Homebuyers rarely find the home of their dreams without making some kind of change. For many, that change is directed toward the kitchen, where 84% upgraded their lighting, according to a 2017 study by U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends.
However, for future homebuyers, this may not be the case in the future. A new kind of real estate broker is finding the right homes for families by answering any residential question you ask, including what type of lighting is in the home, what the school district is like, and where the nearest restaurants are.
Meet REX, an Alexa-like online marketing platform, owned by REX Real Estate Exchange. The box uses a mix of artificial intelligence and big data to sell higher priced homes in California to homebuyers on the hunt. However, because REX is still in the beginning stages of work, a human representative is still required to be there to greet buyers.
REX not only reduces the risk of employee turnover for the company, which often costs businesses up to $11 billion annually but also reduces the price of commission for the homebuyers. Because REX only charges a 2% fee instead of the regular 6% and doesn’t use the Multiple Listing Service, homeowners can save an average of up to $25,000.
The New York Post claims the new robotic broker may appeal to millennials, who haven’t been buying houses in recent years due to the lack of affordability. Because the price of housing has gone up but salaries haven’t, millennials are often left having to wait years to save up for a down payment. Some have even begun crowd-funding to afford homes.
However, while REX’s money-saving abilities may appeal to many, its lack of privacy may not. REX works with analytical software to follow potential homebuyers online and deliver ads to them regarding houses they will most likely click on.
According to the New York Post, “Once REX has your IP address, it can see what kind of house you own and, through your searches and purchases, what your life is built around.”
The analytical software is meant to engage with potential buyers to increase their likelihood of buying with Rex Real Estate Exchange.
“A homeowner may see the house online and ask their broker to show it to them,” said Rex founder and former Goldman Sachs executive Jack Ryan. “He may say he can’t or that it’s sold. But then, because we have already captured that IP address, we will invite his client to our open house.”
Whether the AI robot really will appeal to millennials or those of any other generation is uncertain. Robots having been introduced to public spaces in the past and have received mixed reviews. One security robot recently drowned in a mall in Washington. Many mall-goers, according to CNN, reflected that the presumably beloved robot named Steve hadn’t been beloved at all, but “very creepy.” And the general opinion on robot security in California has already gone down in July 2016 after one robot ran over a toddler.
Yet the public’s opinion on REX may very well differ from that of the robo-cops as REX is a tabletop box and not a large mobile machine. REX will be launching on the real estate market in Nassau County, CA on August 1.