Courtesy of Randy Baruh
- Randy Baruh is a luxury-real-estate broker in New York City who uses tech whenever he can.
- He’s experimented with VR viewers and video content on TikTok and is now using ChatGPT to save time.
- ChatGPT writes the first draft of a listing, and he and his team edit it into the final product.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Randy Baruh, a 52-year-old real-estate broker in New York City about using ChatGPT. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I’m a luxury-real-estate broker in New York City who’s been in the industry for 23 years. Last year alone, I closed more than $50 million in sales.
When it comes to technology, I like to be an early adopter — especially in my career.
After reading an article in 2016 about innovative ways that virtual reality was being used as a sales and marketing tool, I decided to experiment by giving away branded cardboard VR viewers to prospective buyers at open houses.
The latest thing I’ve tried is using ChatGPT to write listings for my properties. Here’s how it’s helped my workflow.
If it’s going to help rent or sell a client’s home, I’m all for using tech
When I tested out using VR, all people had to do was download an app, fold a cardboard viewer in half, and pop their cellphone inside to view the property in a 3D format. Nothing beats the feeling of touring a property in person, but VR was a pretty close second.
While that was a one-time experiment, there are some things I do regularly, like creating video content and sharing it on social media to actively engage with others and build my online presence. This proved to be such a critical aspect of my business that I hired a social-media manager, a strategist, and a videographer to join my team at Corcoran.
The investment has paid off because I now have close to 319,000 TikTok followers and 20,000 Instagram followers. My sales have grown since I started with social media, and a lot of my followers are other agents from across the country who have referred both buyers and sellers to me.
I’ve gotten listings in New York City because sellers know that their properties will reach a massive audience, but the majority of my leads still come from past clients and my network.
Getting started with ChatGPT was quick and easy
When I first learned about ChatGPT a few months ago, I figured I’d give it a try. There’s a free version, and the only things that are required to get started are a login and password. I still use the free version.
I quickly learned just how valuable it could be, especially when it came to a part of my job that I’d long considered a chore: writing the dreaded property description.
At this point in my career, I’ve gone through every permutation of having fun with a listing one can have. I write them with the help of my assistant, but it’s still a drag.
One listing can take several hours to write because it needs to convey all the bells and whistles of the property, including the amenities, the location, and the proximity to anything of note to draw people in. The description also needs to be search-engine-optimized so it shows up higher in Google’s search results.
No one is renting or buying a home because the listing sounds like poetry
When I look at properties, I primarily focus on the photos and the real meat of the description.
I don’t need flowery language like, “Enter the grand foyer and lose yourself in this oasis of calm outside the hustle and bustle of the city.” Language like that has become so hackneyed and overused — it makes me cringe.
My team and I always manage our client’s expectations, especially when it comes to property descriptions. We’ve sold properties for professional writers and have had to tell them their listing is not going to sound like a poem or a short story and that, if there’s even a chance, it may not even include their favorite neighborhood hangouts. The ultimate goal is simply to get as many eyes as possible on it.
The first time I used ChatGPT to create a listing, I instructed it to write an eloquent real-estate-property description
I included the address of the property, along with a variety of details including the ceiling height, brand-name appliances, amenities, and proximity to certain popular locations. I also requested the listing begin and end with the address to yield higher search results.
Within five seconds, ChatGPT churned out a well-written property description. It wasn’t going to win any Pulitzer Prizes, but it did the job.
We barely tweaked it, except to minimize some repetition, and then sent it to our client for approval. They sent back a lot of revisions, including factual errors, tone, and redundancies, which was pretty eye-opening because our team hardly ever gets that type of feedback when we write them ourselves.
What we learned from that first instance was while ChatGPT was a great tool, we still needed to review its work with more than just a cursory eyeball to omit any repetition and ensure it flows. Even with this extra step, a listing now takes us less than an hour.
After implementing our client’s revisions and making a few additional edits ourselves, the first listing was ready to go. We still considered it a win because we had a foundation to work from and didn’t have to write the description from scratch.
Twenty-five people attended the first open house for that listing, and we received five offers that day. The apartment sold for 10% above the asking price.
ChatGPT isn’t the be-all and end-all — it’s another resource we can add to our toolbox
We can’t credit ChatGPT with the sale, but the listing did reach a lot of people thanks to the SEO keywords.
Since ChatGPT is still so new, I’ve used it for fewer than 10 listings. But since I’ve discovered the power and ease of it, it’s become my go-to resource. I’ve found that it puts a fresh take on descriptions and dramatically streamlines the process of writing them, allowing us more time to focus on other aspects of our business.
I recently attended an industry conference, and I can tell you I’m not the only one who sees the benefit of using ChatGPT for work.
When it comes to getting my client’s property seen, my attitude has always been the same — I’m always willing to push the envelope and try something new, and right now, that’s ChatGPT.