• More and more real estate marketplace companies are announcing they are building AI functions. Some are big companies with big dev teams and some are small operations that are perhaps more concerned about the publicity that comes with an AI announcement. (View Highlight)
  • The issue I have here is that the functions I’ve seen have mostly been around search and I’m not sure that search needs changing. At least not until the data being searched through is much better. (View Highlight)
  • People search for houses a lot like they search for a takeaway. The categories are well-defined, easily recognised and easy for the marketplaces to ascribe to each item in their inventory. People search by category and then they filter by feature until they find what they want. It works great and has done for ages. (View Highlight)
  • Things like location, property type and desirable features are almost always included in portal filters. Anything the user wants from their new home or takeaway that’s not in the filters is usually negotiable or so specific as to not be worth building in (south-facing, extra pickles). (View Highlight)
  • In low inventory markets (pretty much everywhere in the world at the moment), prompting a user to input a very specific search via an AI interface rather than using clearly defined filters might well lead to disappointment when the portal draws a blank. Let me explain… (View Highlight)
  • A search engine is only as good as the classification of the data it looks through. (View Highlight)
  • There are two potential issues here though:
    1. If the portal doesn’t have “dishwasher” as a feature in its listings meta-data then it might bring up a load of properties which the user isn’t looking for.
    2. If it does have “dishwasher” as a feature in its metadata but relies on its agent customers to indicate features for all listings uploaded, it’s unlikely to bring up all the properties that match the user’s query or, because the query is very specific, it might return zero matching results. (View Highlight)
  • Like a very high percentage of serious home hunters, I only did the search part of my interaction with the portal one time. Once the portal knew the location I was looking in, the category, the number of bedrooms and the features I was after it didn’t ask me again. (View Highlight)
  • Now if my local property portals (Idealista and Fotocasa) were to spend time and resources building some AI search feature and reducing a tiny bit of friction for me as a user the first time I interact with their websites or apps, it wouldn’t solve the issue here. (View Highlight)
  • The issue is the identification and tagging of meta-data in the portal’s listings and fortunately, that is something that can be fixed with AI. (View Highlight)
  • This must be either because they think that users aren’t interested in it as a feature (well I for one am) or (more likely) because they would have trouble tagging their listings with it as they rely on the party uploading each listing to tag it with that feature. (View Highlight)
  • What I am saying is that until portals have a robust way of identifying and tagging really specific features (like office space or ovens) at scale rather than relying on agents then the AI search is going to be disappointing. (View Highlight)