Siri is a sweetheart. Alexa can do math. But what happens when you want to search for a home? There’s a good chance you might end up Facetiming your grandmother in Hoboken all because you wanted to know the best place to rent a condo in Boca Raton. This is where the new partnership between Doss and Onboard Informatics comes into play. Doss and Onboard Informatics are both based out of New York, and each offers a very different, yet equally valuable service.

  • Doss teamed up with Onboard Informatics to deliver voice-activated searches exclusively for real estate.
  • Doss is a free service for consumers that asks for a 30 percent referral fee from agents.
  • Houston will be the first to experience the power of the virtual assistant. The technology will be available nationwide in January 2017, the company says.

Apple’s Siri is a sweetheart and respectful. Amazon’s Alexa can do math and more.

But what happens when the only thing you want to do is explicitly search for a new home?

This is where the new partnership between Houston-based Doss and New York-based Onboard Informatics comes into play. Doss and Onboard Informatics will soon offer a similar service.

Ask DOSS

Ask DOSS will be able to answer even the most specific questions from consumers.

Doss is a a voice-powered real estate assistant. Onboard Informatics is a data company offering information on topics like employment, education, population, housing, crime and transportation for local markets.

What do you get when you put the two together? A virtual assistant for the everyman’s and everywoman’s real estate queries.

“The comprehensive data we provide will help guide every Doss user in their journey toward buying a home,” Onboard CEO Marc Siden said. “We have information on all 150 million properties in the country and the immediate areas surrounding those properties. We have the essential information real estate consumers care about: schools, community, market insight, trends and amenities.”

The voice-activated experience is as simple as opening any mobile app: Click and ask a question about any home in the U.S. and receive a response about property in question. Users may also ask about home services such as plumbing, and Doss will help find them the right service provider in the area to help with the issue.

How can a consumer’s virtual assistant help real estate agents?

At the end of a consumer’s query is potentially beneficial lead for agents.

“By giving the consumer a much richer and superior search and service experience, we expect to connect more active leads that are ready to conduct a real estate transaction within the next 90 days,” Doss CEO and Founder Bobby Bryant said.

For consumers, Doss is a free service. If someone in Houston wants to gather information about a property in a certain neighborhood, like what way the front door opens to the house, Doss can provide this information. And not only does it provide this information, but it also provides an agent‘s name to contact about the property.

The agents that it shows, however, is limited. But it’s not random.

Ask DOSS

The search results once a consumer has entered their query.

Agents can sign up for Doss via neighborhoods to receive leads. Most search portals register agents by ZIP codes and charge them accordingly — impressions, number of leads, etc. Doss wants agents that specialize in neighborhoods — not ZIP codes, hyper-local,” Bryant said.

Neighborhoods are covered by up to a maximum of five agents in each neighborhood in the country.

To be registered in the neighborhood, an agent must have at least three years experience and prove they have closed a deal in the neighborhood they want to serve in the previous 12 months.

No such thing as a free lunch – or lead

Doss sends leads to its registered agents, who in turn compensate Doss with a 30 percent referral fee. This is the broker fee.

However, there is no upfront cost. Doss is a brokerage — just a digital one.

Bryant compared the service to other digital brokers, but criticized the competition’s user experience and data provision.

“I think Movoto and Estately are on the right path, but they don’t have a robust site,” he said.

Through the partnership with Onboard Informatics, Doss is aiming to achieve this robustness.

Onboard Informatics’ data is comprehensive, but not necessarily exclusive to the real estate market.

The objective in the partnership with Doss is to go “hyper-local,” according to Bryant. If a client wants to know the air quality of certain area, or if a home is in a flood zone, or even what permits a homeowner has pulled in the past, Doss has answers.

“We’re able to go create this robust user experience that has just, like, sparks flying out of it, that should generate a ton of activity and leads in real-time. The average Realtor really has a reach of about 90 days out,” Bryant said.

Bryant described how Doss engages the client: The client uses the system to get through the early questions. Doss’s CRM keeps up with the client and generates the lead when they are ready to pull the trigger.

“We didn’t want the barrier of cost,” he said.

How is artificial intelligence changing real estate?

From the moment the consumer engages Doss, the firm’s predictive analytics follows them. They are not plugged into the CRM until they are paired with an agent.

“Realtors don’t have the time or the resources to manage that part — that’s what makes the artificial intelligence piece so phenomenal and dynamic, because it does it for the Realtor on auto-pilot because it engages,” Bryant said.

This is crucial, because the process to purchase is not one that happens overnight. What if a consumer is looking six, nine or 12 months down the road for a home purchase?

“That’s a common problem … that’s why this artificial intelligence is so phenomenal: It can do that with a cognitive approach. Truth be told, the person could actually feel or think that they’re dealing with a person,” he added.

Bryant said that Doss is currently in talks with Amazon Echo to integrate the Doss software with Amazon’s recently rolled out artificial intelligence agent, Alexa.

Residents of Houston will be the first to experience the power of the virtual assistant. The technology will be available nationwide in January 2017, the company says.

Email Britt Chester

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