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How a startup is using artificial intelligence to change the real estate industry

Marabia Smith

Digital real-estate platform Localize wants to make apartment shopping in big cities like New York easier for those on the hunt. The web-based service uses artificial intelligence to help people seeking new accommodations weed out the truth behind their potential homes.

Compared to other real-estate finding programs, Localize focuses on the miscellaneous factors that contribute to how well-received a property can be. It ranges from a residential areas nearby schools and parts, how the levels of sound impact whether a building shakes or not, and even how much sunlight an apartment or home gets on its street.

“When you’re looking for a new home, really what you’re looking for is a place that is going to match your needs when you move there,” said Localize founder Steve Kalifowitz. “We tell you actually how many hours and which hours and what that’s like relative to the rest of the borough and how that changes between summer and winter.”

Kalifowitz told Yahoo Finance’s “On The Move” how Localize hires technical engineers, data scientists and urban planners to research a location in order to provide home seekers with the most detailed information possible.

“We came to the market and said ‘There’s gotta be a better way.’ When you can go and look for a vacuum cleaner on Amazon and learn all about every vacuum cleaner- and really make a good choice and know what you’re buying before you buy it- we wanted to give that to real-estate as well.”

Geometries of different buildings along 7th Avenue in the West Village, Manhattan, New York City
Geometries of different buildings along 7th Avenue in the West Village, Manhattan, New York City

“The real-estate industry hasn’t changed much in years,” said Kalifowitz. “It sort of took what was in the newspaper and put it on the internet. Today, when you go look for a home anywhere… you’re basically looking at descriptions that were written by brokers [and] at pictures that were taken and sometimes touched up and that’s what you have to look for.”

Localize currently operates in New York City. The company has plans to expand to other cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Another factor besides the use of AI that sets Localize apart from its competitors is showing customers how much a residence is valued at. Kalifowitz says pricing isn’t something that the platform is concerned about at the moment. “At the end of the day, it’s what the market is going to pay.”

Marabia Smith is a producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move.

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