Technology has changed every aspect of the real estate experience and AI is the next frontier.
The digital disruption machine learning in real estate has caused is undeniable: home buyers and sellers are more empowered than ever to own more of the process. Whether or not they realize it, homebuyers are now using AI in the real estate process from the start.
Nowadays, home buyers are the ones telling their agents the homes they want to see from online searches. Over 89% of people now search online for homes on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com (1). This is a far cry from a person slowly driving through neighborhoods looking for yard signs.
Sellers, too, are leveraging intuitive online platforms and opting to sell their own homes: a recent study found that 25% of people who sold a home did so without the help of a full-service agent (2).
With this influx of technology, the day-to-day for agents has also changed completely. They juggle between various software platforms to create contracts for e-Signing, schedule drone shots and text 24/7 with their clients. Agents also are dealing with a more informed client, who often looks at sites like Zillow as the bearer of truth for listing availability, home value, and other pertinent information. More and more, agents are also relying on these platforms as a critical tool. Agents can help their clients find and sell homes, as well as market themselves to generate new leads.
As Zillow and others continue to have greater influence in the real estate process, these platforms have to cater to both the public and agents. When an issue or question arises, these companies must provide an immediate resolution across many digital channels.
AI in Real Estate: Alleviating the Pain Points in the Buyer and Seller experience
More and more, people are taking the reins in their real estate journey. Whether buying or selling a home, the public is more empowered than ever before thanks to powerful online real estate sites. When issues arise, whether it’s updating a listing to a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or troubleshooting a common account problem, people expect immediate resolutions.
AI in real estate can be leveraged alongside human agents to immediately resolve over 50% of customer issues. Here are some examples:
- Managing FSBO: As more people opt to sell their home as a FSBO, the burden is on them to create a compelling listing to get people in the door. It’s an experience that is unbelievably stressful (take it from me, I did it earlier this year). Machine learning in real estate enables a virtual agent to reply instantaneously to questions like
- “Why did my property get deleted?”
- “How do I change the featured image” or
- “ I need to change the time of my open house.”
- Changing Home Facts: Whether a person is currently selling a home, planning to or is happily in their nest, people want accuracy in their home facts. Machine learning in real estate can now enable a virtual agent to help address concerns like “My square footage should be 2,500 – not 1,800” or “My home is inaccurately listed as a pre-foreclosure.” The Zillow Zestimate, for instance, also raises a lot of concerns for home sellers as buyers increasingly use it as a reference point when making an offer. An AI Agent can be the first line of defense when questions arise like “How is this calculated?” or “My Zestimate is inaccurate. How can I update it?”
- Updating Preferences: Homebuyers will often change their criteria as their search matures. Say a person reaches out to customer service to modify their search parameters with questions like “I want to add 32082 to my search area” or “I actually want to see only pool homes.” An AI Agent that leverages machine learning for real estate can make the changes to the buyer’s profile on the back-end, without burdening human agents with mundane tasks like these.
- Account Management: An AI Agent can automatically troubleshoot common issues like resetting passwords, deferring costly customer service tickets away from human customer service agents. For example, if a seller reaches out saying they can’t see their requested changes to the online listing, the virtual agent can provide the steps to clear their cookies.
AI in Real Estate: Streamlining Support to Empower Agents to Generate More Leads and Close More Deals
A powerful customer segment that online real estate companies can’t ignore is the agent/broker community. There’s a mutually-beneficial relationship. Agents can glean new leads and market their listings on these sites. These platforms benefit from accurate data, advertising revenue and providing an added benefit to the public through agent finder tools.
Online real estate platforms can leverage AI to immediately resolve issues that arise related to advertising, listings, account management and other issues. Here are a few examples:
- Advertising / Paid Marketing: Whether an agent is interested or is currently advertising on a platform, an AI-powered Customer Service Agent can get back to agents immediately for questions related to benefits/costs or even facilitate the start or stop of a campaign. A virtual agent can also automatically provide insights based on current campaign. Or provide recommendations on how campaigns can be improved through better targeting or adjusting other parameters.
- Listing Information: If a listing has any inaccuracies, the agent is going to work to get it updated as quickly as possible. If an agent runs into an issue making changes, they would look for a company to respond immediately. An AI Agent can troubleshoot issues or even make edits to a listing itself on behalf of the agent.
- Account Management: If an agent wants to start, pause or stop a premier / paid program, an AI Agent can be given the authority to facilitate a request. In certain situations, for instance, a high-value agent is requesting to close their account, an AI Agent can ask “Why are you looking to close your account?” before being elevated to a human agent to try and coerce to stay.
AI in Real Estate: How to modernize customer support and exceed customer expectations
Real estate can be high-pressure. If a buyer/seller or agent runs into an issue on influential real estate platforms, they expect immediate resolutions. AI can respond instantaneously to over 50% of repeatable tickets. This enables human customer service agents to focus on more complex customer needs.
Are you an online real estate company looking to capture more market share and increase CSAT through customer-first support? We’d love to chat.
- Investopedia: Zillow vs. Realtor vs. Redfin (June 25, 2019)
- Forbes: Selling Your Home ‘By Owner’: What’s Really Happening? (January 17, 2017)