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eXp’s Glenn Sanford on AI’s transformative impact in real estate

The real estate industry will be disrupted by AI, but only to help agents build deeper connections.

By now, you’ve all heard the buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) and the potential impact on the real estate industry. While it’s certainly buzzworthy technology, it’s been met with reticence in the brokerage world.

In a recent RealTrends BrokerPulse, real estate brokerage leaders responded that they are embracing artificial intelligence (AI), they are doing so cautiously. About one-fourth of respondents said that they are not interested in using it, or are actively staying away from AI, the majority are exploring ways to use it.

One brokerage leader who isn’t shying away from AI: Glenn Sanford, founder of eXp Holdings and CEO of eXp Realty. He has been an unstoppable force in challenging traditional norms and embracing the potential of AI to reshape the way real estate agents market their services and listings, generate leads and more.

Sanford firmly believes that AI is not just a buzzword but a game changer that holds the key to unlocking extraordinary opportunities within the real estate sphere.

“AI is not about replacing real estate professionals; it’s about enhancing their abilities and the overall customer journey,” asserts Sanford, emphasizing his commitment to leveraging AI as a collaborative tool rather than a divisive force in the industry. Unlike those hesitant to embrace change, Sanford recognizes the immense potential AI brings to the table and views it as an indispensable asset that can elevate agents’ proficiency and effectiveness.

“I am an entrepreneur at heart, which means I think like a true entrepreneur, it’s less about P&L. I’m not building a business to fund a lifestyle. Most entrepreneurs would rather be broke than have a mediocre business that’s technically profitable,” he says. It’s this mindset, what he calls “the mindset of a person that builds a start up” that encourages him to “radical things [such as investing in AI],” he says. “You realize that you can crash and burn a number of times while building something that finally gets traction.”

Investing around the edges

However, Sanford has no plans to crash and burn with the AI-driven solutions tailored explicitly to cater to the ever-changing demands of the modern real estate market. “We’re starting to make investments into various companies on the edges. We want to create opportunities for people to merge their new ideas inside the “city” of eXp that would benefit agents, brokers and staff.” That includes eXp Ventures, to foster innovation. “How do we take from companies that have done well and innovate in a modern way?”

By harnessing the power of machine-learning algorithms, eXp Realty’s agents can now gain unprecedented insights into market trends, accurately predict property values, and efficiently match buyers with their dream homes.

“We’ve got a number of instances around the company, and we’re going to use other instances of either generative AI or image AI. We are already doing some image AI,” says Sanford. “We’re already working AI into our search solutions, like Zoocasa and others. So, you’ll be able to use natural language search when searching for property. So, the stuff that Zillow’s doing, we’re incorporating,” he says.

Disruption of the agent

“Real estate agents are going to get seriously disrupted by AI,” says Sanford, but not in the value of the real estate agent, but more in the way things are done. “Think about the [possibility] that lead follow up and nurturing campaigns will be managed by AI in the future. Look at platforms like Synthesia, [an AI video generator]. At eXp, we have a partnership with Blended Sense, [a content creation platform], so agents can do a video using Blended Sense [then upload] that into Synthesia,” says Sanford.

The agent can then add in content about their local community that’s generated by ChatGPT-4 and pump it into Synthesia. “They can self-narrate with their voice using an AI-generated version of themselves with AI-generated content. And in some cases, the consumer won’t even know it wasn’t the agent actually providing that information,” he says.

Sanford envisions a future where AI-driven chatbots effortlessly handle routine inquiries, freeing up valuable time for agents to focus on building deeper connections with clients and offering tailored guidance throughout the real estate journey. “The true essence of real estate lies in nurturing meaningful relationships,” Sanford says, “and AI should serve as a seamless enabler rather than an intrusive barrier in achieving that.”

Essential to business

While some may view AI as an accessory, Sanford passionately believes that integrating AI is essential in fortifying the industry’s foundation for generations to come. He envisions a day when AI algorithms will go beyond predictive analytics and assist agents in curating personalized property recommendations that align perfectly with their clients’ preferences and lifestyles.

Moreover, Sanford is not one to rest on his laurels; he relentlessly invests in research and development to push the boundaries of what AI can accomplish for the real estate world. Sanford’s commitment to staying ahead of the technological curve is driven by his belief that embracing AI wholeheartedly is not an option but a necessity to remain relevant in an ever-accelerating digital era.

When it comes to integrating AI into your brokerage, Sanford sums it up this way: “The reality is that it doesn’t matter what the controversy is. It’s literally those who don’t use AI will work for people who use AI.”

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