The popularity and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in real estate has become nearly ubiquitous among America’s leading real estate brokerages, with 75% already using the technology and almost 80% reporting that their agents have adopted AI tools. But concerns remain about safeguards keeping pace with AI’s rapid integration, according to the 2024 Delta Media Real Estate Leadership Survey released today.

The comprehensive survey by Delta Media Group, a leading technology partner for more than 80 LeadingRE Affiliates and over 50 top-ranked brokerages nationwide, provides an in-depth profile of AI’s current landscape and future trajectory based on responses from more than 130 top brokerage leaders representing firms responsible for two-thirds of all real estate transactions nationally last year. It also uncovers worries about risks related to unchecked AI usage.

“AI has become one of real estate’s fastest-adopted technology tools, embraced by brokerages and agents at a breakneck speed,” said Michael Minard, owner and CEO of Delta Media. “But our survey shows legitimate concerns about reducing AI risks by having proper controls in place. As AI reliance grows, brokerages need assurance that their tech partners providing these tools have sufficient safeguards to protect them from the potential downsides. Managing risks remains an imperative even as competitive pressures make adoption table stakes,” he added.

The Delta study discovered how real estate agents employ AI in their day-to-day business, primarily leveraging this technology to craft property descriptions (82%), followed by generating blog posts, emails, and letters (67%), social media content (60%), website content (44%), and writing personal bios (43%).

More significantly, the reliance on AI is not just present but growing, with executives rating its current importance to the industry at 5 out of 10, which surges by 40% when asked about AI’s importance in the “near future.” The enthusiasm for AI is growing, with leaders noting they plan to leverage AI in the future; digital marketing (73%) and social media (72%) are the leading anticipated uses.

While some experts predict 2024 will be the year of AI personal assistants, only 23% of brokerage leaders see AI used for front-office or admin support this year. Remarkably, one in ten (11%) have “No plans to use AI” this year.

Despite the early adoption and widespread use of AI in the real estate industry, as Minard points out, the Delta survey found that a persistent fear of AI remains. More than half of the top brokerage execs said they are “worried or very worried” that AI “does not have the appropriate guardrails” to limit their risk or liability around it.

Gender dynamics
Female leaders recognize AI’s importance more, especially in mid-sized brokerages with substantial transaction volumes. A greater percentage of female leaders (85.3%) utilize AI in their businesses than male leaders (70.4%).

Female-led brokerages, particularly those with medium to large agent teams and high transaction volumes, are the most likely to use AI. The youngest and oldest male leaders, overseeing smaller brokerages, are less inclined to integrate AI.

The typical profile of a leader using AI today is an experienced senior executive, predominantly male, helming a mid-sized brokerage. This contrasts with the characteristics of brokerages most actively using AI, often led by women aged between 31-39 or 50-59 years, managing a considerable number of agents and overseeing substantial transaction volumes.

Concerning the apprehension of AI, more than half of the executives worry about the lack of “appropriate guardrails,” with female leaders slightly more concerned than males. The highest level of worry is among brokerage leaders aged 60 or older, especially those managing smaller teams and lower transaction volumes. Conversely, middle-aged leaders of large brokerages with massive transaction volumes exhibit the least concern.

Other survey highlights:

  • Older male leaders of mid-sized firms are most bullish on future AI importance
  • Larger brokerages with female executives are more likely to have agents using AI
  • Smaller brokerages led by older executives have the highest AI worry levels
  • Larger brokerages with middle-aged leadership are least worried about AI