means, exactly, is up to individual agencies—they can customize the parameters that prompts a realtor notification, and the bot's style. For instance, some bots talk in formal English, others in Modern Family memes.

 

deepblocks ai real estate
Deepblocks

Deepblocks

Location: Miami, Fla.

How it’s using AI: Deepblocks’ subscription service optimizes real estate development with AI. The company’s smart algorithms keep tabs on migration and market trends, local infrastructure, and zoning regulations. When queried, Deepblocks pinpoints optimal construction sites in a given neighborhood, and helps developers plan out ideal building timelines. 

 

corelogic ai real estate
CoreLogic

CoreLogic

Location: Santa Ana, Calif.

How it’s using AI: CoreLogic’s Mindbox products simplify lending with AI, automating and standardizing complex business protocols and borrower interactions. This streamlining can especially benefit mortgage lenders. As CoreLogic product manager Brendan Brahms writes, mortgage lending often centers clunky, inaccurate income calculations done by hand, in which people overlook key documents and income sources in ways AI wouldn't. 

 

skyline ai real estate
Skyline AI

Skyline AI

Location: New City, N.Y.

How it’s using AI: Skyline AI's tool for commercial real estate investors blends human real estate expertise with AI’s ability to parse a firehose of data. That includes location and web data, and even AI-generated data. The result is cutting-edge system, hip to the buried factors that impact property values, that informs investor decisions on when to buy and sell properties.

 

citybldr ai real estate
Citybldr

Citybldr

Location: Seattle

How it’s using AI: Everyhome’s flagship product, CityBldr, employs AI to discover the undervalued properties and multi-property parcels that developers love. Informed by professional expertise from engineers, architects, appraisers, and other real estate professionals, Citybldr has carved out a niche in the multi-billion-dollar property research and analytics industry. An associated free tool, CityBldr Signal, uses that same AI infrastructure to predict whether a builder or developer will pay more for a given property, and match individual sellers with commercial buyers.

 

cherre ai real estate

Cherre

Location: New York City

How it’s using AI: Cherre’s AI-enabled SaaS platform, CoreData, intelligently amasses and indexes real estate data from thousands of sources, including siloed internal data sources. Modeled on the financial world’s high-frequency trading platforms, CoreData incorporates and learns from data in real time, applying insights from all user data to each individual user’s data.

 

jointer ai real estate
Jointer

Jointer

Location: San Francisco

How it’s using AI: Jointer, a company using blockchain and AI to simplify real estate syndication deals, vets potential investments with AI. The company collects property suggestions from real estate agents and management companies, but before actually investing in anything, Jointer runs each property through six layers of underwriting. The initial layer relies on AI to weigh risks against potential revenue streams.

 

Images via Shutterstock, social media and company websites.

 

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