Newsmakers Spotlight: Ashley Dane on Understanding and Embracing AI in Real Estate

Ashley Dane, regional director of RE/MAX of Michigan, is a strong advocate and supporter of new and emerging technology in the real estate landscape. From educating agents to implementing new strategies, she has made significant contributions to the real estate technology landscape, moving the industry forward and impacting real and necessary change.

“The future of AI in real estate is limited only to what our imaginations can create,” says Dane. “AI to our modern society is what the printing press was to the 15th century. Learning and discovery will expand exponentially.”

In this exclusive interview, kicking off our Newsmaker Spotlight series, Dane discusses the idea of embracing new technology, and highlights the value of AI for both real estate professionals and clients. For Dane and RE/MAX of Michigan, taking advantage of these tools and resources now will ultimately bring their business productivity and success into a new era of the industry.

“How fortunate we are to live at the dawn of AI,” she says. “I cannot wait to influence that future.”

Paige Brown: What does it mean to you to be named one of RISMedia’s 2024 Real Estate Newsmakers?
Ashley Dane: Me? You actually know who I am? But in all honesty, it’s truly an honor to be recognized as a 2024 Real Estate Newsmaker. I dedicate my life to moving the chess board behind the scenes for our agents. To know that my impact is felt, that my thoughts and perspectives are recognized and respected industry wide, is very validating.

PB: Last year, you made significant contributions to the real estate technology landscape. What aspects of your company’s tech stack do you find the most valuable to RE/MAX and its agents this year and beyond?
AD: More than a product, for me technology is a philosophy. Can an agent that implements technology grow their business, or capture more market share? What technology can RE/MAX of Michigan provide that will help increase business for our associates? Efficiency, productivity, lead generation and client nurturing. 

The crown jewel of real estate technology today is automation. I say this so often I should trademark it—“Clone Yourself.” Let technology do the tedious, repetitive and time sensitive tasks that computers are great at, and allow agents to be out in the world connecting with people—what they are great at. Find that balance and you can grow your business to never before seen heights.

PB: What new technology tools, resources or platforms are you most looking forward to diving into this year?
AD: There is a whole new world to be discovered with wearable tech, such as Apple Vision Pro, Meta Quest, AI Pin and Rabbit R1. Do any of these platforms equate to money in real estate today? Not yet. Will they in the future? Absolutely yes. Figuring out a way to sort through the distraction and find opportunities to leverage and monetize these seemingly frivolous gadgets will be the fun part!

PB: How do you believe AI can help improve the day-to-day lives of real estate professionals, as well as their clients?
AD: I categorize AI into different realms. Most agents are familiar with natural language generation AI. Not to be discounted, ChatGPT is powerful. But the real business differentiator? These will come from business tools and apps that are utilizing AI on a much broader scale. 

We are nearing a day when a homebuying experience looks more like matching a lifestyle than matching simple data points. A world where buyers conduct 3D walkthroughs of agent property recommendations that were aided by AI, and physically touring only the top option to check for odors and traffic noise. A future where home pricing advances far beyond the rudimentary price per square foot, and instead factors in thousands of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors—giving sellers a very specific calculation of home value in current market conditions.  

PB: What do you think some of the downfalls or risks are when it comes to implementing AI? 
AD: Fascinating and equally alarming feats are occurring with AI at a rapid pace, and, and has proven itself to be able to identify incredible outcomes. AI is influencing almost everything around you—and you are likely not even aware. It has proven itself highly capable of influencing human response. 

But there is another layer that we should all consider when evaluating this tech. Data scientists provide data to AI models, without context. But our world is built on so much more than black and white data. That context includes social norms that we have learned over decades, centuries, millennia, that are crucial to societal function. So these non-data driven realities must be factored into the equation. But how?  

Meanwhile, this data could also perpetuate long held societal challenges that we desire to change. Who controls the ethics in AI? How does the 25 year old data scientist mold the AI model to effectively influence the outcomes? Should there be more oversight? The risk lies in blindly trusting the output of AI, simply because it’s so intelligent. But due diligence must be done. We must ask questions probing into the ‘how’ the AI was trained, on what data set and to what end.  

PB: How can real estate professionals, both associates and leaders, avoid these risks?
AD: My first law with AI—if it’s your name on that post, email or blog, you are responsible for that content. Vendors are about to flourish providing AI content and marketing services. Easy, fast or ‘paid service’ are not acceptable excuses for publishing content that violates license law. If we know or suspect that AI is providing the service, it becomes even more crucial that you carefully review the content.

Beyond natural language generation, we are at the dawn of spectacular apps to assist the industry. As these apps are developed and offered to the industry, leaders must dig in. Who created it? To what end? Who receives the benefit? Are there ancillary benefits, and who reaps them? Data is the oil of the 21st century. Who owns it, how it’s deployed and who collects it will be the trillion dollar questions.

PB: What would say to those in the industry who are apprehensive about new technology, especially AI?
AD: When discussing implementing tech strategy, I can see the physical response in a room. When I’m describing a new tech, how it works and how to deploy it, a certain group of agents will shift—leaning their entire bodies back slightly. It is a natural “I am uncomfortable with this concept” response. But we should not see implementing this tech as negative. The AI around us improves our lives in microscopic ways, hundreds of times each day. Our quality of life is improved because AI is curating custom experiences geared to make our lives easier and better. 

If we are enjoying the fruits of this technology, wouldn’t our clients equally appreciate it?  I truly believe that the best path forward is education and transparency. If we increase our awareness of AI in our personal lives, we will be more willing to embrace offering the same services to our clients and in our business.

PB: Please share some insights on embracing AI and maximizing its potential, and how the industry will evolve throughout 2024.
AD: Careers will be made in 2024. When markets slow, it’s game on for tech adoption for strategic agents. Lean into new tech and create a better year for your business. I have so much optimism for 2024. Yes, there are a subset of agents that will “wait for this to pass.” They are apprehensive of unknown technology, and will continue to operate as they always have. The others? They will begin digging in and seeking new strategies with modern tech, and these will be the agents that dominate their markets in the coming years. 

In 2024, the enterprising industry leaders will research every new app and AI-enabled tool that emerges. Many will be great ideas, with no real path to revenue. At this stage, we are at AI infancy. Developers will connect practitioners to identify the ideas that will have the greatest impact. 2024 will set the stage for a new wave, a spectacular future for real estate.

Thank you to our 2024 Real Estate Newsmakers Sponsors:

Newsmakers Gold Sponsor
Real Estate Webmasters

Newsmakers Bronze Sponsors
American Home Shield
FBS Data
Forbes Global Properties
Realtors Property Resource

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