Real estate keen to explore AI tech

February 15, 2023 | 15:22
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Although it is too early to say that AI systems like ChatGPT will become a mainstay in the real estate sector, brokers believe that they could transform the market in the coming years.
Real estate keen to explore AI tech
Data that ChatGPT owns is limited to 2021 and is not suitable for current market prices, Photo Le Toan

If before, real estate agents had to write plenty of descriptions of the house they wanted to sell, now ChatGPT could help them do it in seconds.

Hoang Duc, a private real estate broker in Ho Chi Minh City, wants to advertise for sale a 4-bedroom house in Thu Duc city. With just entering a few keywords, an AI chatbot tool can create an extremely attractive description. Duc said that it would have taken him an hour or more to write such a paragraph himself.

“Although it was just an experiment, it saved me a lot of time. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start,” Duc said.

According to Tong Duong, CEO and founder of Homenext Corporation, more people in his area of expertise are wondering if AI will replace humans at some tasks sooner rather than later. “I think, if ChatGPT or a similar platform is officially released in Vietnam, it will become a tool which will impact education, business, and technology,” Duong told VIR.

According to Duong, from a business perspective, people will either quickly adapt and control the new ways of working, or be replaced or eliminated because of their slow process to adapt.

“However, there is one thing that AI cannot replace, which is human connection and emotional stories that only humans can write,” stressed Duong.

In less than two months, ChatGPT has sparked discussions about the potential to disrupt other industries, from publishing to law. It is made up of large amounts of online data, to answer users’ questions. It can write essays, stories, song lyrics, and research paper summaries, and some CEOs are using it to write emails or do accounting work.

Although not yet used in Vietnam, the system is currently being discussed enthusiastically throughout the real estate market, from investors and professionals to brokers and end-users. ChatGPT is currently free, but owner OpenAI is considering a $42 monthly fee. Real estate broker Duc said he is willing to pay hundreds of US dollars a year for a tool like this.

However, for questions surrounding the Vietnamese real estate market, this chatbot has revealed certain limitations. Although the product from OpenAI does not officially support Vietnamese users, the words and expressions of the chatbot are still relatively easy to understand. For those who only need to find basic information, the data it provides is relatively accurate.

However, for experts or those who want to look up more detailed information, results are deemed unsatisfactory. Data that ChatGPT owns is also limited to 2021 and is therefore not suitable when looking at current market prices.

Although OpenAI has updated calculation capabilities, many users acknowledge that the software incorrectly answers basic calculations.

According to Daniel Vu, a private broker, all advice is for reference only, even if it is advice from an expert.

“Investing is an individual decision. ChatGPT is ultimately just a reference channel. The investment depends on each person’s perception of the future picture of the market. This is a factor that depends on the analytical ability and sensitivity of investors. Meanwhile, the answer of the other AI is based entirely on past data,” commented Vu.

However, he said that he highly appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to create documents. He thinks that if it is to write documents or contracts, this chatbot could completely perform well. Even the team in the company’s marketing department could use it to support ideas and any content creation.

Damian Sung - Institutional sales director Asia Bankers Club
Real estate keen to explore AI tech
As the utilisation of ChatGPT technology continues to rise within Vietnam’s real estate sector, it is imperative that executives and decision-makers consider its potential impact on the industry. While the tool holds promise in streamlining certain aspects of the process, such as providing basic information and answering routine questions, it must be noted that ChatGPT is a language model and not a substitute for professional real estate agents, appraisers, or investment advisors.

Reliance on similar AI-powered platforms as the sole source of information and counsel in real estate ventures could result in incomplete or inaccurate insights, presenting a risk to business objectives. To mitigate this risk, executives are advised to conduct due diligence by cross-referencing information obtained from these tools with multiple trusted sources, including professional organisations like Asia Bankers Club, Savills, JLL, and CBRE.

While the trend of utilising such technology in the Vietnamese real estate market offers some advantages, it is crucial for executives to seek out the expertise of seasoned professionals and to verify information obtained through AI platforms in order to make informed decisions and achieve business objectives.

Duong Dung - Executive director CBRE Vietnam
Real estate keen to explore AI tech
Although in its infancy, ChatGPT boasts considerable benefits and it is impossible to assess the limit this technology can bring at this moment in time.

Service and brokerage activities in Vietnam’s real estate market could save time in aggregating information and providing market summaries. Brokers may also use it to reach out to new customer groups to understand customer needs, something that a broker can take days or even months to gather the necessary information. In addition, its human likeness is an advantage that can reduce the time it takes to answer common questions.

AI in the real estate market is no longer a new concept, with some large US corporations already using AI in property valuation. The direct impact of an AI like ChatGPT may not be precisely determined, but the result is effective. Time is a significant asset for any market, real estate especially will be much more efficient with the time that an AI offers.

However, AI is not without risks. Information and accuracy of information are significant, especially for a sensitive market like real estate. A user can use it to aggregate basic information, but an in-depth understanding requires real-world experience. Currently, ChatGPT’s aggregate database only contains information up to 2021. Therefore, the effectiveness of ChatGPT for a time-dependent market like real estate can be minimal due to outdated market information.

Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc - CEO and founder Sen Vang Real Estate JSC
Real estate keen to explore AI tech
ChatGPT has caused a global fever since early December, with more than one million registered users after just one week.

We should look at it as a useful tool for giving customers intensive, transparent, and integrated information about products and the real estate market. In addition, other AI applications will optimise marketing and real estate sales activities such as writing content for real estate sales, writing PR content for products, or other marketing content to support and attract customers, appraise customers, and define the target audience.

Because AI is based on a large database, it is possible that in the near future, there will be new jobs or new trends that are creating commands and keywords for ChatGPT to produce results and so there will be a lot of data generated intentionally, but no longer transparently.

Especially since information on Vietnam’s real estate market remains at a low level, data falsification can completely happen for unfair competition and data navigation. And that is why, successfully choosing good information from reliable sources is important.

Alex Crane - Managing director Knight Frank Vietnam
Real estate keen to explore AI tech
While AI as well as proptech is in its infancy, there will inevitably be hurdles and risks to overcome through adoption. Naturally, with continued learning in AI platforms in our sector, it is something certainly to watch with interest.

There is a hype-cycle to new technologies that can take some time before mass adoption, but these steps and innovation are welcome. Specifically for ChatGPT, it is astute at answering questions that are relevant to content, so is likely to be most prominent in our sector around report writing and marketing. It no doubt is a great step already to help content writers for inspiration or in the structuring of prose and helping with some key discussion points.

Relating to our wider industry, AI is still a long way from providing solid technical reasoning and experience in specific disciplines such as valuation, construction, surveying or conveyancing. Indeed, the human element of decision-making, design or occupancy of the built environment involves so much human emotion we may be waiting a long time before AI can replicate human response to the point it will be adopted in the sector in a meaningful sense.

That said, we might expect some improvements through this kind of technology for content and marketing and users must then be aware that AI is only an output of data that it can source or is trained on which may be open to biases, errors, or inaccuracies.

In order to avoid these risks, it is important for users to corroborate information provided by the ChatGPT tool with other reliable sources, and to consult experienced professionals.

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