Sure, artificial intelligence can provide real-time data on demand, but can it really replace Realtors? | News

With artificial intelligence handling real-time valuations for homes, data mining property listings, analyzing demographic information and doing a variety of other tasks once typically done by real estate professionals, homebuyers might wonder why they need to work with a Realtor at all.

While AI can be helpful, there are many things it can’t do. When buying a home, here’s what a Realtor can do for buyers that AI can’t:

Be your rock during emotional moments

A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. For most buyers, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you when emotions threaten to sink an otherwise sound transaction.

“AI is just a program; it’s not a person,” Jim Hamilton, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, said. “AI can’t hold a client’s hand, counsel a client, or help solve a personal issue. It’s a useful tool when used properly, but that’s all it is.”

Stand in your corner during negotiations

There are many factors up for discussion in any real estate transaction — from price to repairs to possession date. A real estate professional who’s representing you will look at the transaction from your perspective, helping you negotiate a purchase agreement that meets your needs and allows you to do due diligence before you’re bound to the purchase.

“Going on broker tours and the agent relationships you make are crucial,” Lin-Lin Tsou-Otani, a Realtor with Real Estate Experts, said at a recent Silicon Valley Association of Realtors meeting. “Relationships with other agents help when both of you are sitting across from each other at the negotiating table.”

Ensure an up-to-date experience

Most people buy only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years between purchases. Even if you’ve bought a home before, laws and regulations change. Real estate practitioners may handle hundreds or thousands of transactions over the course of their career.

Tim Proschold, a Realtor at Luxuriant Realty, said Realtor associations provide training and education resources that can help members keep up with the latest real estate regulations and news affecting the industry, so they can advocate for their clients and private property rights.

“Organized real estate (trade associations) are one of the best values (for) advocating in our local communities,” he said.

Act as an expert guide

Buying a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. A knowledgeable real estate agent will know what’s required in your market, helping you avoid delays and costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.

“Realtors are ever-present, advocating for homeowners and for their clients. Realtors are counselors, and as such, they interact on a very personal basis with their clients. No computer program can do all that,” Hamilton said.

Offer objective information and opinions

A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget. Agents are also a great source when you have questions about local amenities, utilities, zoning rules, contractors and more.

Provide fair and ethical treatment

When interviewing agents, ask if they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors. Every member must adhere to the Realtor Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism, serving the interests of clients and protecting the public.

“Taking care of people with whom you have relationships and taking care of your community are of paramount importance to an agent,” said Cindy Bogard-O’Gorman, a Realtor with The Agency.

She added that a Realtor’s goal should be to “make your community a better place. Be true to yourself and help the place you live in be the very best it can be.”

When hosting an open house, Bogard-O’Gorman makes it a point to talk to neighbors and take care of everyone who comes through the door.

Being present at open houses and meeting people are other important tasks that AI can’t do, she said.

Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR) is a professional trade organization representing 5,000 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. SILVAR promotes the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.

The term Realtor is a registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and who subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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