ChatGPT robot on laptop
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

ChatGPT AI chatbot writes the perfect listing, except for the made-up features* 

The experimental ChatGPT platform is a monumental leap forward in natural language AI technology — with the potential to simplify some real estate tasks.

December 28, 2022
5 minutes

Key points:

  • AI can change the way agents work, ghostwriting everything from listings to personal notes to clients.
  • The technology still isn't perfect, sometimes embellishing or fabricating content.
  • Finding a distinctive voice will be even more important as AI-written listings proliferate.

Love it or loathe it, writing remains as essential to real estate as listings, marketing pitches and personal notes.

For now.

ChatGPT, the new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot taking the internet by storm, is a huge leap forward in mimicking human speech. Built by San Francisco company OpenAI, ChatGPT uses an algorithm based on human feedback to produce responses. Right now, it's free as the company tests its abilities.

Want an essay on the themes found in Hamlet? ChatGPT can spit one out in under 30 seconds.

The impact goes far beyond students looking for shortcuts in English class. Anyone who writes any kind of copy will likely find the technology changing the way they work.

"ChatGPT will be massive for content creators. It's good (and will get better) at writing content, summarizing text, etc.," says Pierre Sabbagh, CEO of Roof AI Inc., whose flagship product is an AI chatbot designed for real estate websites. "So I am imagining it being able to assist agents in writing property descriptions, composing customer emails, generating quick replies to inquiries, writing blog posts, summarizing information and much more."

But don't plan on outsourcing all of your content to an AI just yet. While it's good — and getting better by the day — the technology still needs some help. For example, if you ask it to write a home listing, it might just add some features that don't actually exist.

Asked to compose a listing description using the top ten adjectives employed in listings this year, as compiled by real estate search portal Point2, ChatbotGPT came up with this:

"Welcome to this spacious, new primary home located in a great neighborhood! The open floor plan allows for full use of the space, making it perfect for entertaining. The home has been updated and upgraded to include beautiful finishes and fixtures. The private backyard is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The main level features 9-foot ceilings and hardwood floors. Don't miss out on the opportunity to make this your dream home!"

It used all the target words, but just made up details like ceiling heights and hardwood floors. It's what Sabbagh calls "the confident bull******er problem." Still, with some editing and more detailed information in the request, ChatGPT is capable of producing a solid property description in seconds.

In part, that's because the templates used throughout residential real estate make it a seemingly perfect industry for AI chatbots. 

"But a distinct voice allows a Realtor to stand out and be remembered, through use of language and personality," advises David Brown, head of strategy for digital content marketing agency Knotch. "Write as you speak, and provide your honest point of view."

It's easy enough to demonstrate the way your personality can shine through. Dorothy Parker famously once said, "I hate writing. I love having written." Ask ChatbotGPT to restate that, and you get something less elegant or memorable: "Although writing can be challenging, the sense of accomplishment after completing a writing task is fulfilling."

Brown says AI will help provide quick first drafts, but finding your distinct voice will be a requirement not just to stand out but to survive in a world filled with AI content. "ChatGPT will proliferate commoditized content at first, and over time, platforms may clamp down on its use, because it may break their rules," he says. "Google has warned SEO teams of this possibility."

ChatGPT isn't ready to replace existing programs many brokerages use because it's a generalist. "Systems like ChatGPT don't have industry-specific knowledge," Sabbagh says. "Our flagship product here at Roof AI is a chatbot that is built and designed for real estate. It is not meant to answer about anything and everything, and its scope is limited by design. It is designed to assist consumers with their real estate needs: like finding a home or a Realtor, inquiring on a property, applying for a mortgage, etc... and it does it pretty well."

But Sabbagh says ChatGPT is a watershed moment for the industry. "ChatGPT is this cool demo that is opening our eyes to how this will change going forward," he says. "It reminded some of us of the launch of the iPhone. There were many smartphones before the iPhone but it sort of crystalized everything into that one moment."

And as good — and fun — as it is now, ChatGPT won't completely replace people.

"The challenge (and the good thing) of these systems is that you'll always need a human in the loop to tell you what is good and which isn't, since systems like ChatGPT do not have the concept of interesting ideas, humans do," he says. "So these systems will not be replacing anyone soon, but instead they will augment what many are already doing."

*Which is good to know, as it wrote the headline to this article.

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