Images sell homes. For real estate professionals, they are vital components of marketing, presenting and showcasing inventory. For buyers, they are the key to attracting interest. Every real estate professional understands the value of quality images that highlight existing properties and their features. But what if images could show the possibilities of a property beyond what currently exists? For example, what if images showing finished rooms in homes under construction could be created? What if images could declutter existing rooms to get properties on the market more efficiently? What if you could create images for buyers who have trouble imagining a space but know exactly what they want?
One of the most exciting new technologies that can be applied to creating images for use in real estate is generative artificial intelligence (AI). Most of us have seen the hype created by ChatGPT—one application of generative AI—which hit the market and the collective consciousness in late 2022. Many real estate professionals use ChatGPT to create property listings, write newsletters and generate leads. However, generative AI goes far beyond apps composing articles and other forms of written information.
Generative AI Defined
Generative AI is a subset of AI that transforms the content creation process in several mediums. In addition to creating text, generative AI can generate photo-realistic images based on any text input. The image creation process uses machine learning to analyze text and convert it into images. Users enter a prompt, such as “a modern architectural building with large glass windows, situated on a cliff overlooking a serene ocean at sunset,” and the technology will recognize patterns in the text to create an image. Unique, one-of-a-kind images can be created with near perfection based on only a written description. Generative AI is already being used in the world of AI art, and its applications in real estate are worth understanding and exploring.
Using Text-to-Image Generative AI in Real Estate
Empty properties, dated décor, homes under construction—these are all impediments to great photography. And they all take time and money to address. Generative AI can easily elevate property photos and make a property that’s not quite there yet ready for listing and attracting buyers without the agent’s investment in staging or finishing.
But, like many new tools, generative AI images must be used ethically and with transparency. As with other images, agents should take care not to misrepresent a property and should ensure that potential buyers fully understand how photos that are generated using AI have been enhanced.
They could face legal liability for not taking such precautions: View NAR’s Window to the Law video that offers legal tips on using generative AI for your business.
Modifying Listing Photos
Property images should highlight as many property features and amenities as possible and appeal to the widest audience of potential buyers. But no photo can be all things to all people. Generative AI can be used to broaden the reach and appeal of existing photos.
Virtual Staging AI is one example of websites and apps offering generative AI services that real estate professionals can use to highlight and market properties. The AI algorithm can scan a photo and add elements such as furniture, lighting fixtures and landscaping.
Beyond staging elements, generative AI can customize listing photos to appeal to a specific buyer’s wants and needs. Say a buyer is curious about a house but is trying to imagine the space with mid-century modern décor. Agents can customize the photo to give that specific buyer an excellent example of their aesthetic in this house. Or, a buyer likes the kitchen layout, but seems stuck on the dark walnut cabinets. Generative AI can show the same kitchen with light cherry wood or painted cabinetry. What makes generative AI even more helpful is that this data can be fed back into the algorithm to suggest furnishings and finishes that would work well with these consumer preferences.
Another efficient and effective use of generative AI in real estate is providing home renovation previews. The AI algorithm can generate accurate images of how a new construction or renovated home will look before the buyer makes a financial commitment. In fact, websites offering these image-generating services already exist. REimagineHome offers real estate professionals AI services, including virtual remodeling, staging, landscaping, decluttering and an AI under-construction property visualizer, among others. There’s tremendous business value in helping home buyers make informed decisions on whether they want to move forward with new construction, renovate or purchase their dream home before investing too much time or money.
There is no doubt that generative AI is a transformative technology with far-reaching impact. Real estate professionals who invest the time to understand its many use cases and implement it wisely can create business value and competitive advantages in their businesses. Generative AI is opening a world of possibilities for using images in real estate to enhance and reimagine existing properties. Agents who use this powerful new tool responsibly and ethically—adhering to the NAR Code of Ethics related to misrepresentation—can introduce more creativity, imagination and possibilities to marketing and selling properties and make the searching and buying experience far more intriguing for potential buyers.
Fitzpatrick, M.; Gujral, V.; Kapoor, A.; Wolkomir, A.; “Generative AI Can Chang Real Estate, But the Industry Must Change to Reap the Benefits,” McKinsey Quarterly, 14 November 2023, Online.