Forbury Portal

Why robots will struggle to do professional valuers out of their jobs

Opinion
December 2, 2020

Author: Ashley Lane

As artificial intelligence cuts a swathe through established industries and professions, is it time property valuers began pondering their career prospects?

At this stage, the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Some elements of the role – think crunching numbers and benchmarking formulae and results – are certainly ripe for automation.

Just as accounting firms delegate repetitive tasks to sophisticated solutions and lawyers use robotic process automation to sift through documents, property valuers will inevitably embrace programs that help them analyse data and identify trends.

It’s somewhat surprising they’ve not already done so – except, of course, to those who’ve spent time in the industry. Folk in the know are cognizant of the fact that property is one of the most conservative of sectors – hidebound and happy to be that way.

It’s one of the reasons why the proptech market isn’t yet crowded with sophisticated, AI-driven solutions. Times are a-changing though. The emergence of a younger cohort of tech savvy leaders will see more strategic decisions predicated on data, and fewer on gut feel.

Even as that occurs, it’s unlikely owners and investors will be content to leave the critical determination of how a property is worth solely in the ‘hands’ of a robot. Rather, they’ll want to see its numbers interpreted and validated by an experienced valuer who can augment them with local knowledge.

Just as the emergence of LinkedIn didn’t throw recruiters out of work a decade or so back, AI solutions will only pose a threat to those valuers who don’t recognise them for the powerful aid that they are. Those who adopt them to enhance the quality of their service are likely to find themselves in continuing demand in the digital world of today and tomorrow.

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