Balancing AI and Humanity in real estate: The PAIRS Pathway to Success

The 30th of November last year heralded the beginning of a new industrial revolution – the age of AI.

The rise of free and easy-to-use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, will fundamentally reshape our world as consumers and our businesses as we know them.

And it’s going to do it faster than an unwanted sniffle spreads at a sausage sizzle.

This might surprise you, but I’ve been thinking about pretty much nothing else since Christmas last year, knowing that change would rapidly come to our own business.

I was proved right with one Sydney agency writing the copywriter’s career obituary just recently.

​And ChatGPT thinks it has me pegged too.

This makes me literally one prompt away from having my writing style and tone copied by a robot.

But, it’s not just me I’ve been thinking about – I’ve also been putting serious human processing time into (and speaking to a lot of experts) about how real estate businesses adapt and thrive amidst this new age, which will require different skills and approaches from all of us.

From a practical point of view, I’ve also written separate posts for real estate agents on:

This is not to mention things like buyer-aware property descriptions, creating internal wikis, video stunt doubles and more. They are not far off.

Do good things come in PAIRS?

I came up with an acronym for our most recent Transform cohort – which is PAIRS.

But before we delve into PAIRS, let’s stare into the crystal ball to think ahead about the impact of AI on the real estate industry.

Immediate future:

A larger percentage of the real estate world wakes up to what tools like ChatGPT can do – and they take that blue pill from The Matrix and start using these apps to create generic, automated content because it’s fast, easy and cheap. (NB at AREC, when ChatGPT was mentioned, about 1/3 of hands went up, so we do have a little bit to go for everyone to catch on!!).

Somewhat further out:

As a result of both the inevitable content explosion, along with ease of data access, here are a few ‘maybe’ outcomes:

  • All of the tools you use in your agency will be some kind of AI-enabled and there will be a high temptation to just ‘do what the robot says’ because it’s quicker – and it will be, but not necessarily good for future you!
  • An industry that finds it hard to differentiate now looks, sounds and acts even more same-same. Letterbox drops are produced by AI and look even more generic than they do now.
  • Digital communication (which is easy because it’s conflict and emotion-free) replaces relationships and creates even further downward pressure on fees.
  • Consumers can get even more answers online and can chat with PDFs such as contracts, agency agreements, insurance policies and more via GPT4, so there is even less of a need to talk with the local agent.
  • Tools like GPT4 and Bard act as interceptors for search, meaning all that work you put into your website and local SEO don’t quite work like they used to.

But hey, we’re all heaps more efficient now so are we winning overall?

Not so fast.

What is PAIRS?

PAIRS stands for Play, Adaptability Quotient, Impact, Relationships/Solving the Struggle, and Storytelling.

Let’s dive into each of them.


In this rapidly evolving landscape, adopting a playful approach to new tech is essential. So, instead of being overwhelmed, approach it with curiosity and a sense of play. Experiment with different AI tools (like Mid Journey, ChatGPT, Bard, Synthesia and more) and techniques. Some will resonate with your business, others won’t. The key lies in continual learning and innovation. Listen to Jeff Turner talk about why we need to play more to understand what’s coming here.


In an ever-changing industry, your ability to adapt is crucial. AQ is a measure of how well you can adjust to new circumstances. High AQ businesses are resilient and can get on top of new opportunities as they arise. Cultivating AQ involves continuous learning, being open to change, and fostering a flexible culture in your team. In fact, AQ is the #1 skill that Silicon Valley is recruiting for right now. Listen to Future Crunch talk about that here (and assess your own AQ with our scorecard here).


Based on the insights from Tim Duggan’s book Cult Status, impact extends beyond profitability to signify a business’s ability to make a difference. It’s about contributing positively to society, not just selling properties. Some great businesses have been thinking about this for some time. Listen to Tim Duggan talking about how to build an agency people adore here.

RELATIONSHIPS (aka, solve the struggle, add value)

Save time with AI, spend it wisely. That means using the robot to carve your admin and marketing time up and using that time to talk to people and help them with their real moving struggles.

I’ve written articles about solving the struggle before, here’s what I mean about spending/saving time:

→ Save time writing emails and letters
→ Spend that time making the hard phone calls (before you hit send on that letter or email!)

→ Save time creating content for social media
→ Spend that time engaging with your customer’s content

→ Save time writing listing descriptions
→ Spend that time solving your customer’s struggles

→ Save time on competitor research
→ Spend that time crafting and refining your own USP

→ Save time on proofreading
→ Spend that time putting more customer focus into campaigns

→ Save time writing job descriptions
→ Spend that time in productive 1:1s with your people

→ Save time absorbing videos and educational content
→ Spend that time networking face to face

→ Save time writing press releases
→ Spend that time creating an impact on the community


In a world likely to become saturated with AI-generated content, Steve Jobs’s prediction of the storyteller being the most powerful person in the room will be even more of a reality.

This is because storytelling, at its heart, is a deeply human trait. It’s how we’ve passed down knowledge and culture over the millennia, and it’s how we connect with each other on a profound level.

Stories have the power to tap into our emotions, evoke empathy, and stimulate our brains in a way that raw data and information can’t.

Telling compelling stories about properties, neighbourhoods, or your own business can create an emotional connection with your clients when you make them the hero.


It’s on these pillars that I have built this year’s Elite Retreat program for forward-thinking, curious real estate leaders.

Future-proofing your real estate business in the age of AI is not just about embracing technology, but also about amplifying what makes us human.

It’s about balancing the efficiency of AI with the empathy of human interaction, and about leveraging the power of AI to do what it does best while focusing human effort on the areas where we excel – building relationships, understanding emotions, and making a genuine impact.

The future is undoubtedly full of changes which are actually amazing opportunities to rewrite some of the existing rules, if you can swiftly adapt to new conditions and use the superpowers you’ve been bestowed with wisely.


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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.