Mar 18, 2024 - Economy

The era of the AI home broker approaches

Animated illustration of a robot dangling some house keys in its hand.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

With the breakup of the NAR cartel, the biggest potential disruption in the real estate industry is if buyers' brokers are replaced by AI bots.

The big picture: A well-trained AI would probably provide a better, more reliable service than most human brokers — at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Where it stands: The U.S. has what Business Insider has described as "a glut of mediocre Realtors" who are "screwing over homebuyers."

  • As many as 2.8 million Americans are licensed as brokers, and even the National Association of Realtors said in a 2015 report that "the real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents."

What's next: An AI trained on the actions of very good brokers would be able to forward new listings to clients within seconds of them appearing; would be up to speed on the plethora of documents and payments that need to be brought to a closing; and could answer questions in an approachable, conversational style 24 hours a day.

  • While a robot couldn't go on home visits, it could certainly recommend local surveyors and other home inspectors.

The bottom line: While buyers' agents do provide some value to buyers, it's never been clear that the value to the buyer is remotely commensurate with the amount they are paid.

  • If a robot can provide 80% of the value at 1% of the price, that's a bargain many Americans might find very attractive.
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