In his latest Snapshot profile, Brandon Doyle looks at Nathan Brennan’s impact on the real estate industry through AI and computer vision and how technological innovation can revolutionize industries.
Inman contributor Brandon Doyle made it his goal to interview 100 real estate professionals. Here’s a Snapshot of those conversations.
Nathan Brennan is the chief product officer for Restb.ai. His journey from an AI software developer in the energy sector to a pioneering figure in the real estate industry is a tale of ambition, adaptability and groundbreaking achievements.
Transitioning from the energy industry to real estate
Brennan’s venture into real estate began five years ago, building upon a decade-long expertise in AI software development. His transition from the energy industry to real estate was sparked by an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona and an encounter with Restb.ai, an early AI real estate pioneer.
“Real estate is an ideal industry to benefit from computer vision,” Brennan notes, reflecting on how this field’s reliance on imagery presented a unique opportunity for his skills in AI.
Transitioning to real estate allowed Brennan to experience a more personal, connection-driven industry. “Rather than working with large, faceless, multinational firms, I’m now in an industry full of close-knit personal connections,” he says. This shift not only enriched his professional relationships but also gave him a platform to implement AI solutions with a profound impact on the industry.
Simplifying the complexity of AI
As chief product officer, Brennan’s role involves simplifying complex AI processes to create user-friendly products. He emphasizes the significance of making AI approachable and functional for clients. “My job is to make sure our products take out all of the behind-the-scenes complexity and simply work for our clients and partners,” he asserts.
Brennan’s excitement about computer vision’s potential in real estate is palpable. He explains how AI can process a million images uploaded to MLSs daily, providing standardized datasets for subjective elements like a home’s condition, quality or style.
“You now can know that your home is in the 67th percentile of quality in your neighborhood,” Brennan illustrates, showcasing the practical applications of this technology.
Addressing current industry challenges, Brennan advises a long-term perspective. “I think if you make decisions with a longer-term mindset, then it makes it easier to determine what your company should be doing today,” he recommends, highlighting the importance of strategic foresight in an industry facing rapid change.
Integrating advanced computer vision
Brennan takes pride in Restb.ai’s achievement of integrating advanced computer vision technology across nearly the entire US MLS industry. This feat demonstrates the growing acceptance and reliance on AI in real estate, a trend that Brennan believes will only intensify. “You can’t speed up the clock to develop the best AI as it requires hundreds of improvements and iterations over time,” he explains.
Brennan clarifies that computer vision, like human vision, can understand images and videos. He compares it to neural networks in deep learning and large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, noting that all these AI models learn from vast amounts of data.
Restb.ai’s collaborations span the real estate spectrum, from MLS solutions to brokerage platforms and valuation services. Brennan notes the company’s significant involvement with industry giants like CoreLogic, Black Knight and RE/MAX, illustrating Restb.ai’s extensive reach.
Brennan envisions AI’s impact on real estate as a series of incremental improvements across various processes, making operations more efficient and user-friendly. He imagines a future where AI provides instant, actionable insights for homeowners and real estate professionals alike.
Restb.ai takes data security seriously, ensuring that clients’ images and information remain protected. Brennan also acknowledges the concerns around AI perpetuating biases. “With computer vision, we’re able to control every piece of data that the AI is trained over,” he assures, highlighting their efforts to audit and review datasets for biases.
Introducing advanced AI technology in real estate requires a tailored approach. Restb.ai had to align its offerings with client needs and industry practices. Looking forward, Brennan urges the industry to prepare for AI’s implications, advocating for a proactive stance to remain competitive.
Nathan Brennan’s impact on the real estate industry through AI and computer vision is profound and far-reaching. His journey with Restb.ai exemplifies how technological innovation, when thoughtfully applied, can revolutionize industries.
Brennan’s work not only enhances efficiency and accuracy in real estate transactions but also paves the way for a future where technology and human expertise coalesce to create unparalleled value in the property market.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.