New research shows three in four real estate professionals see increasing use of AI as a complement to human roles rather than a replacement

24. April 2018


  • New research from virtual data room specialist Drooms finds only one in five (18%) say AI will eventually substitute human skills
  • More than half (54%) of property professionals already use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the keyword search process in real estate transactions
  • Over two thirds (69%) believe AI gives their firm competitive advantage by enabling a higher volume and variety of documents to be searched at high speed
  • Over half (53%) cite a lack of confidence in AI’s ability to match human intelligence and decision making

London, 24 April 2018 – According to new research from Drooms, the leading provider of virtual data rooms in Europe, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in real estate transactions is increasing despite perceived barriers such as a lack of relevant skills to implement AI technology.

More than half (54%) of real estate professionals surveyed by Drooms use AI to improve the keyword search process when working on transactions. However, this figure rises to 69% of respondents who say they will be using AI for keyword searches in five years’ time. Other processes that will become more widely used include foreign language translation, identifying red flags, routing documents to the right decision makers and topic modelling.

The majority (76%) of respondents believe that AI will always work best in conjunction with human intelligence, compared with 18% who think AI will eventually be a substitute for human skill and intelligence in real estate processes. Just 4% said that AI would never be a substitute.

 

Process supported by Artificial Intelligence % of respondents who use it today % of respondents who will use it in five years’ time
Keyword search 54% 69%
Foreign language translation 32% 50%
Identifying red flags 19% 46%
Routing documents to the right decision makers 18% 45%
Topic modelling 16% 40%

Source: Drooms survey of 75 real estate professionals

Competitive advantage thanks to AI

More than two thirds (69%) of respondents believe that AI benefits their firm and gives it competitive advantage by enabling a much higher volume and variety of documents to be searched at high speed. Almost the same number (63%) say that AI speeds up the due diligence process, while 35% believe it improves the accuracy of decision making. Other benefits of AI include minimising risks and liabilities in an overall deal (24%), reduced reliance on legal services (10%) and securing the best deals before other professionals (9%).

When asked where AI has the greatest impact on improving the efficiency of processes, three quarters (75%) said ‘identifying relevant documents in a virtual data room’. More than two thirds (69%) said it was ‘avoiding time-consuming manual review processes’, 53% chose ‘preventing human error’, 36% said ‘automatically creating contracts and reports’ and 16% said ‘deciding who needs to view and make decisions about data’.

The barriers facing AI

Despite these benefits, there are still perceived barriers preventing the uptake and use of AI in the real estate industry. The biggest of these is lack of confidence in AI’s ability to match human intelligence and decision-making (cited by 53%), followed by a lack of skills available to implement relevant AI technology (51%), technology being too difficult to use (41%), lack of trust by senior management in AI (19%) and concern that AI will replace investment professionals’ roles (17%). Only 9% say the main barrier was ‘lack of demand’.

Drooms has innovated the due diligence process by placing Artificial Intelligence at the core of its virtual data room technology and utilises machine learning to automate manual and recurring processes.

Jan Hoffmeister, Co-Founder of Drooms, said: “Our aim when building AI into our VDR technology is to enable real estate professionals to reduce manual review work, streamline processes, increase transparency, eliminate unnecessary errors and reduce reliance on expensive third party costs. We agree with the majority of respondents to our survey that AI will always work best in conjunction with human skills and intelligence. AI needs to learn from human behaviour and there is no substitute for years of experience, instinct and knowledge. However, AI complements those elements and adds huge value by making real estate processes much more automated, efficient and cost-effective.”

Download the report