Redfin launches AI-based platform for homebuyers

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Redfin launches AI-based platform for homebuyers

Local zoning laws have shaped the way housing is built in America, but it is hard to know which rules apply to your specific area without digging through local records. A new initiative hopes to provide homebuyers with artificial intelligence.

On Monday, real-estate brokerage company Redfin RDFN announced that it is adding more than 70 million homes description pages to its zoning and land use data.

Zoneomics, a real-estate platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect and analyze zoning data, is a partnership between Redfin RDFN and Zoneomics.

Redfin said that the laws are critical for consumers to understand because they regulate how properties can and cannot be used.

They said that these laws and regulations can be hard for buyers to discern during the homebuying process, because relevant information is often buried on government websites or in complex local zoning codes.

Business and home owners are familiar with how zoning laws can be confusing and limiting.

As Brookings Jenny Schuetz describes in a report from 2019, the county zoning code runs for eight pages, and their ordinance is nearly 400 pages.

Local zoning laws tell you what you can do, what you can build, and what you can't. Parts of the country only allow single-family homes because of these laws.

But in other parts, such as in high-density areas, owners can build apartments or multi-family units, build backyard homes, list their place on a short-term rental website, and so on. That is because their zoning laws allow for that.

Some people have removed zoning because it was a hindrance when trying to build more housing to meet demand. California, for example, has modified single-family zoning to build more units.

The country needs housing: Last year, Freddie Mac FMCC, estimated that the U.S. was short of 3.8 million homes by the end of 2020.

Information on zoning laws can be valuable for a prospective homeowner, especially if they are looking to invest.

This new effort by Redfin is designed to empower prospective buyers by looking for information that can come from a local realtor or through their own research.

Redfin said it would add the zoning descriptions to homes both for sale and off the market. This would include the zone code, name, type, description, and a list of permitted, conditional and accessory land uses.

Matthew Player, the CEO of Zoneomics, said in a statement that Zoning data is a unique and crucial position in the U.S. and Canada, where it is essential but also needlessly gated from the homebuyer.

He said the new service will help consumers get important data and zoning reports without any hassle, democratizing access to zoning data across North America. We want to hear stories from readers who have stories to share about the effects of increasing costs and changing economy. A reporter may be in touch.