Thursday, September 28, 2023

How AI is transforming the luxury real estate business right now

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With the sudden proliferation of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, 2023 will likely go down in history as the year artificial intelligence changed the game forever. Its impact reaches nearly every industry, including luxury real estate. So what are the implications of this still-nascent technology on the real estate business? That’s what this expert panel has convened to answer.

Frances Lisner, Real Estate Salesperson (Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty); Rochelle Townsend, Real Estate Professional (Jamaica Sotheby’s International Realty); Colleen Riley, Real Estate Professional (Sotheby’s International Realty – Cape Cod Osterville Brokerage); Chloe Powell, Real Estate Professional (Hunt Country Sotheby’s International Realty); Louis A. Magnano II, Real Estate Associate (Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage) – not pictured.

Should luxury agents be alarmed by the ubiquity and capability of today’s AI?

Lisa Thompson – Hunt Country Sotheby’s International Realty

Frances Lisner: Residential real estate is a very personal and emotional business. AI can’t replace human connection, but it can make processes more efficient, more personalized, and more data-driven. There’s efficiency in leveraging AI algorithms to analyze consumer data and create personalized property recommendations based on the buyer’s preferences, budget, and lifestyle.

Louis Magnano: I agree — agents should be thinking about AI as a way to enhance the customer service experience. Using AI saves agents time and effort while providing personalized service. We should remain informed about AI’s current state and understand its potential advantages.

What are some ways you’re already adopting AI tools in your real estate practice?

John Messina – Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty

Chloe Powell: I use AI every day, and it’s making my business better. I’ve uploaded the copy I use in my marketing, as well as previous listing descriptions, so that it can understand how I communicate in my own personal brand. I’m treating it like a virtual assistant, and I’m learning new ways to delegate. My clients expect video captions and listing descriptions that are of the highest quality, and now I’m able to do this all at the click of a button.

Colleen Riley: Likewise, Al has helped me develop creative ad copy and think outside the box by asking me questions about the house and area. And it doesn’t just ask questions — it answers them. I’m able to receive insights about a particular property in seconds, whether it’s details about the area or statistics on local demographics.

Rochelle Griffiths-Townsend: A lot of agents have been using AI tools long before the generative AI boom, too. For example, Calendly and other CRM tools improve booking processes, while Agently provides helpful copy for better listing descriptions. The biggest benefit of AI for me has been automation.

LM: Automation is huge — such as providing accurate property valuations, finding targeted leads more efficiently, and creating virtual tours and realistic 3D models. AI-driven platforms like HomeSnap and CubiCasa are already helping with all of this.

CP: And with Adobe Photoshop’s newest generative AI, I’m able to add virtual staging to my image in less than 5 seconds. Most recently, I’ve been using ChatGPT to help create local guides, pull census data and build charts that we can then implement into marketing documents. This would have taken us hours of work to research, but now it’s generated in a matter of seconds.

What applications do you foresee for AI in real estate?

Julian Dixon – Jamaica Sotheby’s International Realty

FL: I expect that we’ll see more advanced applications of AI in smart homes, enabling homeowners to automate tasks and manage their properties more efficiently.

CR: I see enormous potential for client-facing chatbots — an Al popping up and asking the viewer if they would like any information about the area or other specific detail, as well as setting up appointments to view homes.

CP: One of the biggest impacts I foresee is how SEO will evolve. A lot of agents rely on their websites and blogs to attract business. Since AI can write blogs, code, and long-form text, I believe the way Google, Bing, and other search engines categorize SEO will be completely overhauled. And when we’re no longer improving our websites with blogs, videos will be front and center. Having a personal brand, and having yourself in your marketing, is so important — AI cannot be you.

It sounds like you’re optimistic about AI’s potential. Any final thoughts on this topic?

Colleen Riley – Sotheby’s International Realty – Cape Cod Osterville

RGT: My main advice is to not be averse to change, as AI will continue to evolve and have a significant impact on luxury real estate. That impact can be immensely positive, but only if the proper tools and systems are implemented and managed properly. As the saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.”

FL: Another saying we used when I worked in tech is, “Garbage in, garbage out,” — meaning that AI is only effective if it’s trained on good data, practices, and prompts. It’s important to keep the human element and to remember these tools are here to help, not do the work for you. The AI is only as good as the agent using it.


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