Long gone are the days of word-of-mouth house sales and real estate agents going door to door to find clients. The real estate market in the 21st century has become an almost entirely online experience from start to finish.
Many people who are looking to buy a new home begin their search on the many real estate apps that now exist. These apps provide a plethora of information about homes for sale all around the world, but how did they get all of this information?
For the answer to that question, we will have to look at AI and how it is changing the homebuying experience. In this article, we will discuss all aspects of this new technology and how it is revolutionizing how we buy homes.
What is AI?
AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and it has grown massively in popularity in recent years. Basically, this new technology acts as a replacement for human intelligence online. It can do a lot of things to improve people’s daily experiences.
It can be used for fun things like turning your face into a Disney character on TikTok, but it can also be used to think two steps ahead of you and anticipate your every move. Many people have found that AI predicts their grocery shopping lists just by analyzing their habits and others use it through voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.
How Does AI Play A Role In Homebuying?
AI is being used by many online real estate companies to collect and analyze information on homes all over the world. Those companies are then able to make detailed profiles of all of the homes on their websites. This allows potential clients to browse thousands of home listings from their phones.
The reason why AI has become so popular in the real estate sector is that it cuts research time down exponentially. This allows real estate agents to spend more time with clients and less time scavenging for listings.
AI is also responsible for taking the data of consumers via their cell phones and searching for listings that fit the customer’s needs. This sounds very efficient and convenient, but there are some drawbacks to how AI is used in this industry.
How Do Real Estate Websites Acquire Our Information Through AI?
Many real estate companies sift through public records like deeds, recent sales, and even mortgage information to create a full picture of a home’s value. This is not a new concept, but in recent years, these companies have begun to enlist AI to do this research which takes a fraction of the time that it would have taken a lone real estate agent.
This lightning-fast process allows the companies to basically get all of the information they need from a listing in a matter of minutes as opposed to days or even weeks in the old days.
Once they have that information, many sites like Zillow or Trulia will sell the information that they have gleaned to local real estate agents, taking home millions of dollars a year from these transactions.
What to Look Out For When Searching For Homes Online
If you are about to begin your home search, there are many ways to go about it. Below are some helpful tips for beginning your search:
Don’t Rely Solely on Real Estate Apps
These apps and websites are good for getting an initial feel of the market and what kinds of houses are out there right now, but don’t trust them fully when thinking about purchasing a home.
They are good for browsing photos and videos of potential houses, but for a more personalized homebuying experience, you need to speak with a local real estate agent.
Research Your Favorite Neighborhoods
Moving to a new home gives you the opportunity to explore potential new neighborhoods. If you are moving somewhere within the same state, take the time to drive around and look at the houses that are available in that area.
If you are moving to a new state and unable to travel to find a new home, joining local Facebook neighborhood groups is a great way to feel out if a neighborhood is a good fit for you and your family.
Whether you are house hunting within your state or out of state, online access to content like real estate apps and brokerage websites can help you to get a sense of your favorite areas. From there, finding a local expert will take you all the way.
Find a Trustworthy Local Agent
No matter how good the apps get, nothing beats face-to-face interaction, especially when you are making an investment as big as buying a home. With this AI technology everywhere, it is hard to know who to trust, but an in-person real estate agent will want to make a sale, so they will have no interest in sharing your personal information on the internet.
How to Keep Your Information Safe From AI Realty Websites?
Unfortunately, because a lot of information about house sales is public, it is hard to restrict some companies from finding data and using it as they please. The best way to avoid your information being used by these big real estate companies is to find websites that are run by real estate professionals instead of corporate bosses.
The professionals at eXp Realty have set a good example for a smaller real estate brokerage company that allows customers to browse thousands of homes in all fifty states. Instead of having a lot of anonymous listings, each listing on their website is assigned to an agent in that state. This kind of system avoids the risk of your information being shared with others through AI technology.
Best Ways to Search for Your Dream Home
Many websites can be used to find your dream home. With new real estate technology growing in the past several years, even a simple google search will bring you to websites with a range of content. The tricky part is, when do you know which sites are good and which ones are bad?
When searching online, you will encounter two types of real estate websites: large commercial sites run by big companies and smaller local sites run by real estate firms.
Both of these options will probably have an element of AI involved that will analyze your requirements for the perfect home. The difference is that the larger websites will likely use your information to try to glean a profit. They may sell your information to new real estate agents who are trying to gain clout in the industry.
On the other hand, smaller, more reputable companies will use it to try to give you a personalized list of properties that suit your needs. These companies are also run by established real estate professionals that want to help you find a new home.
If you prefer a more in-person approach, it’s best to find your closest brick-and-mortar real estate agency. They will most likely have flyers or booklets delivered to your mailbox with new listings, although this is not as common as it used to be.
If you walk into one of these offices, there is sure to be a friendly real estate professional there to assist you and answer any questions you may have. In contrast to an online search, a real estate agent can make a more personalized assessment of what you want from your homebuying process.
Nowadays, using both online and in-person methods when purchasing a home is the most efficient way to get what you want. If you are just starting your search process, it is much easier to begin online and scope out what is available in your market before you go and hire a real estate agent.
Many people these days will do the whole home-buying process online and only meet with an agent to sign the paperwork during the final sale. Sometimes this is the only option for families who may be moving from one state to another and can’t tour homes in person, but it is not a recommended method.
Not viewing a house in person with a real estate professional may lead to some oversights that will be discussed further below.
Things to Avoid When House Hunting
Don’t Trust the Online Photos
On a lot of house-hunting apps, homeowners will post their own photos or they will have an estate agent come in to do professional shots of their home. Either way, never make a final decision on a home solely based on online photos.
This is where AI can come into play as well because people can create AI-generated “photographs” that can make a house look a certain way online but then look very different in real life.
It is always a good rule of thumb to see any big purchase in person before buying, especially when it is a home.
Do a Full House Inspection Before Signing Anything
One vital step before committing to a mortgage is to make sure that your investment in a house is a sound one. Always find a real estate agency that will hire an inspector or hire one on your own to do a thorough sweep of the house. This may end up lowering the cost of the house if there are certain repairs needed from the seller and it will give you peace of mind.
Make Sure You Love the Neighborhood as Well As the House
The place where your house is located is almost just as important as the house itself, so make sure that the neighborhood has all that you desire.
If you have a family, investigate the school district as this may affect the value of your future home as well. Good schools mean higher value in real estate around the schools.
Ask Your Real Estate Agent About Added Costs
Many neighborhoods in the US will have Home Owner’s Association fees that will add to the monthly or yearly costs that come with buying a house.
If your real estate agent is local, they will have all of the knowledge of fees and taxes from the area.
Avoid Visiting Homes without a Real Estate Professional Present
Because homes for sale feel so accessible through the internet these days, it may seem that you can now make an appointment to have a viewing on your own, but many homeowners would prefer that you come to their listing with the realtor who is selling the house for them.
This is because the realtor will most likely be knowledgeable of the property and be able to walk you through it and ask any questions you may have. That way you are not wasting your time or the homeowner’s time with questions about the house. This will speed up the process and get you into a new home faster.
How Can We Use AI To Our Advantage When Searching for a New Home?
There are a few ways in which AI can be used for good in the search for a new home. The best way to take advantage of AI technology is to let it search for homes that fit your needs quicker than you could do yourself. The reason why AI is being used in real estate is so that clients can find homes that match their preferences faster than if they asked a human to do it.
Once again, this is a benefit of the technology, but only if the information that the client provides is not then sold to the highest bidder.
Now it’s Your Turn to Buy A Home
After reading through this article, you may be wondering if it is the right time to start the homebuying process. No matter if you are just casually searching or seriously considering a big move in the near future, these tips will help you avoid the less pleasant parts of finding a home.
There is a lot to think about when going through the process of buying a new home, but being aware that there are new AI technologies out there that can be either beneficial or detrimental to your home search is an important part.
The advice above can give you the tools to find the right real estate website for you and help you to avoid being taken advantage of when deciding on one of the biggest financial investments of your life.