Artificial intelligence (AI) technology could change the way buyers search for property and change the way portals work, claims a proptech boss.
The ChatGPT AI tool has made headlines for its advanced machine learning software, which has seen it write everything from books to songs and legal documents.
Specter last week revealed that it was using AI technology to help agents write prospect letters and now there are suggestions that portals could be overhauled as a result of these emerging tools.
Healy Hynes, chief executive of proptech firm Beagel – a software provider that helps agents digitize the bidding process for buyers and sellers – said: “At their core, traditional portals are essentially a centralized hub of third-party (agent) information.
“Often this information is limited and relies on manual input by agents or brokers.
“This can lead to a lack of accuracy and timeliness in the information, such as listing duplicates or sales agreed and not updated on the portal.”
He suggested that an AI service in addition to the portals could provide real-time information to customers, answering questions and providing personalized recommendations based on their preferences and search history, directing the buyer directly to the agent’s website, bypassing the portal.
Hynes added: “This could make the process of finding and buying a property much smoother and more efficient for customers, fundamentally eroding the portal’s position in the customer journey. Imagine Siri, Alexa or Cortana doing the house hunting.”
This won’t necessarily replace portals, however, Hynes said, but could help them handle a greater volume of customer inquiries, reducing the need for human customer service staff.
Hynes said: “This could lead to significant savings for the operators, which could then be passed on to customers in the form of lower fees or commissions.”
There are also potential applications for AI in the back-end operations.
Hynes added: “It could automate tasks such as data entry and analysis, freeing up human staff to focus on more complex tasks. This could improve the overall efficiency and accuracy of the portal.”
He suggested that portals will have more resources to use AI technology than agents, adding: “Although AI has the potential to disrupt the portal sector in a number of ways, it is not a knock-out because AI lives or dies by its data sets and there are concerns .about the, depth, accuracy and reliability of information.
“It also remains to be seen how well they will be able to handle more complex or nuanced questions.
“But the timelines on this are bound to be fast in a sector where exponential development is the norm.”