Perspective: Let's Talk AI and The Future of Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 228209

Perspective: Let's Talk AI and The Future of Real Estate


Artificial IntelligenceMuch of the talk in our business of late seems to either be about our inventory (or lack thereof) or artificial intelligence (AI). It’s not really about the ‘if’ at this point, or the ‘when’ - it’s about the ‘how.’ How do we, as agents as a whole as well as individuals and broker owners, deal with AI and high-tech real estate. If we're independent contractor, individual agents, how do we want our brokerages to deal with it?


I’m confident there will be both agents and brokerages who will go the pure AI &/or high-tech route. Conversely, if we continue to show our value, there will always be a market for full-service agents and brokerages.  I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around the consumer who can't access a live person with experience when buying or selling their largest asset (or one of them) with the iBuyer model. 


What I do know is that agents need to skill-up! Improve upon the relationships with your sphere and learn how to convey your value. Perhaps the iBuyer experience is cheaper but, I can’t imagine how anyone who ‘sells’ this model could sell it as comparable. Think about it - Have you ever tried to complain to any of the big-tech companies like Amazon or Uber? Sure, ‘go away’ and you receive a credit. How is an iBuyer or even a tech-enabled style brokerage buyer (or seller) going to solve big dollar issues? 

Stuck in the middle


A little food-for-thought - When flying, you can buy cheap seats - center seats in the back of the plane. You’re miserable the entire flight and always the last one to disembark the plane. You can pay a little more and have plenty of leg room, window or aisle seats and not be limited with your carry-ons on some airlines.



More food-for-thought - Would you use a public defender if you could afford a great lawyer? Why take a chance on getting a ‘newbie,’ inexperienced public defender when you can win the case with a skilled attorney representing you.  


At the onset, the iBuyer or Agent-enabled tech models may seem appealing but, eventually the "extras" will come at a price to the consumer, who will pay more. That cost just won't be transparent.


Gradually, then suddenly…


The brokerage of the future will indeed, have some form of high-tech use of AI and may even be heavier on tech than personal service. There are two extremes and most feel that the majority of us will fall into a brokerage model somewhere in the middle.

2020 Brokerage Model Breakdown

Predictive Range - Brokerage Models

iBuyer - Z-instant Offers, quick consults - not ‘true’ representation - will remain a lower level player in the market (1-20%)

Agent-enabled tech - Redfin & Purplebricks - Tech is the primary; the agent facilitates the transaction (will be up to 25-30%)

Tech-enabled agent - The primary is the agent - tech isn’t taking over the transaction but, is still a big player. Tech prompts us to contact our clients; use of MLS, use of home search apps. (40-50%)

Traditional brokerage - (10%)


Why is AI important?


AI - Why is it important in real estate?Prime example: INDEED is now crushing everyone on the job posting & search platform. Prior to Indeed (who, if you’ll remember, came out of nowhere), we knew Monster (and very few others) for years. How did Indeed crush Monster?  BIG data - AI.


Your brokerage will need to own their platform. From high-tech, high-value home search apps, nurturing campaign reminders (and the campaigns themselves) to increased accuracy in AVM systems, you’re going to have some, if not all of these things available to you in your brokerage. If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself behind the eight ball, as they say.


What do we do with this knowledge?

Fight or Flight


Once again, it’s change to which many of us are resistant. We’re going to have to adapt, learn and even embrace. I believe that we not only need to be with a brokerage that is innovative but, one that owns their technology - and that technology needs to be evolving, constantly improving. Personally, I believe that agents will a brokerage that is ahead of that game as well as one with deep pockets - technology is NOT cheap. Lastly, I believe we need to be evaluating ourselves and our brokerages more now, than ever before.


Are you ready for this change? Have you already made headway in this arena or are you in the ‘evaluation’ stage?


Regardless, it’s not going to be the smartest or most experienced agent who survives; it’s going to be the agent who adapts that will succeed. 


© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | | Perspective: Let's Talk AI and The Future of Real Estateoint


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 07/28/2018 05:04 PM
  2. Jim Cramer 07/30/2018 06:31 PM
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Susan Thompson-Solomons
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services McNelis Group Properties - Solomons, MD
Southern MD Real Estate-Solomons Specialist

Debe this is an excellent post which makes important points about the direction our business is heading. We most certainly will be left behind if we don't adapt technology and skills to the buyers who are currently in the market and recognize that those components are ever evolving.

Jul 30, 2018 05:17 AM #48
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

Excellent post Debe! Agreed with you.... the ones that are open to adapt will survive 😉

Jul 30, 2018 07:13 AM #49
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Some people always prefer the cheap option and do not mind getting inferior service.

The airlines have made travel in coach so incredibly unbearable that I cannot stand it for more than an hour. If I'm flying more than 60 minutes, I refuse to sit in coach. My experience is more important. Plus, you get used to the meals, beverages, movies, early boarding, extra niceties and especially comfort.

My sellers make more money with me even though I charge more, so I'm not worried about AI. Somebody has to buy the cheap seats.

Jul 30, 2018 10:47 AM #50
Austin At Homebloq
Homebloq - Chicago, IL
Making real estate agents look awesome

Great thoughts! We couldn't agree more. It's not those who will displace agents with AI, but who will enable agents that will win out in our line of business. We're rooting for the agents!

Jul 30, 2018 06:31 PM #51
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Adjusting and adapting will be necessary factors to keep up with the changes that are arriving sooner rather than later Debe! Thankfully, most consumers still appreciate and value the human approach at this point. Great read and congrats on the gold star!

Jul 30, 2018 06:59 PM #52
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Being able to adapt to change is essential. Using technology to improve our service to customers is where I wish to be.

Jul 30, 2018 07:01 PM #53
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Debe- - -there's always time to "skill up". It's good to be ready.

Jul 30, 2018 07:11 PM #54
Capt. Bob & Kelly Davies
Allison James Estates & Homes - Englewood, FL
Waterfront Experts

Great post - very timely and wise.  I especially appreciated your analogies.  They really put things into perspective!

Jul 30, 2018 07:51 PM #55
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Years ago, I believe this was called learning to roll with the punches. You either do it or you get knocked down - and out.

Jul 30, 2018 08:24 PM #56
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Debe, your analogies really put things into perspective. I agree that there will always be people who want to do things on the cheap and then there will always be others who want to pay for the experience and support. AI doesn't concern me but, we absolutely have to evolve and sharpen our skills at all times. Congrats on your feature, you deserve it!

Jul 31, 2018 06:18 AM #57
Steven Nickens
Elite Pacific Properties Maui - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

Deb, what a great post. You are spot on and a walking example of great customer service, lightening up all the buttons on social media and embracing technology. I am fortunate to work for a company that is on the cutting edge of the latest technology and always moving forward and they are always sharing their info with us agents.

Jul 31, 2018 07:22 AM #58
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

A good summary and I agree, the enabled agent will prevail, but I also think there will be pressure on the commission structure, with buyers agents needing to be paid by the buyer and showing their value. As they always said, listings are the way to prolong your life in real estate and I think that will prevail.

Jul 31, 2018 08:01 AM #59
Lizette Conover

Great article, Debe. Excellent insight!

Jul 31, 2018 08:43 AM #60
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Excellent post Debe!! I remember when the internet started, many said real estate agents would soon be a thing of the past. Today you hear terms like “we’re at the crossroads in our industry” etc etc etc. Things are always constantly changing. I recall an old baseball coach telling me when I was young, “Always keep your eye on the ball, and stay ahead of the curve. For you today it’s baseball, in the future it’s business. Do this and you will always succeed”.  I’ve practiced that since day one!

Jul 31, 2018 09:19 AM #61
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Outstanding job on this one, Debe! Thank you!

Jul 31, 2018 11:33 AM #62
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Time will tell. I can see there will always be a need for the human touch when dealing with so many and such diverse personalities in this business.

Jul 31, 2018 12:41 PM #63
Don Wede
Heartland Funding Inc. - Spring Valley, IL
A company that buys houses in Illinois

In this day and age AI is paramont. 

Heartland Funding Inc.

Jul 31, 2018 02:07 PM #64
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

A true general AI could very well displace many in the real estate industry.  But there would be lots of time to decide how to coincide with such a technology.  I believe there will always be a subset of people who will prefer human contact, and most likely just as many who would like to click a few buttons and be done with the process entirely.  There will be a market for both, unless a truly wide ranging displacement of labor due to a sufficiently advanced general AI affects all sectors of human life.  Such a tectonic shift could cause our species to go berserk, and there would be a bigger problem to deal with.  

Aug 03, 2018 11:37 AM #65
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS 

I'm glad you told me about this post. I am in agreement with all you have said. Especially, about the agent who can adapt will be successful.

Aug 10, 2018 09:19 AM #66
Raymond Cabral
Downing Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL

Great article Debe, I am a believer in adapt or get run over.  The agent needs to be innovative, provide value and be able to adapt. 

Aug 15, 2018 01:30 PM #67
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