You, Robot?

by Meg White

There are a lot of debates about how and when robots are going to replace us. But did you ever consider that real estate agents might be the inspiration for these automatons that are supposedly vying for our jobs?

The thing about predictive analytics in a real estate context is that it really doesn’t have to be all that scary. In fact, agents and brokers have been aggregating data about their neighborhoods, housing markets and clients forever. They use their knowledge of human nature and neighborhood development to predict when people will be ready to jump into the market and where they’ll want to go when they do.

The big difference now is that predictive analytics is a new way to take in more data and make more precise and educated guesses from the results. And it’s no longer theoretical; predictive analytics and big data have moved from buzzwords to adoption. In this issue, we talk to company leaders who are building and refining the tools that allow real estate professionals to integrate this technology into their everyday work. In this way, agents and brokers can build upon what they naturally tend to excel at — seeing the future of housing in their communities — and hopefully do more business thanks to the tech boost.

Still, it’s clear the robots have a fair way to go, if you talk to agents. In our tech survey, a vast majority of respondents said that while it’s possible technology will improve, real estate professionals are better at predicting who is going to move in a given neighborhood. And again in the cover story, you’ll hear not only about the importance of human touch in real estate, but also some very important caveats from the agent side for tech companies who want to corner the real estate market. So, fellow humans: If you have any thoughts on this topic, I hope you’ll reach out to me at meg.white@chicagoagentmagazine.com.

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