ChatGPT disrupts Asian property industry
In the near future, an AI-based assistant could possibly handle the entire selection and purchasing process for a homebuyer, eliminating the need for a real estate agent – and their associated commissions.
However, this vision has yet to become a reality. Not only are there worries of the technology replacing huge amounts of people in the workforce, it is also still in the experimentation phase.
Companies are exploring the potential of AI as well as its limitations. In Singapore, Marcus Chu – CEO of ERA Asia-Pacific and APAC Realty – is leveraging AI to differentiate himself and his company from the competition.
An AI-based platform, called Sales+, was integrated into their app. It allows ERA’s agents to generate property listings, emails, and blog posts at a fast speed with automated guidance.
The agency has spent 5.2 million Singapore dollars (3.9 million US dollars) on the technology and Chu believes it has added tremendous value to their agents.
“We see great improvements in productivity levels, which means better client service,” Chu said. “I believe ChatGPT has added significant value to our agents and that AI can benefit the real estate industry.”
Industry authorities suggest that although elements of purchasing or selling property still depend on the expertise and comprehension of a skilled person in the field, there is still space for AI to assist in the process.
ChatGPT is a type of AI chatbot developed by US company OpenAI and due to be released in November 2022 which is able to identify, illustrate, convert, forecast and generate text and other content utilising data from large sets of info.
This chatbot can reply to inquiries and help with writing material and coding. Chu noted that although many agents have the capacity to communicate well verbally, they are not necessarily adept at text composition.
Sales+ is a program designed to develop invites, customised festive greetings, tenancy warnings and agent biographies. Customisation and conversion into different languages for agents situated in various countries is also possible.
According to Ryan Li, companion of management consulting at KPMG China, the application of ChatGPT could minimise the number of low-level roles in the real estate industry and enable agents to concentrate on more helpful and creative tasks.
Furthermore, Li reported that tasks such as price negotiation, deeply analysing customer demands and service personalisation depend on critical thinking and decision-making which cannot be completely fulfilled by the tool.
ERA Singapore reported that, as of April the end of 2023, the Sales+app had been downloaded almost 14,000 times and accessed more than 66,000 times since its March launch.
More than 3,300 unique users have used the ChatGPT feature. ERA Singapore is the biggest international real estate agency in Singapore, operating across 11 countries with over 23,000 agents combined.
Plans are already in motion to deploy the ChatGPT features to all of the ERA APAC offices during June.
The company believes that agents, due to the extra time they have available, can devote more time to continuing networking and build up their sales performance.
Centaline Group, the largest property-agency network in Hong Kong, are considering integrating the ChatGPT artificial intelligence system as well to aid in reading and better understanding legal documents and keep up with the specialised knowledge needed in this industry.
Shih highlighted that Centaline has not yet introduced AI, and if it were to, the aim would be to aid employees in their duties and enhance the standard of service while still operating at a low cost.
Midland Realty has taken on ChatGPT for the analysis of market data and client information when forecasting trends; taking care of business processes; composing letters; inspecting sales brochures; creating sales plans; making videos; and answering customer questions.
They have also held 25 AI courses with over 2000 participants as of June 2. A representative from the Chinachem Group in Hong Kong revealed that they intend to use two AI-based applications: one that helps their staff be more effective and one to create images for their designs quicker.
However, Beike, a property platform belonging to KE Holdings in China, has developed the Miaobei Casing AI Associate to train agents in showing properties as well as make customized recommendations and conversational tips once they are out in the field.
It can also give agents feedback when they make sales. This AI tool also made 73,325 performance evaluations in 2022 alone. AI has the possibility to offer many benefits to the industry, yet experts still recommend that steps are taken to watch over any potential legal and ethical risks during the design and implementation process of the technology.
Everyone involved must stay aware of China’s Generative AI regulatory measures as well as applicable data-privacy and cybersecurity rules to avoid discrimination in AI systems.
Finally, Weng Guanxing from Wintell & Co’s Lingang Office has highlighted that gathering necessary data may become difficult following the addition of the Personal Information Protection Law and the Data Security Law in 2021, due to the tighter regulations concerning personal data collection. However, Laura O’Connor, COO at the US-based brokerage JPAR Real Estate’s Affiliated Network, does not think that we are close to a point where AI will be taking the place of agents.
OpenAI’s logo appears alongside an AI chatbot response, in an illustration taken February 9th, 2023 on its website, according to Reuters.
Similar to its counterparts in Hong Kong, the company is employing ChatGPT to provide faster, reliable feedback to customers.
Executives are devoted to utilizing modern technology to free up time that is used for more tedious tasks, and ultimately prioritize customer needs.
Despite the advances made in digitizing the traditional real estate industry, electronic contracts remain impossible to produce.
Furthermore, agents are not obligated to assist with property deals, yet they add value by making the process easier for both sides involved.
AI is also increasingly being applied to property searches, as two US real estate corporations launched their own plug-ins last month.
They permit the user to scrutinize listings by having a dialogue, such as “show me homes in the $475,000 price range”.
Despite people’s expectations of what AI can do, Kary Yang’s example shows reality is not on the same level.
Yang, a consultant in immigration and crypto licenses, subscribed to ChatGPT’s pro version and questioned the bot to find a $5 million apartment in Southern Hong Kong.
She was displeased with the results, which merely recurred the opening statement without offering any specific suggestions for the property.
Using Google or a property web page instead would have been more effective. Yang’s journey concluded with the understanding that ChatGPT cannot replace a real estate agent.
Time will tell if this is true.