Redfin, Zillow adopt ChatGPT plugins

AI chatbot finds listings based on conversational user questions

Photo illustration of Zillow's Richard Barton and Redfin's Glenn Kelman
Photo illustration of Zillow's Richard Barton and Redfin's Glenn Kelman (Getty, Redfin; Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

The race is on to incorporate ChatGPT into real estate listing sites. 

Redfin on Wednesday announced a ChatGPT plugin a day after Zillow announced one of its own. The plugins, available to select ChatGPT Premium users, enable users to describe homes in a conversational way to ChatGPT and have it pull up relevant listings.

“I think the most powerful way the Redfin ChatGPT plugin can make buying a home easier today is by suggesting homes and neighborhoods that would not have been uncovered via a map-based real estate search,” said Ariel Dos Santos, Redfin’s vice president of product.

The arrival of ChatGPT late last year has left few industries untouched. Commercial and residential brokers alike began using the artificial intelligence chatbot as a de facto personal or research assistants shortly after its launch.

Residential brokers had the generative AI compose listing descriptions and draft official letters, while commercial brokers immediately saw value in its ability to provide detailed analysis on their clients’ industries.

ChatGPT’s arrival in the world of listings marks a similar shift away from tedious research and scrolling, this time for homebuyers.

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A prospective buyer using Redfin’s plugin can enter, “I’m moving to Houston for a new job with a $150,000 salary. Show me three-bedroom homes for sale with private, outdoor entertaining space in neighborhoods with trendy restaurants.”

Similarly, Zillow’s plugin allows users to ask conversational questions about listings, such as, “Can you show me homes that are in the $475,000 price range? Also, can you only show me homes having an open house this weekend?”

The plugins are well-timed, as buyers need all the help they can get, given high interest rates and low for-sale inventory. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday increased its benchmark rate by 25 basis points, which could push mortgage rates — which have more than doubled from their pandemic lows — higher yet.

Redfin reports that new listings on its site fell 23 percent in March to their lowest levels on record and that buyers are having to do more research to find a home. The firm touts its AI plugin as facilitating that.

“Through a simple conversation with the Redfin ChatGPT plugin, a homebuyer can get suggestions of homes for sale in nearby neighborhoods with similar amenities they might not otherwise have considered,” Dos Santos said. “This could also help home sellers get their listings in front of a wider audience of serious buyers.”

The plugins were built by OpenAi, the firm that created ChatGPT. Zillow said its plugin is in an alpha phase to refine the user experience before wider distribution. New users will have to sign up for a waitlist for access to the plugins, according to OpenAI’s website.