Should brokers invest in AI for their businesses?

June 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence is taking off in many industries, including real estate. As such, it may be wise for brokers to consider their options when it comes to investing in this technology sooner than later. However, doing so requires a lot of research to ensure they make the best possible decisions for their businesses.

Any major software investment can cost a real estate company as much as thousands of dollars, so making the right choice when it comes to selecting AI is vital, according to Propmodo. Perhaps the first and most important thing to consider here is what problems an agency or brokerage is trying to solve with the adoption. This can help to narrow the field of options that's being examined, potentially by a significant amount, which both helps get closer to adoption more quickly and frees up time that would have otherwise been spent on research to go toward other aspects of the business.

Getting it right
The most important part of just about any business decision is getting the right return on investment, and with AI in particular there may be plenty of applications that help do that. Simply put, these options help take over agent and broker tasks that have long been tedious and time-consuming, and do them in a fraction of the time. That, too, can help to free up potentially hundreds of man hours over the course of a month that can be better devoted to important aspects of the job like dealing with clients or improving agent training options.

Moreover, when AI options are able to bring a number of different applications for their computing power to the table, brokers will likewise see an even greater return on investment. However, they will also have to consider the learning curves that adopting, training and properly implementing these new platforms might entail, and factor those issues into their decisions as well.

Assuaging concerns
AI has become such a buzzword in the industry that some agents or even brokers may be concerned with how the tech will overhaul the ways in which they do their jobs altogether, according to Inman. However, industry experts largely say this is an overblown concern - for now at least, AI mostly provides practical solutions to common industry problems.

"My answer is an emphatic 'No,'" Peter Jonas, president of western regions for a major brokerage company, recently told attendees at a real estate tech conference. "What you can't replace is the emotional side of this, the [emotional intelligence]. A lot of that IQ can be replaced with artificial intelligence. Me having to look up the price of a house - that you can replace."

With that in mind, though, it's important to note that brokers have a role to play in ensuring the data they're harvesting to make their or other real estate professionals' jobs easier is as useful as possible. As long as it's being culled from the right sources and seems to be accurate, the right information can help everyone at the practice work a little more easily going forward.