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[Guest Post] Is Zillow's Artificial Intelligence Based Home Touring Worth it?

Is Zillow's Artificial Intelligence Based Home Touring Worth it?

Guest Author: Sana Ahmad (Click here for Real Estate Listings)

The Housing market is being affected by multiple factors, namely inflation and rising mortgage rates. According to Redfin, average U.S. home sale price is currently at $427,696, which is a 10.9% increase year-over-year. This is also up from $263,463 in January 2018. According to the Case-Shiller index, US home prices soared 40% between February 2020 and April 2022. Furthermore, National Association of Realtors, suggests that existing homes listed remained on the market for 14 days, which is a record low. All this implies that buyers and sellers want to represent the best view of the properties to each other. This is the problem that Zillow is trying to solve.

Zillow surfing 2.0 generates viewable floor plans using machine learning and seller photos, allowing buyers to effectively tour a house without stepping foot in it.

Josh Weisberg, the vice president of Zillow’s Rich Media Experience team stated in a press release that, “Zillow surfing has always been about imagining all the possibilities a move could bring, and Zillow surfing 2.0 is bringing those possibilities to life in a much more interactive, realistic way,". He further added, “Now shoppers can act more quickly and confidently, whether they’re searching in their own neighborhood or hundreds or thousands of miles away. We’re pushing the boundaries of what home buyers and renters can expect when shopping for a home online."

Zillow says that this new tech will use machine learning (ML) to generate floor plans, and import panoramic photos from listings into that floor plan to give users a more immersive view of the houses they’re interested in. The tool is able to estimate room dimensions and square footage as well as generate a clickable floor plan buyers can tour.

As a realtor, we heavily rely on images, floorplans, dimensions and other data made available through our respective portals. In many cases, realtors work with buyers and pay for professional services to properly stage a property. If Zillow is simply taking public images, which are dated, then this service does not value, rather, it may negatively impact the property image. 

We recommend that buyers and sellers always ensure to confirm with the realtor on the current vs a processed image. On the other hand, if Zillow's service (I have not used it personally), provides a possible image, then it could entice the customer, based on future state, then it could be meaningful. 

The best strategy for both buyers and sellers, is to closely work with realtors, who know and continue to understand the market dynamics. We are here to support you and I'm looking forward to helping my clients anyway I can.

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