At Home: Artificial Intelligence — AI — can do home decor?

Emerging technologies could take some of the stress out of home buying, selling and remodeling

Consider Geek Squad crossed with The Property Brothers. Last month, at a National Association of Realtors summit in Miami, innovators, investors, and real estate professionals chatted like chatbots about PropTech. That’s the cool insider phrase for “property technology.”

Just as technology has altered how we shop, travel, and communicate, it is also altering how we buy and sell houses. Dan Weisman, NAR’s director of emerging technology, agreed to tell me about the meeting’s key takeaways without the geek speak:

Q: Will technology make the home-buying or selling process easier?

A: Technology’s role in real estate is to simplify the process and reduce stress points. Most of us have heard of DocuSign or other similar technologies that allow us to e-sign legal documents. This has sped up what was previously a time-consuming process. Remember when submitting an offer or signing loan documentation required wet-signing paper forms and overnight delivery? We can now sign away hundreds of thousands of dollars by auto-filling our initials with our fingernails on our phones.

We’re attempting to do the same for other stages of the process, such as the negotiations. Submitting an offer, waiting for a counter, and working with two real estate agents is an area that needs improvement. Some businesses have attempted to create offer platforms, but none have succeeded. This is because we still require brokers to provide some level of control to ensure that information is passed along correctly. However, as technology advances, it may be possible to eliminate financing delays. The fact that mortgages frequently take 45 to 60 days to close is an area that needs to be improved.

Q: What are the disadvantages of new PropTech?

A: The possibility of fraud. As much as we want to take advantage of technology, we must keep an eye out for scammers. The greater their access to data, the greater the possibility of fraud. These con artists can fool you into believing they are someone they are not. Deepfakes have the ability to virtually recreate a person and their voice. Pick up the phone and call the person you’re dealing with and ask, “Was this you?” if you’re being asked to wire money or provide account information over the internet. We’ve heard far too many stories about money going missing.

Q: How does all of this AI power affect how we choose a real estate agent?

A: We’re still in the people business. Most sellers and buyers require the assistance of a real estate agent to guide them through the process. However, you should look for an agent whose company has good IT. When choosing an agent, the first question to ask is, “How are you using technology to make the buying or selling process easier?”

Q: What was the most significant game changer you witnessed at the summit?

A: Perhaps the most revolutionary change we’re witnessing is AI technology that allows homebuyers to see what a home could look like if renovated. REimagine Home is an online tool that allows you to reimagine a room by uploading a photo of it. For example, I took a photo of a bedroom and transformed it into an office. You can change the furniture, flooring, wall color, and light fixtures to see what could be.A company called Hover allows prospective buyers to do the same for exterior improvements.

Q: How does ChatGPT fit into the real estate world?

A: ChatGPT (generated pre-trained transformers) is one of several artificial intelligence products with access to billions of data points. It can answer questions and create written or verbal content by using human-like language. You could inquire as to how much you should pay for a home. The program would conduct market research and provide a concise answer in seconds. ChatGPT is used by realtors to create house listings, promotional copy, social media posts, and blogs.

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