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Property searches are about to become more personalised

By Orana Durney-Benson
10 November 2023 | 10 minute read
laptop hands

Move over, search engines. It’s time for AI to take charge of househunting.

This week, Realty Media Group (RMG) launched what it is hailing as Australia’s first-ever property search platform powered by artificial intelligence.

The tool, which RMG dubbed as Discovery Search, allows buyers to search by lifestyle need, rather than location, using agent-favoured keywords to aid the platform in its quest for the perfect property.

According to RMG, the search tool scans agent descriptions for phrases like stroll to beach, dog-friendly yard and ideal renovator to match up properties to aspiring buyers.

RMG founder Troy Rushton shared that the firm “wanted to make the property search experience as seamless and personalised as possible”.

“With this new technology, we are taking a giant leap towards that goal,” he said.

At its heart, Discovery Search aims to upturn the traditional property search, in which a buyer starts out by identifying a location and then filters the list down to the properties that support their lifestyle. In contrast, AI search engines use lifestyle-based criteria to show buyers homes in locations that may not have previously been on their radar – or so its proponents claim.

According to Mr Rushton, RMG has “developed a holistic distribution platform for agents that will allow buyers to ‘discover’ properties based on what’s really important to them”.

“Our mission is to simplify and enhance property marketing using predictive technology based on user interactions in order to present the most relevant properties,” Mr Rushton stated.

RMG isn’t the only property powerhouse vouching for AI househunting. Simon Baker, former CEO of REA, also recently underlined the importance of harnessing AI “to move from matching to discovery”.

“Traditionally, it’s been reliant on me as the searcher to really guide the process,” Mr Baker explained. “That’s really limited, then, by what I don’t know – if I don’t know what I don’t know, I’ll never find it.”

“The role of an AI-driven search engine is to say, ‘What’s really important to you?’ then tell me where I could live. Trying doing that today on REA or Domain – you can’t, right?” Mr Baker said.

From digital marketing to cold calls, it seems that everyone is touting AI as the magic pill to cure the property industry of all its ills. But when it comes to turning these productivity dreams into reality, opinions are more mixed.

Recent data found that real estate companies are willing to pay big bucks for AI technology – but worryingly, many reported that they had a limited understanding of how AI could actually be used to help their business.

Last month, Dye & Durham also found that only 27 per cent of everyday Australians are comfortable with AI being used in real estate, and only 3 per cent of Aussies are regular users of AI.

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