How Will Artificial Intelligence In Real Estate Affect Buyers And Sellers?


Artificial intelligence. These recently reoccurring buzzwords might conjure up benevolent images like C3PO, R2D2 or even Watson on Jeopardy; while on the other hand they may highlight more malevolent images like the Terminator. Advancements in artificial intelligence are striking and are pointing to changes in several different industries as this technology develops, including even real estate. While AI has lead to some unease due to people fearing their job replacement by AI technology, there are a number of advantages to be gained from it’s use (and humans are not in danger of being simply replaced). Here’s a brief overview of 4 ways AI is already being used in real estate and why the human factor will still be vastly important when it comes to real estate.     


AI Advancements In Real Estate

The real estate industry is already seeing the use of AI and some of these you may already be making use of. Many of these uses improve both the customer experience and the business side as well. The four most common implementations are listed below.


  • Chatbots: You’ve likely already run into these on websites or Facebook , as they can handle basic questions and general inquiries. Chatbots can prove useful in information gathering and customer interaction. From the customer side, they can get easy to answer questions (such as the cost of a property) answered at any time without having to wait for a person to respond or for the office to open (in case you’re maybe looking for a property at 9pm after you just put the kids to sleep). From the realtor side, this frees up time and allows for useful information gathering about potential customers for future follow-ups.    
  • Search Engines: AI can also work behind the scenes by improving search engine results. Search engines, in general, are getting more accurate due to AI. By tracking past results, several key variables, and consumer behavior patterns; search results for property are becoming far more accurate.   
  • Property Suggestions: Another area of improvement is property suggestions for potential buyers. A bot versus broker test proved that the AI backed suggestions were high-quality ones. This works on the basis of using previous search results to drill down common themes and recurring elements in customer preferences and searches.  
  • Monetary Aspects: Nonetheless, not all AI improvements are on the customer side. AI is also being used to estimate the odds of a customer defaulting on a loan, predicting lifetime earnings of a property, and even creating timetables for the odds of major repair needs. This helps take the uncertainty out of the financial side of real estate.    


The Human Element Is Still Required

Despite the fears that machines will displace and disrupt entire industries, this is unfounded according to many industry experts such as Peter Thiel and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton. While AI can certainly automate many aspects of industry, the human element is still a requirement. While AI can answer basic questions with exact answers or give a virtual home tour (without needing human interaction) it can’t quite hold a conversation (understanding full semantics), answer questions that are more nuanced, or give an in-person tour. The human element is absolutely still a requirement and much of the data AI produces requires human review to make proper use of. Also, AI implementations such as search engines require regular updates and review to ensure correct operations and overall efficiency.


Final Thoughts

Artificial intelligence is changing some of the ways realtors and clients operate in the real estate industry. Nonetheless, it will not replace humans entirely. Artificial intelligence still can’t make judgment calls or relate to people on a personal or emotional level. AI above all is a tool and one you can make use of to improve performance, but it is not is a replacement for what knowledgeable, experienced and professionally experienced realtors bring to the table.


If you’re considering making real estate decisions in Charleston, let’s talk about what’s available.