Real Estate Chatbots - The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Realtors

Real Estate Chatbots - The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Realtors

SnatchBot Team SnatchBot Team, 12/03/2019

Real Estate Chatbots - The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Realtors

The real estate industry is largely a keen early adopter of technology, from virtual and augmented reality walkthroughs of property helping expand the pool of potential buyers to interactive maps to help people find their ideal property in a new area or town. Chatbots and AI represent the next step, enabling home sellers and buyers to find information that matches their needs automatically, and reduce frustration for customers.

Estate agents and realtors are usually very busy professionals, arranging and attending viewings, writing up new listings, updating websites and constantly on the lookout for new properties. Even a well-staffed office will find itself moving toward automation, to free up estate agent time, while smaller branches can use bots when staffing is an issue.

Use of smartphones and business conducted through email and digital documents have improved the process across the search, selling and buying process, while real estate lead generation software is a tried and tested tool. And now, artificial intelligence in real estate is helping speed things up by providing advanced matching between buyers and properties. Chatbots can triage requests from visitors on the agent’s website or social media, perform comparative market analysis and show keen buyers suitable or the latest properties to help provide a hook to a potential sale.

As the realtor funnel moves increasingly online, especially among younger buyers but also among the more mature movers, chatbots and AI will play an increasingly important part in starting the conversation and helping them move as the market for condos, homes, business property, buy-to-let and other types become a digital-first business.

As the speed of property sales increases and people need quicker answers at any time or in any time-zone, bots are becoming a key part of helping customers and improving the efficiency of the agent’s business, while freeing up agents to do less spreadsheet shuffling and more valuable work.

The Chatbot As Agent

Chatbots are already well-known for helping provide a 24/7 service, seven days every week and through the holidays. As customer’s circumstances change more dramatically, a chatbot can help answer questions like, “how many four-bedroom houses do you have in Aberdeen” or “I need a condo near Panama City Beach, Florida.“ at three o’clock in the morning.

The bot can field questions from people who are just looking, and not worth taking up your time but can also direct those with immediate queries to a realtor who can provide greater detail. A good chatbot not only handles the customer, they can perform useful tasks like help schedule property viewing at convenient times for both parties, and making a good impression as part of the business. They provide a warm welcome, with as much chit-chat as needed, and then show properties by value, number of bedrooms or other criteria, all faster than a human, and just as quickly as a website, with more focused results.

Bots can add value to any query, showing some knowledge of a local neighbourhood, highlighting news stories about up and coming areas, providing related information such as school ratings and about amenities, while providing immediate access to an agent if it runs out of steam, or getting someone to call them back if everyone is busy or it is out of hours.

Modern bots can remember previous conversations with a customer, and help move the process along to grab their attention, gain their interest and help guide them to a decision, making the realtor’s job easier. They allow agents to focus their time on the high-touch, high-value parts of any transaction that need the human element, while customers can use them on their desktops or smartphones seamlessly, taking the conversation with them.

Bots can be used on Facebook Messenger and other social media to fit in with the customer’s approach to using technology. Or, it can be deployed on the realtor’s app or website, along with many other platforms depending on what they use, and working alongside other real estate agent tools.

To assist sellers, a chatbot can provide a quick-and-easy home value bot to encourage people looking to move on. And, as the estate agent branch or company grows or scales up, it benefits the business by freeing up time and resources to focus on making key sales, and helping move the team and business leaders to transition to a digital-first organisation.

Chatbot Tools for Realtors

As with any high-value market, there is already a range of dedicated tools for the real estate sector, helping agents improve their performance through better sales tools, analytics and providing ways to deliver great customer service.

Bots are just the latest, either from a specialist vendor or as part of a realtor software package that can include a range of AI services. These might include more accurate valuation tools that can automatically source and analyse data for home, local and regional property sizes, stock categories, road and services quality, and historical selling prices, saving many hours of traditional work per transaction.

AI can also help improve marketing campaigns, sending information on the ideal property, not just the close-to-their-specification ones, helping improve the chances of a sale and reducing the amount of drag in a sales or buying process.

Bot design services like SnatchBot enable any agent to build their bespoke, ideal chatbot that can use AI features like natural language processing to understand the specific needs of the customer, and program it to understand, and explain, the jargon of the industry. These bots can operate on Facebook or other platforms, providing an instant understanding of engagement through advanced analytics. Estate agents can also link bots to databases and provide imagery and video in a chat to help highlight suitable properties.

The Imperative for Realtors to Adopt Technology

Through upturns and downturns in local and global markets, real estate agents have handled the tough with the good, and usually come sailing through. That might lead them, and business leaders to assume that technology can’t improve their situation much.

However, using technology, social media and advanced services like chatbots have proven benefits. Those that are adopting them will do better than those sticking to the old methods. Take realtors using Facebook for leader generation, the growing ROI from chatbots and a world of AI services that are just around the corner.

What is essential is that estate agents understand and start using these technologies now, or risk being left behind and overtaken up more aggressive vendors. No matter how good the human customer service, except in some very niche cases, bots can help win deals and speed up sales.

If someone senior in your office is anti-technology, you need to explain that new technology does not alienate customers, but that mobile or computer technology is what pretty much everyone is using to do business. From doing grocery shopping, buying clothes, selling cars or buying homes and keeping in touch with family. Chatbots and AI are becoming part of that language, and wildly successful chatbots on Facebook Messenger and other platforms help every type of business from hotels to medical care providers, brands and stores reach new customers every hour.