Ever wonder if you’ve stumbled into a real estate conference lately? Just count the minutes until AI is mentioned – it’s become the new seven-minute standard.
It feels like 2013 all over again with the buzz around social media and its impact on real estate. Back then, social media was quickly evolving from a way for people to connect to the marketing and advertising powerhouse it is today.
Much like the uncertain future impact of social media back then, the potential effects of AI on real estate remain largely unknown.
While many real estate businesses and agents embraced social media, posting frequently and prominently, others have remained more reserved. There are highly profitable businesses on both ends of the spectrum. Spoiler alert… being active on social media isn’t a prerequisite for profitability in real estate.
However, AI stands apart.
For a large part of our industry, AI is viewed primarily as a tool for lead generation and marketing, echoing the early days of social media. This perspective, understandable given our sector’s focus, potentially overlooks AI’s transformative power across all areas of a real estate business. If we don’t shift our discussion to AI’s comprehensive impact—encompassing operations, client engagement, decision-making, and more—we risk widening the gap between good real estate businesses and those that are truly exceptional. And crucially, more profitable.
Unlike social media, adopting AI shouldn’t be approached with a “let’s wait and see how it goes” or “we don’t need it to be profitable” mindset.
While social media presence can boost visibility and, by extension, profitability, AI penetrates every aspect of a real estate business, from optimising internal processes to enhancing client experiences. It’s not just a tool for increasing lead conversion but a means to drive efficiency and reduce overheads, significantly improving a business’s financial performance.
To view AI merely as a marketing and lead-generation tool is to underestimate its breadth. AI represents a wealth of opportunities that, when properly harnessed, can elevate a good real estate business to greatness. It requires a proactive stance, a willingness to embrace innovation, and a commitment to envisioning a new future for real estate.
Assistants API: A Revolutionary Tool
You’re likely already acquainted with ChatGPT. But if you’re not, I recommend checking out our article on ChatGPT here.
Now, picture having a bespoke version of ChatGPT just for your business, tailored to your data, ready to interact with your clients, prospects, and team. This is no longer a pipe dream.
Launched in November 2023, OpenAI’s Assistants API offers businesses the opportunity to weave AI seamlessly into their operational fabric, streamlining efficiency, automating mundane tasks, and delivering quicker, more precise answers to user questions based on how a person from your business would respond.
Historically, our stance on recommending chatbots to our clients has been one of caution, mainly because the majority of chatbots fall short of expectations. Their lack of a human touch often leads to user frustration, tarnishing your brand’s reputation – the exact opposite of the intended purpose of integrating a chatbot on your website.
Traditional chatbots are programmed with a set of standard questions, guiding users through a rigid, button-clicking process. Particularly in real estate, these chatbots are typically designed to perform singular tasks. Yet, the debut of OpenAI’s Assistants API has dramatically broadened the horizon, enabling chatbots to undertake a myriad of tasks while infusing conversations with a much-needed human element. This not only elevates the user experience but also generates high-quality leads for sales and property management teams.
Moreover, the Assistants API allows for the integration of your internal documentation and procedures, enabling it to address user inquiries consistent with your business’s practices. For instance, should a tenant lodge an urgent maintenance request through a website chat assistant, the system can instantly access your emergency protocols from the internal documents to provide the necessary contact information:
OpenAI has also released far more intelligent AI models that can interpret and respond to queries at a much deeper level.
For example, we recently developed an AI website assistant for our website clients, using the Assistants API, that has human-like conversations with website visitors about anything related to the business or location.
Our AI website assistant, “Aimee”, is trained on the business’s own real-time data and processes as well as integrating with all of the tools the business uses, i.e. their CRM, their website and third-party integrations for application submissions and inspection bookings.
Website visitors can transition seamlessly between enquiries about sales, property management, searching for listings, enquiry about a specific listing or even helping a tenant who needs to report maintenance or check the status of their tenancy – all while feeling like you’re having a conversation with a real person – and send information back to the business’s CRM or via email to an agent.
Aimee is helping:
- Property management teams to deliver better service to tenants while limiting the number of phone calls to their office.
- Sales teams to generate leads by providing instant property estimates and nurturing leads onto an appraisal request.
- Buyers and renters to find listings that match their criteria.
- Business Development Managers to generate landlord clients.
While Aimee is designed to work on a real estate website, the Assistants API could be used to build a knowledge base for your internal teams, onboard staff, and so much more.
But while these technologies are exciting for the real estate industry, they are posing a serious challenge for many real estate businesses.
The Foundation of AI Success: Clean Data and Robust Documentation
At the heart of any successful AI application lies the prerequisite of clean, abundant data and well-structured documentation. For technologies like OpenAI’s Assistants API to unlock their full potential, they require access to precise, accurate, and well-organised information. This is where many real estate businesses find themselves at a crossroads.
Historically, it was possible for profitable real estate businesses to operate with CRMs cluttered with duplicate and incomplete contact data and internal processes documented haphazardly at best. These shortcomings, while not ideal, did not preclude success. However, the advent of AI technologies is rapidly changing this dynamic.
The New Paradigm: AI Readiness as a Competitive Advantage
The reality is stark: if your CRM resembles a labyrinth of unstructured data or if your internal documentation lacks clarity and organisation, your business is not poised to leverage AI. The integration of AI tools is not a simple plug-and-play affair; it necessitates a foundation of meticulously maintained data and processes.
The businesses that are sprinting ahead in this AI revolution are those that have long recognised and acted upon the need for data integrity and systematic documentation. For these frontrunners, AI is not just a new tool but a multiplier of efficiencies and customer experiences, further enhancing their profitability and competitive edge.
Bridging the Gap: From Good to Great in the AI Era
This brings us to a pivotal moment for real estate businesses. The era where suboptimal data management and documentation practices could coexist with profitability is drawing to a close. As AI technologies become increasingly integral to operations, marketing, customer service, and strategic decision-making, the gap between businesses that are AI-ready and those that are not is widening.
The message is clear: to thrive in the rapidly evolving real estate landscape, businesses must prioritise the cleanliness of their data and the quality of their documentation. This is no longer just about operational efficiency; it is about survival, competitiveness, and the ability to harness AI for unparalleled success.
The transition to AI readiness offers an opportunity for real estate businesses to audit, cleanse, and reorganise their data and processes. By doing so, they not only prepare themselves for the integration of AI but also streamline their operations, enhance their service delivery, and, ultimately, position themselves for sustainable growth in the digital age.
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