Why real estate agents can’t “bury their head in the sand” with AI

In less than six months, Chat GPT has exploded onto the scene and has changed the way businesses worldwide operate.

While it’s still early days for AI in the real estate industry, innovative agents and owners are already looking at ways they can capitalise on the next generation of technology.

Entrepreneur and tech advisor Jeff Turner said given the rate of change, agencies wont be able to “bury their head in the sand” any longer.

Mr Turner said the speed at which AI is changing the way businesses operate, reminds him of the first time he saw a graphical user interface on a Mac computer in 1984.

“Nothing is going to be as sweeping as AI is going to be,” Mr Turner said.

“I believe it is literally going to touch every area of business – every single area.” 

Mr Turner said he can already see the early signs that AI is going to dramatically alter the way real estate is conducted.

He said AI tools have already altered the way listings are written, the staging of real estate images are taken and even how important contracts are reviewed.

“What happens when the AI gets so good and it’s integrated into search so that when I go to look at a property, I get a different property description than when you go to look at a property?” he said.

“Because it understands who I am and what I want and what I’m looking for, based upon the data of my searches that I’ve been spending a lot of time on.”

Interactions with documents and contracts

Mr Turner believes one of the next AI innovations will be the ability to have conversations with important documents such as real estate contracts.

“This is the part where I think people begin to get scared of this technology, if this robot, ChatGPT or any other language model, can give detailed feedback at a level that is equivalent or surpassing an average real estate agent’s ability to explain a contract, what’s left for me?” he said.

“And I think this is where people fall into the trap of not understanding fully the value that an agent brings to the equation in managing the process of buying and selling a home.”

Know your value

Mr Turner said that with the advent of AI, agents will be forced to really understand what value they bring to the table.

While AI wont be able to replace human interactions and relationships, Mr Turner said there will be areas in the industry that will be replaced.

“I want every single person who’s selling and working with consumers in the real estate industry to really sit down and ask themselves the question, ‘What is my value’?” he said.

“What value do I bring to this and how do I enhance that? 

“It can’t be writing property descriptions.

“If that’s it, then yes, you’re going to lose your job because AI’s going to do that better than you.”

Time to start playing with AI

Mr Turner said if agents and agency owners haven’t thought about how they can incorporate AI in their business model, they need to – now.

“If you built your business plan, back last June, you should be completely rethinking it,” he explained.

“You should be sitting down and saying, ‘OK, in light of everything that’s happening from a technology standpoint, what am I missing if I don’t embrace certain aspects of this technology and should I be concerned about these things’?

“If you are a business leader who isn’t thinking about how you integrate these technologies into your business, I think you’re fooling yourself.

“I think you’re burying your head in the sand and you need to get it out.”

  • Want to test your businesses adaptability quotient (AQ) or ability to thrive in changing, unpredictable environments? Take our AQ scorecard and get a free report here.
  • Are you curious about how you can adapt, empower and accelerate your business and get ahead of the AI curve? Jeff Turner will be one of the headline presenters at Elite Retreat in Bali in July, where he will reveal what real estate business owners need to do to not just make sense of AI, but harness its power to build their brand.
  • You can find out more about Elite Retreat and the lineup of speakers and experts attending here.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.