By Andreea on May 8, 2018 4:08:00 PM
“Benji?”, Judy called out into the seemingly empty apartment as she stepped out of Seattle’s cold and gloomy weather and into her cozy home. “Benji, we need to move to LA, to a three-bedroom beach house with a porch and a pool,” she demanded as she buried herself under a warm blanket. “There are twenty properties that match,” the A.I. avatar responded. “Would you like me to set up an appointment or would you prefer a virtual tour?” Benji asked. “Virtual tours will do,” Judy said, suddenly feeling elated, “I’ll watch them on my VR headset.”
Although A.I. technologies like Computer Vision are impressive, A.I. has yet to become as responsive as Benji. But give it a few more years and smart home systems should be capable of answering real estate inquiries. Connected systems will be able to help buyers and renters locate their next home, based on their preferences. Prospective customers will even be able to take virtual tours of properties without ever having to leave the comfort of their sofas.
The capabilities of A.I. systems are still limited. However, property searches, onsite property tours, and virtual tours are shaping up as “first contact” for people in search of a home.
As indicated by the National Association of REALTORS® in their 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 51% of home buyers in 2016 found the properties they bought online. It’s unclear how they searched for prospective properties, but one thing is certain: chatbots would have made the selection process easier and quicker.
Today, there are existing chatbots such as Truss’ Vera that are capable of carrying out specific tasks. Vera, in particular, can help potential renters find and lease small to medium-sized offices. Another example is Holmes, an A.I.-driven sales bot that’s designed to answer simple queries. Whenever it’s unable to come up with an answer, the bot notifies a human agent who will step in and provide a satisfying response.
As machine learning advances, chatbots will become more proficient in answering complicated search requests. In the near future, they will even be able to respond to queries through voice technology.
Onsite Property Tours
Consumers won’t be able to witness robots conducting house tours any time soon. But, for now, they can enjoy Zenplace’s home tour experience. The tech startup built a bot that comes with a tablet attached to a pole on wheels. It then streams a live feed of a real estate agent who does the tour and steers the robot. This simulated robot may be far from the actual thing, but it is enough to expand the number of showings that realtors can accommodate within a day.
Proptech is revolutionizing house-hunting. With the integration of virtual reality into online brokerage, virtual tours are becoming the norm. Thanks to companies like Matterport, buyers are able to view properties even when they’re halfway across the world. Matterport creates proportionally accurate 3D walkthroughs of properties listed with Redfin. The partnership’s intent is to make the virtual experience as similar to stepping into an actual physical space as possible.
The Impact of A.I. on Real Estate
Real estate professionals who embrace these innovations can gain a competitive edge over those who do not. By implementing these technologies, progressive professionals will stand out in this new era. And with the integration of virtual or augmented reality services into real estate transactions, agencies are bound to tap into new markets.
As for consumers, robots won’t be able to show them a property just yet. However, advanced machine learning should help them find the right prospects, locate cost-efficient sellers, and even take them on virtual tours.
Since A.I. systems are proficient in synthesizing data and carrying out tasks, they can provide both buyers and sellers with quick and easy transactions. Best of all, these innovations can reduce operational costs and improve the quality of customer services. The age of enjoyable and frictionless real estate transactions is dawning.