Natural Language Processing (NLP) in real estate

4 June 2020 | 6 min read

Artificial intelligence or AI is changing the way we look at the world. You can find AI everywhere, from your phone to devices such as Google Home. We live in a world that is surrounded by it.

In this blog, I will explain more about something called natural language processing (NLP). It’s a form of artificial intelligence that focuses on analyzing the human language to create advertisements, help you text, draw insights, and more.

NLP is fairly new in the real estate sector but can be used for a number of solutions.

You will read about the next topics:

  • What is Natural Language Processing?
  • Why is NLP important?
  • NLP for real estate websites
  • 4 use cases of NLP for real estate
  • The future of natural language processing for real estate

What is Natural Language Processing?

Natural language processing or NLP is one of the hottest areas of AI today. NLP is focused on enabling computers to understand and process human languages, to get computers closer to a human-level understanding of language.

Computers are able to process data much faster than we, humans, can. Therefore, they are great at working with standardized and structured data like database tables and financial records.

The problem is that humans don’t communicate in “structured data” nor do we speak binary. We speak and write using words, a form of unstructured data.

This is why your PC or Mac doesn’t have the same intuitive understanding of natural language that humans do (not yet). They can’t really understand what the language is really trying to say.

With NLP algorithms, we can get our computers closer to that deeper human level of understanding language.

Today, NLP enables us to build solutions like chatbots, language translators, and automated systems to recommend you the best Netflix TV shows.

Why is NLP important?

There is a large volume of textual data

Natural language processing helps computers communicate with humans in their own language. For example, NLP makes it possible for computers to read a text, hear speech, interpret it, measure sentiment, and determine which parts are important.

Today’s computers can already analyze more language-based data than humans. Without fatigue and in a consistent way.

 

The human language is extremely complex

There are infinite ways to express ourselves, verbally, and in writing.

Not only are there hundreds of languages and dialects, but within each language is a unique set of grammar and syntax rules. This is not the only reason why it’s complex. When writing, we often misspell or abbreviate words. When we speak, we have regional accents and borrow terms from other languages.

While deep learning is now widely used for modeling human language, there’s also a need for syntactic and semantic understanding and domain expertise that are not necessarily present in these machine learning approaches.

NLP is important because it helps resolve ambiguity in language. Besides that, it adds useful numeric structure to the data for many downstream applications, such as speech recognition or text analytics.

“ Natural Language Processing or NLP is a field of Artificial Intelligence that gives the machines the ability to read, understand and derive meaning from human languages. “

NLP for real estate websites

A traditional search on a property portal only includes results based on the metadata (for example price, address, surface, and the number of bedrooms)

Every real estate website has a lot of information in the textual descriptions of a listing. It often contains real estate related keywords that are not available in the metadata.

Thanks to NLP, the descriptions of a listing (property) can also be taken into account when presenting search results. It allows the visitor of a real estate website to discover houses or apartments that regular search results wouldn’t have shown.

4 use cases of NLP for real estate

The textual description of a real estate listing contains important real estate related keywords such as price, number of bedrooms, specific objects, renovated/new, balcony, and many more.

Often the metadata is incomplete or incorrect. Therefore, when someone is doing a search on your real estate website, it does not take these features correctly into account. So, it is possible that a relevant property is not shown.

Here are 4 uses cases of NLP in real estate:

Keyword detection

NLP engines can extract real estate related keywords in the textual description such as terrace, kitchen, bath, shower, garage, fireplace, surface, amount of bedrooms, and more.

Validation of the metadata

The metadata (information that is searchable by the search engine) can be validated NLP to see if a certain listing contains the wrong data.

For example, let’s say a real estate agent fills in the information for the property and forgets to fill in the surface. If someone if doing a search with properties bigger than a certain surface, the house or apartment will not show up in the search query.

Autocompletion of the metadata

The last use case possible with NLP for real estate is using the detected keywords and autocorrect and complete the metadata. By doing this, all relevant listings show up in the search results.

Based on the last research of Co-libry, 18% more features are processable by the search engine on average.

Autogenerated SEO pages

Users are searching on Google using longer keywords such as ‘4 bedroom house child-friendly Amsterdam’ or ‘2 bedroom apartment Brussels with balcony’.

Creating tons of SEO pages built for long-tail keywords that will potentially increase your traffic on Google.

Extra keywords such as a balcony, fireplace, and more are extracted from your listing descriptions through Natural Language Processing.

Based on the data you can generate long-tail SEO listing pages combined with an effective URL on your webpage.

The future of NLP for real estate

Clearly, a lot of decision-makers in the industry are aware of disrupting potential of AI-enabled algorithms, so they’re exploring the use cases as you’re reading this.

AI is just scratching the surface of the real estate sector, but highly effective algorithms are already being developed.

Although real estate companies are notably progressing toward better data sets, the majority of accumulated data remains siloed and lacks standardization.

The faster the organizations will learn how to make data interoperable and enforce standards, the faster both customers and businesses will be able to reap AI’s exceptional benefits.

Natural language processing for real estate websites is something that will definitely be used in the future to improve the user experience.

Looking for an NLP solution for your real estate website? Schedule a free demo here with us and discover the power of AI, made for real estate.

References

https://becominghuman.ai/a-simple-introduction-to-natural-language-processing-ea66a1747b32

https://medium.com/@ODSC/an-introduction-to-natural-language-processing-nlp-8e476d9f5f59

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_language_processing

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/07/02/what-is-natural-language-processing-and-what-is-it-used-for/#7ffee2c75d71

https://www.funda.nl/

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