In this post, I’d like to share my own experience and most significant pain while searching and filtering properties while trying to find a new home for my family.
Remember when you had to go to an office and see a person to help you find an apartment? Remember when you had to search through the newspaper to find homes available for rent or sale in a neighborhood? I am old enough to remember that.
You couldn’t just contact and apply to several properties from your computer, and you definitely couldn’t tour these properties from your couch either.
Today searching and looking at properties is easier, but it’s still not easy enough. Companies behind popular real estate apps or websites focus on allowing for easy listing and applying for properties. In the end, they do want to increase their inventory and get the commissions! It’s a business.
Today I want to talk about the filtering and searching functionality of such apps.
Searching and filtering are not ideal, it’s not smart, and because of this, it is time-consuming to find the right property.
For example, you can search for properties within a price range, specify the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and location. But what is lacking is the ability to filter by more specific items, for example, properties with gas ranges, or wired for networking, or without any carpets, etc.
You can find and further filter your property search by manually looking at photos, but I hope that these real estate listing companies use technology to improve the search and filtering features. The same type of search could be automated using a few computer vision tasks, image classification, and object detection.
Computer vision is a technology that helps computers “see” specific things within an image. This technology can automate the repetitive human task of looking at the listing’s photos to determine if the rooms have carpet or wooden floors or look at kitchen pictures to determine if the stove is electric or gas.
Using computer vision, real estate sites could categorize these properties and add better and more detailed filters to their search features.
I am writing this from our new condo, it has a gas range, and it took my wife and me many hours to find it. One of the main things we were looking at in our home search was homes with gas ranges, and none of the sites we used to search could separate properties based on this or any other item that was visible from the home listing’s images.
Still, it wasn’t part of the typical filters like price, location, size, etc.
Technology can help us make our lives easier. But sometimes I wonder, are we using technology or is technology using us?