Discussions about how artificial intelligence (AI) will alter the workforce as we know it is a hot topic among thought leaders, including those in the housing and real estate ecosystem. While some fear that improvements in machine learning and cognitive intelligence will present a threat to jobs—which is certainly an important concern—others see AI as a helpful tool for real estate professionals.
When hearing the term “AI,” people often think of chatbots and Siri or Alexa; however, experts see AI as having greater potential as a common helper in the real estate industry—being able to communicate with buyers in an intelligent manner and identify important signals for property regulations, such as RegTech.
Technology can assist the industry in property management, application processing and data synthesizing so that agents and brokers can focus on connecting with clients and helping them with the emotional process of buying or selling a home.
Here are some ways real estate professionals can utilize AI to improve their operations and increase their business growth:
- For property management, advanced machine learning can streamline everyday processes for tenants, property managers and landlords by helping find suitable tenants, locate vendors and provide alerts for routine maintenance and management tasks.
- Increase the number of recommendations your clients can choose from through AI. Agents can convert their knowledge of a client’s wants into data an algorithm can use to find a higher number of matches at a faster rate.
- AI can provide virtual tours for interested homebuyers and answer simple technical questions about the property on behalf of the agent, such as square footage, questions about the lease and more, through 24/7 chat boxes. More nuanced questions can be transferred to the agent.
- Agents can maintain long-term relationships with their clients for when they need help moving, selling or even buying multiple properties in the future through AI-based customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
These are just a few of the ways AI is being developed into the way real estate professionals conduct their business. AI can be a helpful tool that can make everyday tasks more efficient and provide assistance to clients at a moment’s notice, rather than a replacement for the agent themselves. It’s important to remember that AI is not without flaws. Some worry that AI creators and users will include their own biases within new technology, causing more roadblocks and harm to minorities.
Innovators are working to make AI great at problem solving, automatic processing, data collecting and so on, but being an agent or broker requires skills that AI doesn’t have: the expert advice of a professional who has worked in the field for over 20 years; the ethics to make sure AI is used responsibly; the ability to listen and understand the needs of a client; the intuition to know when a property is a good fit or deal; and the empathy to sympathize and provide moral support when homebuyers get cold feet or things don’t go according to plan.
Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, Entrepreneur.com named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.
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