Real estate platform Wahi has launched an artificial intelligence-powered realtor recommendation system that aims to provide consumers with top realtors in their areas, and realtors with lead generations for clients.
“It’s meant for consumers to have a better way to find the best realtor for them,” says Wahi CEO Benjy Katchen, “And it’s a great way for great realtors to get new clients.”
AI-powered realtor matching system
Known as Wahi Marketplace, the system launched in parts of Ontario on June 22 after a more than one-month soft launch period.
Katchen says clients usually find realtors through local advertising, online searches or referrals from friends, family or colleagues. According to questions for Wahi included in Sagen’s First-time Homebuyers Survey conducted by Environics, 45 per cent of recent buyers or those intending to buy a home relied on referrals from family, friends or colleagues to find their realtor.
However, an evidence-based measurement of how well the realtor performs for clients was lacking, he says.
“What we’re trying to do is recommend the top 10 per cent realtor for the type of dwelling you’re trying to buy or sell in the area you’re trying to buy or sell in,” on a hyper-local basis, down to postal codes.
Katchen notes that a realtor who might be great in Mississauga “may not be the best realtor for downtown Toronto.”
Evidence-based realtor ratings
Wahi worked with The Vector Institute, which is dedicated to AI research, to create the system. It considers several factors to match realtors with consumers, including property search location, type and price, realtor experience, expertise, performance and sales history.
Concerning sales, it’s not necessarily a question of who has sold the most. Rather, “We want to know that there’s a minimum transaction going in that area because that’s indicative that you know that area.”
Factors ranging from the syntax and grammar and photo quality of listings to how long it took for listings to sell compared to similar properties in the area are also considered.
“We invite certain realtors that meet our criteria to essentially opt-in,” Katchen says. “It’s entirely at their discretion.”
New realtors will not be invited to apply, he says, noting, “We think the message of getting a top 10 per cent realtor resonates with consumers.”
Realtors get qualified leads “at a level of digital savviness that may be above and beyond the average consumer, as these consumers have found them through a digital portal.”
If a deal closes after a realtor is recommended to a client, Wahi makes a 0.5 per cent commission.
During the first month of the soft launch period, Wahi signed up about 50 realtors and concluded its first deal using the new system with Jack Dyer, broker of record for Dyer Realty in Cambridge, Ont. who made a transaction with a client in Kitchener Waterloo after being matched.
Dyer says Wahi is choosing its real estate agents not by random but through research.