Real estate pros weigh in on ChatGPT

Laura O'Connor, Sam Sawyer and Todd Carpenter are testing the waters of AI

“In 2005, the hot tech was a blog and now the hot tech is artificial intelligence and ChatGPT,” said HW Media CEO Clayton Collins in a recent Housing News podcast with Todd Carpenter. 

Carpenter has had a hand in nearly every facet of real estate, from mortgage to technology. He most recently worked as the director of strategic investments at the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

On the subject of ChatGPT in real estate, Carpenter is most interested in the implications for intellectual property. “This particular technology is interesting to me because there are only a few things agents do that are protected by copyright, one of them is the listing description,” said Carpenter. 

“If agents don’t create the content, is it copyrightable? Or, if you are the one that types the query, then is the content copyrightable?” Carpenter speculated, “If someone wants to come along and steal a bunch of listings to put online, anyone can type that query.” 

Carpenter isn’t the only voice in the industry with an opinion on ChatGPT. Though, legal concerns aside, there have been compelling success stories using this AI and important reminders on the pitfalls of new technology. 

Proceed with caution

Laura O’Connor, chief operating officer of JPAR Real Estate Franchising, has worked in the business for more than 20 years. She is a self-described “early adopter” of new technologies.

“I’m interested in ways that we can make the business more efficient and streamlined,” O’Connor said. 

According to O’Connor, the newest way to streamline business could be ChatGPT and other innovations in AI. O’Connor and JPAR are interested in exploring all of the ways that agents and broker-owners can make the most of ChatGPT, embrace technology and keep costs low. 

“I have been experimenting with ChatGPT and finding different ways to weave it into my team’s internal workflow. We rely heavily on aligning with the right vendor partners, so I want to have my team invest time into fully utilizing its capabilities. Or, we can find people who are already using these products successfully, full-time.”

“Most of the work I’ve been doing around ChatGPT is interviewing our technology partners to understand how they’re leveraging it.” said O’Connor. 

Despite the excitement over the new possibilities that ChatGPT can open up, O’Connor still recommends proceeding with caution, “It’s a new technology, right? Whenever there is something new, there are going to be glitches and problems.” 

Automating is the future

In a recent blog post, Sam Sawyer, CEO of Pinnacle Realty Advisors, said, “I do urge all agents and everyone else to use this tool to help when it comes to writing a description for your home, house rental, AirBnB listing or commercial property sale. Our industry can use all the help it can get to enhance property descriptions for consumers and elevate copywriting with a mixture of AI tools like ChatGPT and human instincts to produce the best wording and descriptions possible.”

Experts from across the industry are weighing in on ChatGPT. While some express more concern than others about jumping into the deep end of AI, there is one clear sentiment: this will change things and agents need to be adaptable. 

Agility is an essential strength in this day and age of fast technological change. In the early 2000s, agents had to adjust to the online world of listings and websites. In 2023, we are fully online. It is time to adjust to automation and let go of some of the tasks that a computer or bot may be able to automate for your business. However, the human side of real estate is never going anywhere. 

At the end of the day, “ChatGPT is really good at reciting facts, what it can’t do is add perception,” said Carpenter.