Artificial intelligence: Enhancing the role of real estate agent


After years of speculation, it seems that artificial intelligence (AI) is finally beginning to be adopted by the masses.  

While the technology may at first appear confusing to use and a bit scary to some, it can be a simple tool to enhance the productivity and quality of human work – and real estate professionals are advised to jump on board.  

“The surprising winner, when the dust settles from the AI revolution that we’re just starting to experience, is going to be real estate agents,” said Chris Tosswill, founder/CEO of Addressable, a company that uses AI and robots to send handwritten, personalized notes to targeted homeowners, during Luxury Portfolio’s webinar on AI.

Luxury Portfolio president Mickey Alam Khan hosted the Luxury Hour webinar.

Tech smart

Any major shift in technology can cause discomfort and a change in how people work, but it is important to remember that its purpose is to make work better.

Mr. Tosswill likens the current state of AI to the Industrial Revolution or the dawn of computing in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“At any major turning point in technology, there will always be a shift in the job market, there’ll be a shift in the roles that people have,” he said. “But for those who stay with it and embrace it, there’s always more opportunity created.”

Over the past few years, AI has made major strides in efficacy and ease of use, and thousands of AI product options are being released every month.

“It’s just an overwhelming amount of information that’s out there, but these are things you can actually use,” said Jochen Lucke, president/broker of Silver Creek Real Estate Group in North Carolina, during the webinar.

From analyzing data to scrubbing the Internet to collect information and proofreading marketing copy to writing a full property listing, AI can immediately help real estate brokers and agents gain more of their most important resource – time.

“It’s there to ingest data, it’s there to compute on the fly, and all of this is in the central aim of eliminating what would otherwise be tedious tasks,” said Zane Burnett, chief digital officer of Willis Allen Real Estate in Southern California, during the webinar.

Information highway

Having information is key to any real estate professional, and AI has access to all of the data on the Internet – and the ability to analyze it quickly.

Willis Allen Real Estate is using predictive analytics to better target an audience for its marketing and advertising efforts – people who are more likely to need and use its services.

“We are, on a daily basis, spinning up brand new ads, both on the Internet and general and social media platforms,” Mr. Burnett said.

“Back in the day I would have to sit there and analyze how each ad was performing, what the audience looked like, and then you’d make tweaks,” he said. “And now that’s being done automatically.”

According to Mr. Lucke, there are even AI platforms that will scrape the Web for “possible indicators of somebody moving, based on their searches, based on their shopping habits,” making it easier to find people who are selling and buying homes.

When it comes to communicating with a targeted audience, AI is there to assist again.  

Mr. Burnett has connected Willis Allen’s central leads inbox to AI platform ChatGPT, which sends uses their information from their message and properties of interest to send personalized, automatic responses to hundreds of potential clients.

“Addressable does same thing,” Mr. Tosswill said of his platform. “Using tech to create meaningful connections with homeowners.”

Writing the future

When it comes to more detailed marketing tasks, the possibilities to use AI are already becoming endless.

“If you don’t have a marketing department, or if you do but you have 500 agents, the marketing department will not be able to help you with every listing,” Mr. Lucke said. “This will.”

“We are not wordsmiths, we’re not the creative types, but this can help you tomorrow to create better products, get more engagement and engage with your clients in much different ways,” he said.

Silver Creek is using AI for a number of copywriting tasks, from writing marketing materials to improving listing descriptions or writing them entirely, all optimized for its target audience and for SEO.

“If you list these properties over and over again, you run out of creative ways to sell somebody on them,” Mr. Lucke said.

“AI, with the right prompts from a luxury expert targeting a luxury buyer, will be able to rewrite your copy and use words and create emotions that somebody’s going to be able to buy into, that will separate your copy from anyone else’s,” he said.

The key to getting great copy from AI is learning how to write prompts – instructions for the platform. This includes key words and details about what users want the AI to do.

Addressable created a “Smart Copy” system that makes writing prompts for its service easy, but those using AI on their own will need to learn how to craft them to get the results they want.

USING AI FOR creating marketing imagery, digitally staging homes and changing décor for individual buyers is the next frontier.

And, no matter where AI takes the real estate industry, agents and brokers will always play a major role in the market.

Someone, of course, needs to double check all of the output from an AI platform, but a human touch is also needed for things such as original content for magazines or connecting with the community.

“[AI is] by no means a replacement for that, but it is certainly an enhancement,” Willis Allen’s Mr. Burnett said. “That gives you more time to go out and do the things you’re really good at.”