If you walked into my office 10 years ago and told me that agents would need real estate chatbots screening their leads online, I would have laughed in your face. Well, I probably would have asked if you needed an apartment in the East Village first, but you get the idea.
Ten years later, leads expect their questions to be answered instantly. If you can’t do that, they can and will abandon your website for another realtor’s website that can. That means that in 2022, real estate chatbots might be an essential tool to keep leads on your website. And we’re here to help you find out which chatbots offer the best combination of price and features for 2022. Here’s what we’ll cover.
What Are Real Estate Chatbots?
Real estate chatbots are apps that respond to a user’s typed questions with predetermined answers. Real estate agents and brokerages use real estate chatbots on their websites and Facebook pages to screen leads. There are two types of real estate chatbots: Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots and logic tree chatbots.
How Much Do Real Estate Chatbots Cost?
Since real estate chatbots are relatively new technology, pricing is all over the place—ranging from free to close to $500 a month depending on the number of leads you’re hoping to qualify. If you want a smart real estate chatbot without the learning curve, you’re going to have to open your pocketbook.
Here is a quick breakdown of how much our favorite real estate chatbots cost:
|Real Estate Chatbot||Pricing|
|Freshdesk Messaging||Free - $69 per month|
|Structurely||$179-$499 per month (pricing depends on number of leads)|
|RealtyChatbot||$119-$149 per month (pricing depends on setup fee)|
'Smart' AI Chatbots vs Logic Tree Chatbots
Just like your fellow agents, some real estate chatbots are very smart, and others … not so much. The “smart” real estate chatbots generally use a simplified version of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to provide more nuanced answers to a lead’s questions.
- “Smart” AI Chatbots: Essentially, AI chatbots can “learn” from interactions with your leads and (hopefully) give them better answers to their questions.
- Logic Tree Chatbots: The not-so-smart chatbots are basically like the automated phone trees used by your cable company that all non-robots seem to hate: “To hear your balance, say balance or press 3.”
Instead of learning through interaction, the not-so-smart real estate chatbots are programmed to spit out certain answers or links based on buttons your lead presses. They work exactly like the “press 1 for accounts, 2 for billing” phone trees, only allow leads to select certain questions to ask, and provide preprogrammed answers to those questions only.
In this article, we are only looking at the “smart” AI chatbots since we think they offer the best features for realtors.
The Best Real Estate Chatbots of 2023
While there are a ton of options for real estate chatbots these days, there are three that stand head and shoulders above the competition. Freshdesk Messaging, Structurely, and RealtyChatbot. Here’s how they stack up for agents and teams:
Freshdesk Messaging (formerly Freshchat)
Pricing: Free – $69 per month
Freshdesk Messaging’s Best Features for Agents:
Freshdesk Messaging lets you build a custom real estate chatbot to interact with your leads using Freddy, their artificial intelligence bot. They also still let you or an assistant jump in whenever you want to.
Even better, you can set your chatbot to start chatting with leads based on what they do on your website. For example, clicking over to a listing page might trigger a chatbot to set up a showing. They also offer chat campaigns, and even let you engage with your leads on WhatsApp. Visit Freshchat below to learn more about adding the human element to your website’s chatbot.
Freshdesk Messaging’s Drawbacks:
While Freshdesk Messaging is by far the most affordable of our favorite chatbots, it does lack some of the more sophisticated features that Structurely offers. The biggest drawback is that Freshdesk Messaging does not directly integrate with popular real estate customer relationship managers (CRMs) like CINC or LionDesk the way Structurely does.
Pricing: $179 to $499 per month (based on number of leads per month)
Structurely’s Best Features for Agents:
Structurely offers agents an AI chatbot called Holmes that works more like an inside sales agent (ISA) to qualify and even nurture leads via text messaging for you. They also have one feature that made them stand out from the competition: an AI email assistant that qualifies and nurtures leads via email.
Structurely even seamlessly integrates with popular CRMs like CINC, LionDesk, Follow Up Boss, and Real Geeks so you can monitor and log conversations with your leads right from your CRM.
Although Structurely offers agents some pretty high tech features for chat, they are priced accordingly. Many agents spend less than what Structurely charges per month for their chat features for their entire IDX website.
Pricing: $119 to $149 per month
RealtyChatbot’s Best Features for Agents:
RealtyChatbot also offers agents an AI chatbot that can modify its responses based on how your lead answers questions. In addition, they offer agents the ability to sync their real estate chatbot on their Facebook page with their website chatbot. This feature makes RealtyChatbot a great option for agents who interact with leads from their Facebook page through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger Ads Get Open Rates 242% Higher Than Email
Like Structurely, RealtyChatbot is priced a bit out of reach for many newer agents. Setup fees start at an eye-watering $795 if you sign up for their yearly payment option, and $995 per month if you choose to pay monthly.
6 Ways Agents, Teams, & Brokerages Use Real Estate Chatbots
Here are a few ways agents, teams, and brokerages use real estate chatbots in 2022:
1. To Increase Engagement Rates on Their Website
The psychology of why people decide to reach out to you from your website is dead simple. They want to know if you might be a good fit for their transaction in the future. However, there is an entire industry called CRO (click-through rate optimization) that studies and tests ways to increase the likelihood of a site visitor reaching out to you.
The most important criteria by far is how easy you make it for them. They may not want to call you yet for several reasons, but mostly because it’s more work for them. They’re thinking they might get trapped in a 20-minute call and be forced to listen to your hard sell because they’re polite. Email is the same. But chatting is a low-effort and instantly rewarding way for them to reach out to you.
2. To Get More & Better Contact & Personal Info From Top-of-the-Funnel Leads
People love using throwaway email accounts to reach out to real estate agents. If you’ve ever shopped for a new car, you know exactly why they do it. Good salespeople in any industry are proactive and persistent.
For bottom-of-the-funnel leads who are very close to a transaction, they might actually welcome eager salespeople so they can pull the band-aid off and get the ball rolling. Top-of-the-funnel and mid-funnel leads aren’t quite there yet. They just want casual information while they slowly educate themselves about the market.
This is why top-of-the-funnel leads can be shy about leaving contact info.
However, if you use a smart real estate chatbot, you will get more and better contact information for top-of-funnel and mid-funnel leads.
3. To Screen & Segment Leads Into Their CRM
Smart chatbots will allow you to ask all kinds of screening questions and then parse the answers into your customer relationship management (CRM) software. That might sound pretty basic, but it is usually far more information about your lead than you might get from a form, email, or open house sign-in sheet.
Chatbots can be programmed to get simple information like what they’re looking for, when they need to move, or other information that will be useful to nurture them properly.
4. To Schedule Showings or Calls
You can also use smart chatbots to schedule showings or calls and get a little more information along the way. Sure, you can do this with other plugins for your site, but chatbots feel a little friendlier and will likely increase the odds of someone setting an appointment.
5. To Help Site Visitors Find What They’re Looking for Faster
Let’s face it, many of us will ask a sales clerk where we can find an item in the supermarket rather than looking at the signs above each aisle. Why? It’s faster, and more importantly, that’s what the clerks are there for.
But there’s another reason stores have employees to help people find what they need. It offers them a chance to steer that shopper to something else they want to sell them. On your website, if someone engages with a real estate chatbot about what they’re looking for, you can then recommend properties that fit that criteria, but you can also upsell to other properties you want to move.
6. To Send Drip Sequences via Facebook Messenger
Another way to use chatbots is to send your leads drip sequences via Facebook Messenger. You can send them listing updates, educational material, or anything else you want.
Over to You
What do you think about using real estate chatbots in 2022? Love them? Hate them? Let us know in the comments or in our Facebook Mastermind group here.