Compass debuts AI tool to advise on home renovations

Intel based on scores of “before and after” photos

Compass CTO Joseph Sirosh (Getty, iStock)
Compass CTO Joseph Sirosh (Getty, iStock)

Compass is launching an AI-powered tool to help homeowners visualize improvements and determine what upgrades to make, building on the firm’s program that fronts the cost of home renovations.

Compass Lens draws on hundreds of millions of listing photos and uses artificial intelligence to make recommendations to maximize the home’s value, the brokerage said.

Specifically, its data set includes scores of “before and after” pictures of renovated homes that sold. Compass engineers devised a room recognition system that matches a client’s home with similar, completed projects. The room recognition feature allows agents and clients to browse pictures of similar projects, analyze sales data and use that information to determine if a renovation will help their own prospects.

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Compass said the photos are based on homes that were renovated through its Concierge program, which covers up front costs for staging and cosmetic improvements. Sellers repay the cost of repairs after the sale closes.

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The brokerage billed the new tool as one that clients and agents can use safely amid the pandemic. The firm said Compass Lens can be used completely virtually, eliminating the need for an agent to walk through a home and advise on improvements. Compass said in a statement that the new tool allows “home sellers to prepare their home for the market without any in-person meetings or viewings.”

AI has been a focus of Compass engineers under chief technology officer Joseph Sirosh, the former CTO of AI at Microsoft, who joined the startup in 2018.

The firm, which has raised $1.5 billion in capital from investors, including SoftBank, has 17,000 agents across the U.S. Its sales volume last year topped $91.3 billion, up from $45.5 billion in 2018, according to real estate data firm RealTrends.

Compass temporarily scaled back its Concierge service (along with bridge loan advances) at the request of lending partners in March. Last month, the firm reinstated Concierge with some caveats. Agents will be suspended from the program if they have two or more clients who used Concierge but have not listed or paid back the funds in a timely manner.

Compass says 5,000 agents used Concierge last year on 11,000 listings valued at $8.5 billion. That accounted for 17.5 percent of the brokerages’ listings.