Global AI revenue is expected to reach $36.8 billion by 2025, and that’s just one measure of how fast the space is growing. In the next year, IDC predicts that 75% of developer teams will use AI technology in one or more business applications or services.
For decades, science fiction writers have speculated about what AI means for the future of humanity, as have tech luminaries like Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
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Those long-term, 10,000-foot philosophical views are important to consider, but in the meantime, AI is transforming the day-to-day operations of businesses across industries for the better, and real estate is a prime example.
Before AI technology, real estate agents had to manually sort through data to identify trends and opportunities. Questions like, “Who is ready to buy and when?” and “Which neighbourhoods are up-and-coming?” have always been central to an agent’s success.
Finding leads and figuring out how markets were moving required both gut instinct and manual data-crunching. AI makes this process more effective and efficient. The technology brings multiple, relevant sources of data together and processes it to surface the trends and opportunities that agents need to thrive.
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One way AI facilitates this efficiency is by helping agents focus. The most successful agents have a lot of balls in the air. They simultaneously have to find leads, nurture prospects, and work with existing clients to keep the sales cycle moving. If an agent spends an inordinate amount of time with clients who aren’t likely to close deals, or at least not anytime soon, there’s a good chance that agent won’t meet their sales goals.
Buying and selling a home is a major decision that involves a lot of money, and the transactions take time. The best agents are patient and intuit when a client needs to be pushed and when they need some space. However, agents can’t waste time and energy in leads that won’t go anywhere. It’s a delicate balance, and one that AI helps achieve.
Lead generation and enrichment
AI supports real estate agents by generating high quality leads. There’s a ton of data out there that can help put the spotlight on people who may be ready to buy or sell. On the buyer side, NAR estimates that over half of homebuyers in 2017 found their home through the internet. If someone is actively browsing through online home listings, that’s a sign they’re ready to buy.
Social media can also be helpful. It’s not uncommon for people to move right around the time they start a family and people share those types of life events on social media. There’s no way an agent on their own could track these types of behaviours, but AI can.
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Beyond generating leads, AI can validate and enrich them with data. If someone is looking at three-bedroom homes or focusing their search on one particular neighbourhood, that information is extremely valuable to an agent.
AI can provide insight into leads’ behaviours and preferences that allows agents to approach in a thoughtful, strategic manner. This insight cuts both ways by helping identify leads who are unmotivated or who may want to buy a home, but won’t be closing a deal anytime soon—e.g., someone who is not pre-approved for a mortgage. AI takes all these various data points and makes them actionable.
Before the advent of social media, the only way for agents to farm new territory was through door knocking and postcard marketing. Today, Facebook ads bring a whole new dimension to farming.
The Pew Research Center estimates that 72% of all online US adults visit Facebook at least once a month, and millennials (the most active Facebook users), are the largest group of buyers. Any agent who isn’t using Facebook to their advantage today is seriously missing out. Facebook is a key—if not the key—platform for connecting with prospects.
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Whether online or offline, targeting leads successfully requires hitting the right people with the right message at the right time. AI is opening up completely new possibilities in how effective targeting can be.
By analysing behavioural data, AI can highlight the people most likely to respond to a certain marketing message. Say a lead visits an agent’s website and spends the most time on properties with big backyards or that are within a particular school district. AI not only connects that data, but can automate the process of targeting that buyer with personalised ads that will clearly resonate with their preferences. AI leverages data insights to optimise Facebook ad targeting strategies — without the agent having to lift a finger.
In 2018, AI will increasingly be used in real estate to streamline workflows. There are a lot of nitty gritty details to take care of before deals can close. The “fun stuff”— talking with clients about their wants and needs, showing homes‚ etc.— is just a small part of the whole process. Success in real estate requires doing a lot of menial tasks, such as following up with leads.
AI allows agents to take the tedious tasks off their plate through automation. For example, the technology can automatically send email or text followups after a lead takes a particular action.
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Not only does this remove the burden of remembering to follow-up, but it prevents things from falling through the cracks when there are a million other things to think about. Instead of trying to remember to send an email at a certain time, agents can instead dedicate that mental energy (and time) to strengthening their client relationships.
Streamlining paperwork is another way AI will enhance workflows. Thanks to advancements in Natural Language Processing and Image Recognition, agents can scan transaction closing documents, digitize the information, and automatically import the data into their CRM. All the back-and-forth can happen online and the records can be stored in the cloud, making the whole process faster and less painful.
AI can take care of processing information, entering data, pushing paper, and communication, which frees agents up to deliver the best possible service and grow their business. The agents that are first to embrace AI tools will be able to get and stay ahead of the curve.
Sourced by Matthew Murphy, chief marketing officer of Chime Technologies