Holmes, a real estate bot, will service leads for agents

Holmes can qualify and answer questions from prospective clients
  • Holmes is a bot that will be able to nurture leads on behalf of agents.
  • It can instantly handle a variety of data requests, communicating via a number of platforms, including text and Facebook Messenger.
  • Services like Holmes raise the question of whether laws governing unlicensed real estate agents should also apply to bots.

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"What's the market like right now?" a lead texts an agent. "Well there is about 6 months of inventory today and a home like yours might stay on the market for around 30 days," reads a lighting-fast response. Sample conversation between lead and Holmes. Few agents have the bandwidth to handle queries like this so efficiently, particularly those involving calculations. But by plugging into natural-language algorithms, real estate databases and communication channels, the real estate bot Holmes can do the work for them, answering detailed questions like what schools serve a listing and what neighborhoods are good for bicyclists -- lickety-split. Holmes, which is slated for launch in early 2017, is one of the latest options for agents who want to outsource communications with leads, joining a growing number of text and call centers, such as Riley and Lead Connect 365. But while most lead-nurturing services are operated by humans, Holmes is entirely automated. ...