Nine Four Insights

Artificial Intelligence: The Human Advantage

As we enter 2019, I believe it’s important to understand the added value AI brings to human intelligence rather than the solo function of AI. The advancement of machine learning is undeniably valuable as we look at technologies being conceptualized within the RE space.  Whether it be for residential, multifamily, or commercial, the growth potential it creates is something we at Nine Four feel strongly about.  Our portfolio company, First, is a great example of its effectiveness in conjunction with human relationships.

First has developed an innovative B2C business model using predictive analytics to alert real estate agents as to which of their contacts/sphere of influence are likely to buy or sell their home, thus giving the agent the upper hand in connecting while the prospect is still very early in their sales funnel. Think of this software as your very own fortune teller, often times knowing information before the buyer/seller does. Utilizing hundreds of data points, First guides realtors to the contacts of priority, thus helping them gain a competitive advantage.

While the product relies on machine learning to collect and analyze data, it’s only successful in creating value utilized when the agent or broker acts. Gaining an upper hand using First is one thing, but how you use this new-found knowledge is the complement that demonstrates the value in machines and humans working together. First has done an impressive job in educating customers on the importance of relationships, as real estate transactions often require peace of mind and a sense of trust, thus requiring the important element of the human touch. Their product simply maximizes the efficacy of the talent and value-add that a real estate agent displays.


According to NAR, 70% of homeowners say that they would work with their agent again, but only 25% actually did. With the data that First provides, agents can be prepared to be in the right place at the right time, creating more space in their daily routine to prioritize tasks that will help win more deals.

Understanding that value of AI within the real estate space is essential. So much has been left to pen and paper that recognizing the advancements this technology brings can feel somewhat daunting.  With predictive analytics, agents are provided with what one may consider an ‘unfair advantage’. Relationships are an agent’s most valuable asset, while time is an agents most valuable resource. The brilliance of creating more time through the use of data is invaluable and the importance of cultivating those relationships is ultimately the winning factor.

As AI advances and we begin to see greater adoption, we will witness machine learning take on various forms in which will simplify, enhance and cultivate our industry, not to augment human value but to heighten it.

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