Artificial intelligence, or AI, has risen steadily in recent years and it looks like it’s here to stay. If you’re working in real estate in Australia, it’s time to start considering the implications for the property industry?
AI alone won’t be able to run an agency, but it does offer opportunities for real estate agents to improve their services and sell homes more efficiently.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence, as it exists today, is what is known as narrow AI. This means a computer can learn, or be taught, to do one type of thing, unlike the human brain which can learn to do a vast number of different tasks. Narrow AI is what makes things like Siri and self-driving cars work.
There’s already a multitude of applications for AI in real estate. At One Agency we’re all about using technologies to run a smarter and more cost-effective business, so today we discuss the current benefits of AI to our industry.
AI doesn’t necessarily mean robots replacing humans. It is about using data to take the guesswork out of decisions
What applications could AI have in real estate?
Artificial intelligence has emerged in many different shapes and forms, some we use in our everyday life without a second thought — for instance, the internet of things (IoT) in software like Siri and Google Home — and others which exist all around us. You may also make use of AI when you advertise a property online through Facebook or Google Ads.
AI doesn’t necessarily mean robots replacing humans. It is about using data to take the guesswork out of decisions and transactions. It can help us find answers that improve relationships, but you need to know how to analyse it and find opportunities to get more deals done, faster.
Below are some of the ways Artificial Intelligence can be utilised within the real estate industry:
1. Property market predictions
Automated Valuation Model (AVM) are algorithms currently used to predict the value of a property using past sales results. It accounts for factors like property size, age, stage of repair and sale price to help determine the market value of a home for sale. In the future, it’s possible this technology could be used to assess buyers themselves – their income, needs and what they’re looking for in a home.
2. Marketing automation
The more you know about a person, the easier it is to advertise to them. For a human to collect data about prospective clients is a mammoth and cumbersome task. But for AI software? It’s all in a day’s work! AI software can analyse vast quantities of data and take subtle clues into account, based on internet searches, social media behaviour and other information to determine a prospective client’s needs.
AI automation is also used in the form of chatbots – bots programmed to chat to people online in a human-like manner on websites or social sites like Facebook. Human agents can jump in on these chats to provide more personalised information, but it saves them from having to answer basic questions over and over again.
4. PropTech and Portals
PropTech, which simply means technology used in property (or real estate), uses AI technology in everything from building materials to software. Real estate portals have the opportunity to greatly improve their user experience through artificial intelligence. One perhaps surprising use of AI in recent technology is Netflix – the streaming service will ‘recommend’ shows based on what you’ve previously watched. A similar principle is used by portals and email marketing tools to tailor property search results based on what potential buyers have searched for and liked previously.
As a general rule, automation means tedious, repetitive and time-consuming tasks can be taken off human hands, giving agents more time to complete important, and more lucrative, tasks.
What are the risks of AI to the real estate industry?
Increasingly, industries are under threat from automation. However, jobs which rely on social interaction and negotiation skills are harder to automate as these require refined interpersonal skills currently beyond the scope of AI.
On the ABC programme The AI Race, it was stated that 9% of real estate work could be done by a robot – this is compared to 86% for construction work – so there is little cause for concern. At this stage, it seems that AI represents more good than ill for real estate. We can use AI to perform repetitive tasks and data analysis to levels unachievable to humans, leaving more time for us to create meaningful relationships with clients.
Technology will always keep marching on; it’s up to us whether we embrace it or let it overtake us. As real estate agents, we need to ask ourselves several questions. Is AI technology improving our customer experience? Is it making our work more efficient? Is it making our advertising more targeted and effective? If the answer is yes, then we have every reason to use artificial intelligence to our advantage.