What does AI mean to estate agents?

Increasingly we see the letters AI appended to proptech products, but what does it really mean for the property industry? Richard Murray and Matt Chubb explain.

Matt Chubb CTO of Razor, Richard Murray CEO of Veco

AI is already an unstoppable force in the UK economy, with recent research from Tech Nation showing that there are 1,200 AI companies, with a collective turnover of $2bn in 2021 – a 600% increase in the number of firms in the last decade.

Research commissioned by the Government and published earlier this year shows that UK business spent around £63bn on AI technology and AI-related labour in 2020 alone. Over 30,000 people are employed in the AI sector, while more than half of the top scaling companies are outside London.

Investment in AI is forecast to reach more that £200bn by 2040, when it is predicted more than 1.3m UK businesses will be using AI. The UK government has released its 10 year plan to make the country a global artificial intelligence superpower, seeking to rival the US and China.

The government’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy is designed to boost the use of AI among the nation’s businesses, attract international investment into British AI companies and develop the next generation of home-grown tech talent.

So what can AI bring to the estate agency market? Capable of doing long laborious tasks, AI can speed up processes allowing agents to spend more time doing the things that AI can’t. AI can maximise agents’ time and make them more productive and enable them to work faster, with more time to dedicate to building customer relationships.

Richard Murray comments, “We have been leading the way in automation in the industry since the late 90s and I see AI as a natural progression for us to help our clients continue to be as efficient as possible.

“We’ve always been of the mindset that technology supports good people to create successful, profitable and scalable businesses, which AI will support. Many companies are talking about AI, and we have been working with Razor to better understand the fundamentals and how to structure a database so that it is AI ready.

“We are excited by the potential of AI to process multiple tasks and decisions, enabling agents to make the right decisions quickly.”

Artificial Intelligence is ideal for processing and interpreting data – something we know that humans aren’t naturally good at.”

According to Matt Chubb, “AI is ideal for processing and interpreting data – something we know that humans aren’t naturally good at and would take us a long time to complete, AI can do this in minutes to enable agents to make smarter decisions. For example, data tracking – houses have so many factors to track, AI can act as their assistant to keep track of everything for them, so everything is on hand to make decisions quickly.

“AI also has the capability to help craft bespoke packages for landlords and buyers based on previous buyer experiences, to create the best and more attractive deals to buyers. It also has the ability to predict the buying cycle i.e. if a young couple or family purchases a house, in x number of years they are likely to be considering upsizing, then in x number of years they will be looking to downsize again. Targeted marketing can be considered 5-10 years in advance, rather than a reactive task. A buyer has the potential to become a lifetime customer if profiled and targeted appropriately.

“AI is about augmenting people and giving them the tools to do their jobs more efficiently, rather than replacing them. It can complete the low value and boring admin tasks to free staff up to have a greater focus on the things humans can do best – building relationships with clients and customer service.

It’s unlikely that people will lose their jobs to be completely replaced by AI.”

“It’s unlikely that people will lose their jobs to be completely replaced by AI but it may change the way teams will be hired and structured in the future. In 50 years time, there may be less demand to hire into certain roles, with fewer people being replaced when they leave.”

On the flipside, AI will open up more jobs in other areas of businesses. With AI optimising business processes, there will be more opportunities for people to do what they are good at. The future is simply going to bring more of this technology to make everyday life even easier and smoother. The tech will continue to help people find what they need and process tasks quicker and easier.

AI also has the potential to make our world safer, rapidly improving security systems and intelligent technologies, such as self-driving cars, have the potential to make a significant impact on our everyday safety. There is no reason why this can’t be applicable to every single industry out there – it’s inevitable.

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