South Florida resi agents lean into AI 

From writing listings to reviewing documents and generating marketing campaigns, the technology is proving to be a game changer

Patrick Lafferty, David Nguah and Andres Asion
Patrick Lafferty, David Nguah and Andres Asion (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty, Douglas Elliman, Compass, Miami Real Estate Group)

South Florida’s real estate agents do not fear the robot revolution.

Nearly a year after ChatGPT forced generative AI to go mainstream, brokers have figured out how to work the tech tools into their day-to-day operations. In addition to ChatGPT, agents are learning how to use platforms like Midjourney and Synthesia to do their jobs better, pick up the pace and save some cash, they said. 

“I was blown away. I was in shock when I started using it,” said Patrick Lafferty, an agent with Compass’s Modern Living Group in Palm Beach. Lafferty started playing around with OpenAI’s platform in February, he said.

So far, the most typical use cases for AI in real estate are writing listings, generating marketing materials and reviewing legal contracts. His office manager uses a chatbot to generate much of his team’s marketing materials after a departure left a gap in his team’s workflow.

“Recently, we let our marketing person go. She was spending hours writing,” he said. Now instead his office manager works with ChatGPT to streamline the process.

Lafferty said he plans to rehire a marketing person eventually, but ChatGPT will be a fixture in content and campaign generation for the foreseeable future.

“I wouldn’t totally outsource everything to AI,” he cautioned, suggesting that it can’t fully capture the tone of a brand.

David Nguah, an agent with Douglas Elliman in Miami Beach, and a member of South Florida’s Master’s Broker Forum, uses ChatGPT for his emails, texts, contract addendums, listing descriptions and spreadsheets, he told The Real Deal. He also uses Discord’s AI image generator Midjourney and the AI video generator Synthesia to create ads and marketing materials. 

AI tools, “work hand-in-hand to make our day easier,” he said. Like Lafferty, Nguah taught himself how to use generative AI. Most brokerages do not have formal AI training available for agents yet, so Nguah turned to YouTube to master these new gadgets. He described it as a trial-and-error process.

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Andres Asion, an agent and founder of Miami Real Estate Group, said learning how to use AI is about training your brain to prompt the chatbot with the right questions — such as if the word “chicken” appears in the Bible. 

“[It’s about] stopping your own personal barrier of ‘Should I ask this?’ because it sounds so crazy,” Asion said. “It would be crazy for anyone to not use ChatGPT.”

Other agents offered a more measured tone.

Jason Zarco, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, approaches generative AI with a degree of skepticism and hopes that it can reduce administrative duties that tie up agents’ time and keep them from interfacing with clients. He said he’s really only used it to help with writing tasks.

“I’m taking it very slowly, step by step,” he said. “The human aspect of our business is most important.”

The human aspect is what every agent interviewed for this story pointed to as the cornerstone of the real estate business, and something that the robots are seemingly very far away from. This cornerstone is what Asion, Nguah and Lafferty believe protects them from a future where AI handles property trades from start to finish.

Even if the AI weathers away the human touch that’s been the industry’s bedrock, Lafferty isn’t worried about the automation of the luxury real estate market, and to that end, his own livelihood.

“I think where you’re always safe is the higher-end buyers.”

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