Chat Bots and the Future of Real Estate Search

How artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT are going change the way that we search for homes and what you as a real estate professional should know.

Back in March, if you are a regular Zebra Report reader, you would have read our Zebra Report talking about all the latest tech trends in real estate and what we might see in the future. Today I want to share more about chat bots like ChatGPT.

If you haven't been reading the technology news headlines lately, you might be asking, "What in the world is ChatGPT?" ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool developed by OpenAI. It allows you to have these human-like conversations with a chat bot. Sounds pretty cool, but it does much more than just that. This isn't like last generation's chatbot. It can also answer questions, assist with tasks like finding information, performing research, writing emails and essays, and even writing computer code. You name it.

So how does this affect real estate? Let's talk about how it is going to be used and some things that you as a real estate professional should know.

Let's go back 20 years ago. Do you remember when Zillow first came out? Everyone in the industry looked at it and we thought, "Well how is that supposed to work?"

Well, Zillow has amassed such an incredible amount of data and information, putting them - and a few other companies - in a prime position to leverage the power of artificial intelligence and chat bots like ChatGPT in new ways.

Let's talk about home searched. Right now if you were to go and search for homes that are for sale, you're going to a search engine, Zillow, Redfin, a brokerage website, an agent's website, and you'll type in "3-bedroom homes, 2 baths" and it will come up with all the listings in its database that fit that criteria.

However, with tools like ChatGPT, we are going to be able to do something totally new that could not be done with our previous technology. It might look something like this. You could be having a "conversation" with a bot like ChatGPT and then ask it something like,

  • "Show me all the 3-bedroom homes in this area that are for sale, but they have to be in walking distance to a Starbucks, a park - oh, specifically, a dog park!"
  • "Show me all the 3-bedroom homes in this area that are for sale and in walking distance of a park, and they have to have granite countertops."
  • "I am looking for any homes in this area that are at least ten-percent below the median sales price."

Imagine just saying that and all of a sudden you have that information at your fingertips.

Where is that information coming from? There is a ton of data out there. Zillow has its own warehouse of data and they are already introducing the first generation of their bot. I'm not saying that Zillow is going to do exactly what I have outlined above, but companies like Zillow are in an incredible position to leverage their enormous amount of data into a chat-like conversation. We are going to see many companies trying to do this and those that have invested in large resources of data will have a better chance of being successful at it.

Watch these bigger companies to see what they do. It's going to be very interesting. Will it transform real estate as we know it? No, but it is going to transform the way that we get our information.

The caveat is, be careful! If you or your clients go to try questions like this at OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google Bard, or Microsoft's Copilot, or some other chat bot you must be careful. This is a new technology and many of these bots are trained on databases whose knowledge doesn't extend beyond 2021 or some other past date. Some of these databases are not aware of today's market realities, they are working off of old information.

Like anything else in real estate, you have to remember that it is your job to be the expert and don't just assume that the chat bot is correct.

Follow Denise on Facebook
Follow Denise on Twitter

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.