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Innovation

ChatGPT could help you find your next home

Zillow and Redfin are adding ChatGPT plugins to make it easier for users to find homes that meet their requirements.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer on
Zillow and ChatGPT
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Home shopping is not for the faint of heart, especially in this economy. Using mobile apps like Zillow and Redfin, however, can help make the process run a bit smoother. Now, both real estate websites are announcing the integration of new ChatGPT plugins for real estate searches.

The new addition could make home searching a less painful process, making a real estate search as easy as a conversation with the AI chatbot. Users could simply ask ChatGPT to show them listings within a set price range, ask whether a specific listing is for sale or for rent, what the bedroom and bathroom counts are, and more.

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ChatGPT, launched by OpenAI last fall, is a conversational bot based on the company's large language models, GPT-3.5 in the free version or GPT-4 for Plus users, that uses natural language processing to have text conversations with users that can feel a lot like chatting with a real human. 

People use ChatGPT to generate text for writing projects, translations, and to answer basic questions. Its versatility, however, is much more far-reaching, as it can also write code and debug it, Excel formulas, and, now, search for homes.

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Zillow is no stranger to artificial intelligence; the website has used machine learning to generate its trademark for Zestimate since 2006, employing a proprietary algorithm to calculate a home's estimated market value by combining the home's facts, location, market trends, and public, MLS, and user-submitted information. 

The company also uses AI to generate immersive floor plans for listed properties and to perform natural language searches.

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Redfin, another real estate tech company also launching a ChatGPT plugin, hopes it enables its users to easily find homes that meet their criteria beyond a checklist or filtered search. The plugin makes it possible to ask more descriptive questions, like requesting a home in a neighborhood with trendy restaurants, that fits with your salary and budget, or with private backyards. 

According to Zillow CTO, David Beitel, this is just the beginning, "As the first major residential real estate marketplace to bring advanced, AI-powered search to the home-shopping experience, we understand its immense potential, and we look forward to developing more tech innovations with OpenAI technology in the future."

OpenAI's ChatGPT-4 plugins are only available for a select number of users on a waitlist basis, with plans to expand in a larger-scale over time. Right now, the Zillow ChatGPT is in its alpha phase, allowing the company to fine-tune the user experience, so it is unclear when it will be available to all users.

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