AI concept and a real estate agent working with clients
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

AI is so much more than ChatGPT — here’s what you need to know 

Products that just scratch the surface of what AI can do are giving real estate “a bad rap,” but there are ways to go deeper (without getting in too deep).

March 7, 2024
4 minutes

Key points:

  • AI is moving quickly, but it won’t replace the work that agents do.
  • Think beyond ChatGPT — more sophisticated tools can help automate tasks and personalize communications.
  • As with many tech advancements, agents will need to learn how to use AI to their advantage or risk getting left behind.

It seems like artificial intelligence is everywhere, so how do you cut through the ChatGPT clutter and focus on what really matters?

As with so many things in real estate, you need to understand the landscape and look beyond the hype. Here's how to do it.

Set aside your fears

As technology starts to get more "real," it's important to remember your unique value as a human. The internet didn't take the place of real estate agents, and artificial intelligence won't do it either.

"Don't think about AI replacing you, think about it enhancing you," said Derek Taylor, Director of Technology Implementation and Operations, during a T3 Sixty webinar on artificial intelligence on March 6. (Note: T3 Sixty and Real Estate News both share a founder, Stefan Swanepoel.)

Look past the obvious (we're talking about you, ChatGPT)

A recent survey on AI adoption in real estate found that almost 80% of leading brokerages reported that their agents have adopted AI tools — but for the vast majority of agents, AI starts and ends with ChatGPT.

And that can be true for some tech solutions as well. Real estate technology is "getting a bad rap," said Travis Saxton, T3 Sixty's EVP of Technology, "because there's a lot of products that are just throwing ChatGPT inside of their platform and saying they have AI." While that may be technically true, there is so much more to artificial intelligence than ChatGPT, said Saxton.

Saxton and Taylor highlighted a number of companies that are going deeper with AI in the real estate space, leveraging "your data in your platform to automate some of your tasks and help make your communications more personal," Taylor said. 

Scout, for example, uses AI to create messages that feel personal and can be sent on a one-on-one basis at scale, with custom branding and brokerage flavor. can qualify prospects and identify brokerage-specific opportunities to meet consumers' needs. Rechat recently created a tool called Lucy, which can create videos, send invitations to open houses and provide real-time insights into marketing performance.

Avoid AI at your peril

"AI is becoming such a utility, that it's like email. Imagine trying to run a business today in real estate if you did not use email or text messaging," said Saxton. "It would be almost impossible, and you'd be doing one or two deals."

AI adoption is increasing rapidly, with companies like Google and Microsoft shifting from a more careful approach to hyperspeed once Open AI started blowing minds with ChatGPT in late 2022.

"It caught on, and then the big tech companies had to start catching up. And then that's when you know, it was exposed to everyone and all the mess and all of the good things," said Kurt Bollacker, an AI expert and an early architect of the Internet Archive's invaluable Wayback Machine. Bollacker spoke at a T3 webinar earlier this year.

Know the risks

Bollacker's longtime interest in AI was reignited by the ChatGPT-fueled boom, and now he works for a nonprofit called MLCommons where he's helping lead an effort to build a suite of public AI safety tests.

AI can make things up, which is great if you want it to tell you a story, but a big problem if you need facts. Image generators, which are trained from existing images, don't necessarily know how to connect dots that are obvious to humans (like how a lighter works). ChatGPT, meanwhile, is predictive, meaning that it's literally guessing what the next word should be in any given situation. 

This is why you're not seeing sophisticated customer service bots out everywhere right now, "despite the enormous amount of investment in them," Bollacker said. "Even if you're giving false information 1% of the time, that is way too high."

You also have to pay attention to what you're sharing with chatbots such as ChatGPT. "Are they recording everything that you type so they can use it to train future models, unless there's a specific business arrangement? Absolutely," Bollacker said. "So anything you type into these things, assume it is going to be in someone's permanent training archive."

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