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Real estate investment, traditionally reliant on meticulous spreadsheet analysis combined with a touch of intuition, is on the brink of a significant transformation that will redefine the industry over the next five years.

Say goodbye to pivot tables, bid farewell to Excel macros, and discard those intricate best and worst case scenario simulations. In a departure from its usual technological detachment, the real estate sector is poised for a groundbreaking shift, courtesy of Artificial Intelligence.

Those who overlook the impact of AI on this industry, not typically associated with cutting-edge technology, do so at their own peril. Embracing this technological wave early on will position investors at an advantage in the fiercely competitive real estate landscape, where even a minor miscalculation or a false positive can result in substantial financial setbacks.

Undoubtedly, this transformation will welcome a new wave of innovators and data scientists who had previously viewed the field as stagnant.

As traditional real estate investment practices wear thin in the coming months and years, the composition of individuals entering and joining the industry will also undergo a dramatic transformation. Dynamic real estate companies will increasingly seek individuals highly valued on Wall Street: those proficient in quantitative analysis. Yes, quants are set to emerge as influential figures in real estate, leveraging AI as a potent tool reshaping the industry.

Beyond quant professionals, other talented college graduates, previously overlooked by the sector, will play a pivotal role in integrating AI into the mainstream of real estate. Creative minds, holders of degrees in philosophy, social sciences, and even English majors, will be in high demand as generative AI becomes the backbone of this traditionally conservative industry. Creatives, who will assist in structuring the most efficient and productive AI queries, will work in teams with quants to flush out the best results AI can deliver.

A recent analysis by McKinsey & Co suggests that Generative AI holds the potential to unlock a staggering $110 billion to $180 billion, if not more, in value for the real estate industry. This revolutionary technology is poised to transform virtually every aspect of the industry, surpassing the capabilities of even the most intricate spreadsheet analyses.

Based on the McKinsey assessment: Gen AI “can sort through the unstructured data—both internal (such as the performance of a company’s existing properties and the lease terms related to this performance) and third party (such as the US Census and publicly recorded, comparable sales). This multifaceted analysis can be overlaid on a list of properties for sale to identify and prioritize specific assets that are worth manual investigation.”

AI is set to streamline the currently lengthy deal-closure process. Real estate firms, as they become proficient in utilizing this new tool, will condense tasks such as appraisals, title searches, legal reviews, site inspections, among other details. The entire purchase-sale, due diligence process settled in a matter of weeks rather than months. The industry will be grudgingly pulled from the dark ages by this emerging technology, formalizing now disparate forms and procedures into a single standard.

Hence, it is crucial for real estate firms to take the lead in recognizing the essential skills required to harness the latent value offered by Gen AI. This involves recruiting bright minds fresh out of college who may not have previously considered a career in real estate. Failing to secure this key talent in emerging technology is a surefire way to fall behind, shackled to outdated practices and trailing the competition.

The formidable barriers to entering the real estate industry are set to crumble. Newly established small, entrepreneurial firms will challenge the dominance of well-established industry giants, creating fresh opportunities and introducing innovative practices.

This presents a favorable opportunity for young adults to join an industry undergoing early-stage evolution, poised to transform the once traditional practice into a highly desirable pursuit. Just as AI is revolutionizing conventional marketing, ushering in roles scarcely imagined three years ago, similar shifts in real estate will introduce fresh job titles and responsibilities. As McKinsey writes, it will rewire the entire way we work in the real estate business even beyond the traditional information technology department. Look for a transformation in operating models.

This industry's significant pivot has the potential to generate heightened interest among job seekers. We stand on the verge of a substantial restructuring of personnel within real estate investment offices, not only in America but also globally.

Emerging talents will be sought after to harness extensive historical data, real-time data, and demographics, enabling the extraction of actionable insights almost instantly from Generative AI. Chances are, your current staff lacks expertise in the neural networks that will serve as the foundation for future real estate investments. Now is the time to enact a plan to bring your enterprise into the modern era.

Expanding beyond real estate investments, AI is positioned to transform the entire landscape of real estate facility management. The continuous gathering of real-time data by the Internet of Things will streamline processing, bringing novel efficiencies to the industry. This shift has the potential to revolutionize energy management specifics, presenting the opportunity to save significant amounts across numerous properties nationwide.

The dynamics of the real estate industry are on the brink of a paradigm shift. Traditional real estate pricing methods are undergoing a radical transformation. Consequently, technologists will be just as, if not more, crucial than deal makers. This metamorphosis will generate fresh prospects within the field, enticing a new generation and modernizing processes to make real estate an appealing pursuit for those who may have previously dismissed the idea of entering the industry.

Jim Small is the CEO of SANTÉ Real Estate Investments.

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