Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by Sean B
Chatbots have found their way into almost every industry, so it should come as no surprise that people are using chatbots for real estate. Real Estate Agents and companies are using them to communicate with potential clients outside of their usual business hours and learn more about the buyer’s needs.
In the National Association of Realtor’s study Real Estate in a Digital Age, from 2019, the NAR states that in 2018 44% of homebuyers looked for property online first. Among Gen Xers, that number jumped to 47%. When internet use throughout the process is reviewed, the number increases to 90% of buyers using the internet frequently to search for their home at some point. What this means is that your website needs to be available to your potential clients all the time, it also needs to be as engaging and helpful as possible.
Buyers are using them to learn about the different properties available and to get information about the neighborhoods those homes are in. Sellers are even using them to communicate with their agent in off hours and even fill out paperwork more quickly. The result is that everyone involved, the Agent and their potential clients, both buyer’s and sellers, wind up saving time and money.
The engagement that chatbots offer to Realtors can result in a 50% increase in conversions according to TARS. MobileMonkey states that chatbot marketing with MobileMonkey’s Real Estate Chatbots can reduce lead acquisition cost by 97%, while resulting in a 400% increase in lead volume.
How Real Estate Agents Are Using Chatbots for Real Estate
Real Estate Agents are using chatbots to answer questions, qualify leads, direct users to properties that match their needs, and even help them fill out the paperwork involved in leasing a property or purchasing a house. It sounds straightforward enough, but there is much more involved.
Getting a user to your website is hard enough but getting them to stick around and do what you want them to, which is turn into a client, can be a monumental task. Anything you can do to keep them on your website is beneficial. Chatbots can engage your customer with friendly chat and make searching through the seemingly listings of homes or apartments for the right fit both easy and pleasant.
But there’s something more important than all of that, making sure someone is available when you aren’t. Sure, you can hire an answering service and they can take messages for you to call back the next business day, but odds are the person who called has a job. That means there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to reach them.
Using chatbots for real estate instead of an answering service means that there is someone to respond 24/7. You can even have a chatbot that not only works on your website, but can communicate through voice, text messaging, and messaging apps.
But the best thing about a chatbot is the cost savings and tasks that you can have them perform. Answering Services are expensive, costing about $1.75 per call on average. They are also limited, they can take a message… that’s it, that’s really all they do.
Chatbots can also cost you, RealtyChatbot prices start at $249 per month for up to 1,000 users, with a yearly discount. This gets you an AI chatbot that they help you build. Their chatbots respond quickly to users and offer automated lead responses and advanced conversation flows designed to turn visitors into clients.
Some of their features are quite interesting and go far beyond the standard appointment scheduling, their AI recognizes certain keywords and can tell is a potential client is looking for a home, apartment, or commercial property.
For example, if the user asks about the value of their home, the chatbot recognizes them as a Seller and can guide them through a button-response system that gathers all the details and send them to you so you can reply the next business day. There is a separate conversation flow for those looking to rent, home buyers, and those looking for commercial property.
Helping with Paperwork
Some custom chatbots can guide clients through the endless paperwork involved in Renting, Buying, or Selling properties. This is handled through a simple question and answer system that enters the information gathered into the necessary forms.
Maintaining Constant Contact with Potential Clients
Busy realtors have more important things to do than answering each call asking questions about specific properties. They’re too busy meeting with prospective clients, showing properties, and hopefully selling or leasing properties. But missing those calls risks potentially losing a client, so simple chatbots acting as a virtual agent are almost a requirement.
Research shows that about 78% of purchasers stay with the specialist who answers them first. So you can either recruit a group of operators who can answer your calls and messages throughout the entire day or build a chatbot.
Even a simple real estate chatbot can handle the simple tasks for you, setting appointments, guiding potential clients to the right area of your website, and more. They can also respond to basic inquiries, gather contact details, and connect clients with the most current MLS listings for searching, all the while gathering information. This means you get to learn all you need to know about your potential client in a simple email instead of hours of conversation.
Taking Rental Applications
Chatbots have also changed the way that people search for rental properties. They help guide users through the rental listings all the while gathering information about the potential renter about what their needs and interests are, what they have to spend, and where they are looking.
This enables the chatbot to find other postings in the database base and present them to the user.
Setting Up Property Visits
Connecting a chatbot with your calendar means it can help your clients set up an appointment with you to view the properties they are interested in. The chatbot can even help plan calls and let the clients dial you right from the chat window if they need to.
Learning About the Market Needs
A real estate chatbot can have these conversations with dozens of people while you’re talking to a single client. All the data I mentioned here and earlier in the article means you get additional market research done for you. If handled right, this can put you well ahead of your competition. With enough chatbot users, you could gain insights into what neighborhoods are the hottest for different users as well as what your clients want in a property by showing what they are searching for. Segmenting the data means you can dig into it even further, telling you that new parents like neighborhood A now instead of neighborhood B like they did last year.
This is information you can use to create additional content to bring in clients. Writing a decent article about each of the hottest markets, or a blog post describing why clients may want to consider looking for specific features in their new property.
Interfacing with Younger Clients
Younger clients tend to be more knowledgeable about the internet in general, and having a chatbot can help you connect with them in ways that a traditional website can’t. Recent studies show that the most recent college grads would rather contact brands through live chat or texts as opposed to by telephone.
In 2018, those same recent college grads made up 37% of every single property purchaser. Using a well-designed chatbot, gives you an opportunity to connect with those younger clients and can set you apart from your competition.
Including your Facebook Page and Other Social Media Accounts
Social Media Apps have a great deal of potential in Real Estate. Nearly all of your potential clients are already on sites like WhatsApp, Instagram, and of course Facebook. With the right chatbot, you can take advantage of this audience and interface with them directly in a place where they are comfortable.
Chatbots like those built by MobileMonkey or Landbot.io work on your website as well as a number of these different Social Media platforms. MobileMonkey and similar chatbots offer a one-click installation on some social media sites, as we as easy integration into your website. If your website is built in WordPress, the integration of some of them can be handled with a WordPress Plugin for Chatbots.
Chatbots are an important and I would say necessary part of the marketing strategy of any Real Estate Agency. They offer 24/7 representation to potential and existing clients, and if designed properly, can increase your conversion rate tremendously.
Most important though is that chatbots gather information for you. Information about potential buyers and sellers, and information about the market in general. This is data you can use to improve your services and increase business.