Artificial Intelligence in real estate - threat or asset?

While current Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology might not yet be everything we imagined just yet, many are already discussing the impact of what is already out there. What impact will it have on the real estate industry, if any?


Russ Cofano, wrote about intelligent software from a real estate agent’s point of view and suggested that it can be an asset and not a threat to real estate agents, as it could add tangible knowledge to the real estate agent’s collective insights. Asking: “ What if cognitive computing enables agents to be better professionals and make better recommendations to their clients? What if access to cognitive computing power, and the data necessary to power it, becomes the 21st century equivalent of the MLS utility?”

Further, Cofano states, “Cognitive computing has the potential to add massive value to the real estate brokerage value proposition and do for agent professionalism what no other initiative could touch.”

However, Rob Hahn has stated that “…rote procedures and manual inputs are being displaced by technology. Why would it be any different for the rote procedures and manual inputs in the real estate business?

Answer: it won’t.

Those real estate agents who survive will have to be ‘upskilled’ and focus on niche areas or ‘be equipped to handle smart systems.'”

Comparing the two different views

On the one hand, AI will improve real estate agent’s core capabilities to serve their clients and on the flipside, AI wipes away the entire foundation of repetitive services performed in real estate, which eliminates the need for a large number of agents.

It is worth noting that while many new technologies have come into the real estate industry, it has not done away with the agent but has impacted the way business has done.

So why is that?

The answer is quite human: personalized intelligence (unique local knowledge, negotiation etc.) and personal relationships (emotional IQ)

Personal relationship skills seem to be the single most important factor, as people want to list with people and according to most surveys the top three requirements that seller’s value in a real estate agent is their reputation, honesty, and trustworthiness.

Current AI technology, while impressive, cannot replace the human touch and for a lot of people the whole concept is “too intrusive.”

In the future though, the intelligence provided by an exceptional AI platform could help a real estate agent use their vast knowledge to better close deals and gain clients by learning from the agent’s devices throughout the sale process.

However, buying a home is not just driven by data but also by emotion and right now AI cannot provide that emotional IQ that will help seal the deal.

And this why AI won’t be able to replace the agent ( for the foreseeable future anyway) - the personal relationships people build with their real estate agents cannot be replicated by a machine. Yes, AI will be able to create a smarter agent with more knowledge and data available to them but in the end the deal will be sealed by a real estate agent the home buyer and seller trusts.

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