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Could AI technology replace property portals?

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology could change the way buyers search for property and alter the way portals operate, a proptech boss claims.

The ChatGPT AI tool has been making headlines due to its advanced machine learning software that has seen it write everything from books to songs and legal documents.

Spectre last week revealed it is using AI technology to help agents write prospecting 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 digitise the offer process for buyers and sellers - said: “At their core, traditional portals are essentially a centralised hub of third party (agent) information.  

“Often this information is limited and relies on manual input from agents or brokers. 

“This can lead to a lack of accuracy and timeliness in the information, like listing duplications or sales being agreed and not updated on the portal.”

He suggested an AI service on top of the portals could provide real-time information to customers, answering questions and providing personalised recommendations based on their preferences and search history, directing the buyer straight to the agent’s website, bypassing the portal.

Hynes added: “This could make the process of finding and purchasing a property much smoother and more efficient for customers, fundamentally eroding the portals position in the customer journey. Imagine Siri, Alexa or Cortana doing the house-hunting.”

This won’t necessarily replace portals though, Hynes said, but could help them handle a larger volume of customer inquiries, reducing the need for human customer service staff. 
Hynes said: “This could lead to significant cost 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 employees to focus on more complex tasks. This could improve the overall efficiency and accuracy of the portal.”

He suggested portals will have more resources to use AI technology than agents,   adding: “While AI has the potential to disrupt the portal sector in a number of ways, it’s not a knockout as 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 inquiries. 

“But the timelines on this are bound to be swift in a sector where exponential evolution is the norm.”


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