They say pictures are worth a thousand words and, when it comes to the photos that round out inspection and appraisal reports, many real estate professionals would argue that those pictures can have an even higher value.
That’s why Restb.ai is teaming up with ATTOM to ensure that their users’ real estate reports are as precise as they can possibly be. Read on to learn how property data can be combined with AI technologies to ensure top-notch accuracy.
Realizing that Real Estate Photos can Fall Short
When Angel Esteban, the founder of Restb.ai, started searching for a home to live in with his wife and newborn son, he found the process much more difficult than he originally had anticipated. Specifically, he learned that the quality of listings could vary widely and that the listing photos he relied on to tell him if a property was a good match for his needs couldn’t be trusted to tell the full story.
Some photos looked great at first glance, but when Esteban went to go see the properties in-person, they fell far short of his expectations. Often, he found that the images chosen to highlight the property would leave out key details, ones that could make or break his decision to submit an offer.
While Esteban eventually did find a home that suited his family’s needs, he knew there had to be a better way.
“He wanted to find a way to provide information about available properties that was more user-centric, rather than being so focused on the listing itself,” relays Leonardo Giacomet, Senior Product Manager for Restb.ai.
Teaming Up to Solve the Issue
Soon after, Esteban began talking about his experience with his friend and eventual co-founder, Xavi Hernando. Both experts in the field of AI, they quickly realized the wealth of untapped data that was available from listing photos and how recent developments in computer vision and artificial intelligence could turn the home-buying experience on its head.
By 2015, they had begun to put those conversations into practice and formed Restb.ai, a company committed to using AI technology to enhance the real estate experience.
Restb.ai started out only focusing on compliance data. For example, their technology could determine if an MLS photo had a watermark on it that violated its use standards. However, since then, Restb.ai’s abilities have grown significantly.
“We can now track over 700 data points from images,” says Giacomet. “We can tell if a kitchen is L-shaped, has hardwood floors, as well as its overall condition and quality in a matter of seconds. Previously, you could only do that with a human reviewer, and it would take much more time.”
Leonardo Giacomet – Senior Product Manager at Restb.ai
Partnering with ATTOM to Enhance the Quality of Inspections and Appraisals
Specifically, Restb.ai uses AI’s capabilities to automatically review appraisal and inspection photos. Then, using the data it extracts from those photos, it can populate appraisal and inspection reports in a fraction of the time it would take an inspector or appraiser to do the same job.
Still, in order to maximize its capabilities, the team at Restb.ai had to look for a data partner. As Giacomet admits, pictures – even ones that have been reviewed by artificial intelligence – can still be augmented by other data sources.
“You can’t extract everything from a photo. For example, you can’t determine the exact square footage of a basement from photos alone,” he explains. “But, nowadays, every cell phone photo has a location and address, which allows us to instantly connect to a wealth of public data records, as long as we have the right partner.”
To illustrate how both sources can work together, he elaborates: “Combining photo insights with other data sources can help you understand not only the size of the basement, but also whether it’s finished, if it has a low ceiling, or even if certain equipment is present, like a sump pump or furnace.”
To the team at Restb.ai, ATTOM, a leading curator of land, property, and real estate data, was the ideal partner to help them unlock more information from these photos.
Restb.ai primarily leverages tax assessor data from ATTOM to auto populate real estate tax information for every property. However, by combining image insights and tax assessor data, Restb.ai is also working to enhance the quality of existing appraisal and inspection reports. “We also can use our models to tell the appraiser, lender or other user about potential inconsistencies,” says Giacomet. “We can say, ‘Hey, the public record says one thing, but the picture tells a different story.’ Restb.ai technology alerts the user that they need to take a second look to ensure the quality of the report.”
Ultimately, the team at Restb.ai does not see their technology replacing the traditional property inspection or appraisal. Rather, Restb.ai sees its technology as a way to dramatically reduce the time it takes to get real estate professionals the information they need.
“Instead of having to spend a few hours taking photos and then having to go back and review it all before completing a report, AI technology can drastically shorten the process while also making sure all the information is up to date,” he adds.
Forming a Future Together with ATTOM
Giacomet and his team at Restb.ai are candid about the fact that they wouldn’t be able to offer their current roster of services without the assistance of a quality data partner like ATTOM.
“Nobody else is really doing this at the scale that we are,” he explains. “But, we still need public records data to help complete the reports. By fusing both data sources together, we’ve become the one partner that our clients need, instead of them having to work with several different providers to get the same results.”
Ultimately, according to Giacomet, Restb.ai chose ATTOM as a public records provider because of their reputation for providing accurate and reliable Specifically, property data. “We knew we could trust sourcing our data from ATTOM,” Giacomet said. “But beyond that, they are great people to work with: cooperative, transparent and very straightforward.”
In addition, however, Giacomet cites the ability to grow with ATTOM as another major reason why their partnership continues to be a strong fit.
“We are expanding our range of services to our partners in the insurance industry, where it’s essential to have nationwide data. ATTOM can provide the information we need to allow us to create much better-priced insurance products in the future.”
Article originally appeared on ATTOM.