Will your next home purchase be with a Chatbot?

by Michael Lam | Dec 28, 2016


Black Jack | shutterstock.com | gohire.com

2017 was suppose to be the year, messaging and AI came to the mainstream and “became one”, it’s called a “Chatbot”. With Microsoft and Facebook popularizing this phenomenon of a Chatbot, a new trend has risen, and it’s the promise of a chatbot augmenting your business or possibly taking over a business completely. How can this new technology benefit or hurt the real estate industry? Let’s first define a chatbot.

What is a chatbot?

Wiki says “a chatter robot is a type of conversational agent, a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual method.” Another way to define a chatbot, it’s a program designed to take messages from a user and respond back with a relevant answer. The “relevant” answer can be thought of being AI (artificial intelligence), depending how the answers are served/stored/pulled. How could a chatbot benefit an agent and how could it improve the client & agent relationship experience?

Real estate notoriously is slow to adopt any new technology and only recently that last 10 years have we seen a wave of new technology in that space, i.e HomeTrueScore. Even with that, you still have the common questions that challenges the core principle of a real estate transaction. Do we need real estate agents (the middle man)? I’m on record being a strong believer needing a real estate agent by your side when you arguably make the LARGEST purchase of your life. You always need a ‘confidant’. But due to the influx of sub-par, unqualified agents muddying up the group of qualified agents. It’s easy to choose the “bad apples” to work with.

Top agents like John St Clair and Julio Orozco, don’t really care about bad agents. Their laser focus and commitment to their clients, supersedes any negative outcome from those unqualified agents. They put their clients first and are always willing to adopt new technologies that provides a superior service than any ONE technology can offer.

How a Real Estate Chatbot could help your business:

  • Manage agent’s house viewing schedule. A chatbot could connect to a realtors schedule and work with it while interacting with the client to find a convenient time for both to look at a home.
  • Answer relevant questions about a home. For example, if you have a profile to only care about home price, home sqft dimensions, number of beds/bath. You can text a number,code or address to the bot, and it can return back with your desired information. This is most relevant to seller agents who want to give buyers a way to access details of the home without needing to print out a flyer that can easily get lost.
  • Coordinating a home tour map. This is a common annoyance among buyers. If you have multiple homes to visit, what’s the best route to take that is convenient for BOTH the client & agent? The bot can figure this out and send both parties the ideal driving routes.
  • The chatbot can notify the client of a home status. Getting real time status of an offer is another option that can be made available by seller agent’s bot.
  • By plugging a bot with your business, you can scale as an agent and take on more clients while serving the needs of your clients in a more focused personal environment. No more missed calls, or incorrect email reply, or being too busy..etc.
  • … the features are limitless

Chatbot Disadvantages

  • You lose the personal relationship between the client and the agent. Since most common questions can be answered by a bot. You may end up interacting less.
  • There is the possibility of incorrect status updates being made by the bot, thus negatively affecting your offer strategy
  • There is the concern of real estate compliance and the type of data that can be shared or governed. How is privacy protected? Clients often share personal finances with the real estate agent such as purchasing power, or max limit…etc
  • With any tool, there are possible points of failure. How much and how often can be put on the chatbot technology

RealtorĀ® Chatbot Example: Aby – the Virtual Assistant

What better way to make your own decision if a chatbot will be useful by testing one yourself. I’m the Cofounder of, CustomBotDesign. We focused in helping businesses move their ideas out of incubation to prototype at record speed and provide end-end consultation on conversational strategies. One of our chatbots we designed for real estate professionals, is “Aby – the Virtual Assistant”. A chatbot that can serve MLS listings, provide quick CMA reports, and can even qualify leads before contacting the agent. Give it a try, “Aby – the Virtual Assistant”, it has homes in California primarily in the following areas: San Francisco, San Jose, Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton. We’ve designed the chat flows to be extremely easy to understand and navigate.

With just answering a few relevant questions, you will get presented of homes for sell in your local area. You can even plug in your address to see it’s worth using a professional service provider trusted by RealtorsĀ®. Not the often inaccurate Zillow estimates.

Now imagine you take Aby, and place this on each realtors website? Have Aby connect to each realtors scheduling software, MLS, CloudCMA. What do you have now? To the benefit of the RealtorĀ®, he/she can now focus on tending to a client’s real time needs while scaling and not having to waste precious time presenting properties to search, running reports, pre-qualifying a lead, all tasks that are now automated with Aby. The bot can do all this behind the scene while conversing with the individual via messaging. Realtors are slowly waking up to this hot technology, when will they realize the gains to having a chatbot on their websites? The bigger question is will your next home purchase be with a chatbot and a realtor? Will the chatbot get a commission as well :)?

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