How computer vision is reshaping real estate search

How machine learning will enable a deeper, more intuitive home search experience
  • By teaching computers how to understand the visual world, MLS photos will soon unlock a treasure trove of listing data.
  • Companies like RealScout and Trulia have already begun using computer vision to add new functionality to home search.
  • In the future, computer vision may be used to automatically predict marketability of listings and sale price.

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Homebuyers don’t measure “home” in square feet. I learned that during my time as an agent with Keller Williams Realty. Instead, my buyer clients described their home preferences in terms of large backyards, open floor plans and lots of natural light. But the language they used to describe their ideal house didn’t translate into any online search experience available at the time. This frustration was, in part, the impetus for founding RealScout. Last year, we took a major step in realizing this central mission by implementing a powerful new technology called computer vision. Real estate listing photos carry vast amounts of valuable information for homebuyers -- information that, until recently, was not understandable by computers and thus not easily searchable. Computer vision can analyze listing photos and automatically identify hundreds of features, giving consumers the ability to filter searches with this and other buyer-centric information. Computer visi...