Artificial Intelligence for Home Searches Actually Works! And Look at What Else AI Can Do.

If you’ve noticed improved property valuations and descriptions on real estate sites lately, you might want to credit artificial intelligence (AI). Platforms like Compass, Zillow, and Redfin are all utilizing AI to enhance the user experience. They’re introducing impressive new search features that truly deliver.

Millennials and the younger generations are resonating with AI. Many are entirely comfortable with AI educating them about home buying, assessing them for loans, or guiding their home searches. They have high expectations of chatbots, which now come with charming names and faces, evolving into 24/7 online personalities.

How AI Works Its Magic

AI discerns patterns from vast amounts of data. As an AI tool amasses more data, it continually refines its capabilities. Using large language models, it can mimic human-like responsiveness to queries. When such a tool produces new commentaries, visuals, or other content, it’s under the umbrella of generative AI.

Modern online messaging features allow users to pose questions using natural language. If a response is unsatisfactory, users can refine their question for a more detailed answer. However, tools like ChatGPT and their counterparts don’t merely provide answers. They can engage in discussions, make arguments, and even apologize for mistakes or abrupt responses.

When a real estate firm or an individual agent integrates AI into their platform, a unique chatbot can be tailored to their specific content. This bot, when interacting with clients, can tap into the entire database of the company’s content, providing insights with a deep understanding of the business.

AI truly excels in lead generation. Picture a potential home buyer intrigued by a few listings but hesitant to engage with a real agent. The AI tool can address initial queries and gauge when the buyer is ready for human assistance.

Simultaneously, AI tools can rapidly analyze relevant information at a pace no human can match. Clearly, agents versed in AI technology have a distinct market advantage.

But Isn’t AI Jeopardizing Agent Positions?

Are agents concerned about AI encroaching on their roles? Undoubtedly, AI is supplanting certain administrative tasks. Consider the decline in cursive writing instruction due to digital printing advancements. While AI might render some human tasks redundant, it also empowers agents aware of its potential.

Agents can deploy AI to manage mundane tasks: uploading property photos, crafting descriptions of homes and environments, refining valuations, and even optimizing listings for SEO.

Moreover, as chatbots refine their skills by processing user interactions, firms and agents gain insights. The data chatbots collect from user queries? A tech-savvy agent can harness that information.

Envision an agent offering personalized chatbots to home buyers. Such a bot could guide new homeowners through various processes, almost as if the agent were by their side. Maybe the chatbot might even suggest optimal refinancing opportunities or introduce the ideal mortgage consultant.

Many buyers would likely weigh a real estate professional’s tech prowess when selecting an agent or firm.

Regarding job displacement, there’s more to consider. For businesses of all sizes, aptly deployed AI can address staff shortages and stabilize seasonal workforce fluctuations, tackling tasks suitable for machine learning. Claiming AI will outright replace humans is likely an oversimplification.

Do Real Estate Industry Associations Advocate for AI?

It appears so, especially considering the stance of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). No one can predict AI’s long-term industry impact. Even AI pioneers testifying before Congress can’t foresee its eventual societal implications – a reason for legislative oversight. This unpredictability is why NAR is keen to keep its agents informed and engaged.

NAR has invited twelve AI firms to compete in the Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit scheduled for Aug. 29–30, 2023, in Miami. NAR is on the hunt for “the next big thing in real estate tech,” as stated by Bob Goldberg, NAR’s CEO.

Two standout companies featured in NAR’s contest are:

  • Accacia: This SaaS company empowers property owners and investors to assess and reduce their carbon footprints systematically.
  • This tool meticulously documents phone conversations, streamlining note-taking, task assignments, and data integration into client management software.

Overall, the association perceives AI as largely beneficial, allowing agents to focus on client interactions rather than data input. This shift could make the profession more rewarding, given many agents thrive on human interaction.

A Word to the Wise Humans

AI adoption is still in its infancy for most real estate entities. There’s the challenge of “edge cases” – instances where AI struggles with rare or unfamiliar queries. Buyers, beware: only a human agent can preempt potential issues to prevent buyer’s remorse.

Exercise caution when providing personal data to chatbots. AI isn’t foolproof and remains prone to errors.

And agents, while AI is an invaluable tool, don’t forsake your expertise. Technology can’t replace the expertise and personal touch of a seasoned real estate professional.

Supporting References:

REALTOR® Magazine, a publication of the National Association of REALTORS®: NAR Announces 12 Tech Startups for iOi Summit’s Pitch Battle (August 8, 2023).

David Goll for Palo Alto Online (Embarcadero Media PR MediaRelease): Real Estate AI is here — and it’s changing the way houses are bought and sold (Aug. 7, 2023; citing figures from Rent Café and others).

David Wieland for Kiplinger Newsletters via How AI Could Benefit Financial and Real Estate Customers (Jul. 31, 2023).

Rich Hopen for HousingWire (HW Media, LLC): Media Savvy Real Estate Agents Look Beyond ChatGPT (Aug. 3, 2023).

American Consumer News, LLC via MarketBeat®: Zillow’s Stock Is Hot – The Housing Market Is Not (Jul. 14, 2023).

And as linked.

More on topics: Property technology, Algorithmic bias

Image credits: James Grills, via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 Int’l; and Sanket Mishra via Pexels.