Alma: How AI is Disrupting the Real Estate Industry
Since last November, ChatGPT has taken the world by storm. A lot of people don’t quite see what’s happening yet, but it’s clear that the internet will never be the same.
“What’s the big deal? Isn’t it just a chatbot? How is it better than Google?”
There’s a famous quote from a man named Ken Olsen, who said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” In hindsight, this prediction was so drastically wrong that the quote became famous for it. Now, we all walk around with computers in our pockets that are more powerful than the computers that put us on the moon.
On the surface, ChatGPT seems like just a chatbot, sure. But the real game-changer technology is the “brain” developed by OpenAI that powers the language model. ChatGPT is essentially a computer program that uses this brain to synthesize language, and just like our fleshy human brains are useful for more than just creating sentences, this technology is the same.
I’ll spare you any more technical details. But take it from us, AI is not going anywhere. So we’d better get used to it. Or better yet, we should learn to use and implement the technology ourselves, so we don’t get left in the dust by everyone else who’s already using it to revolutionize their business.
This is why we’ve created Alma, an AI tool specifically for real estate investors, powered by OpenAI’s revolutionary tech. Our vision with this is simple. Imagine instead of investing in real estate, your business was solving math problems, and we handed you a calculator.
We’re leveling the playing field for beginners who might not have a ton of knowledge and experience yet. And Alma can bridge the knowledge gap between experienced real estate veterans and a newbie still hunting for their first deal.
But what do the people who created Alma have to say? What was their motivation for implementing this brand-new technology into DealMachine?
“I’m really excited about Alma,” said Dave Oster, our CTO and one of the two co-founders of DealMachine. “Our mission is giving everyone the power of real estate, and I think Alma helps us take a step towards really achieving that goal. Because now, literally in your pocket, you have access to all the information you would need to becoming a real estate pro.”
One of Dave’s main focuses at DealMachine is conceptualizing and then building products like Alma, which he says started as an experiment with ChatGPT. After having some initial conversations about how DealMachine might be able to integrate AI, Dave decided to see how ChatGPT would handle a basic property analysis. He fed ChatGPT some of DealMachine’s extensive property data and asked what the best investing approach would be. According to Dave, the response was very promising.
“When I got the answer, and it spat out a plan of how to invest into this property, I was pretty blown away that it was possible. I don’t think that it was actually accurate, the information, but it looked like it.” Dave added, with a laugh. “So I was like okay, we can do this. And after that, we just went to building.”
OpenAI has simplified the process of integrating their GPT technology into other software, and Dave admits it was pretty straightforward to add it in. A large chunk of the work came during the fine-tuning part of the equation, where Dave and our Head of Product Dan Regan had to spend a lot of time programming Alma and how it responds to real estate-specific material. This is possible by giving Alma backend instructions, a “box” to operate within.
Still, Dan admits, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for all investors, in terms of Alma’s individual answers.
“Every investor is different, as far as their strategy that they use, what kind of deals they like to do.” said Dan Regan. According to him, one of the ways to solve that is to have pre-made prompts at the start of each chat that can help steer the conversation in the right direction based on what users select.
“It’s an AI — we do have lots of control over it, but we can’t tell it exactly what to say. And so trying to find balance in some of those answers to our pre-made prompts was the biggest challenge for me. And trying to listen to people, and try to meet what they expect out of Alma is challenging, and will continue to be challenging as we get feedback. But I’m very happy with where we’re at right now, especially knowing that it will only get better.”
Dan hits on an important point at the end – this version of Alma is our Beta 1.0 version. This means that as more and more real estate data is fed to Alma, the better the responses will become over time. Not to mention, OpenAI is working as we speak to improve upon their GPT technology, with the 4th iteration being released to the public back in March. We’ll be keeping our finger on the pulse for our members, so no need to sweat.
Integrating new technology into your business can be an arduous task. However, the learning curve for Alma is essentially non-existent, since we all know how to speak and type. New users of Alma should keep in mind though, that the more you use it, the more you’ll understand the benefits and limitations of this AI technology. The real key is improving your prompts, and getting a better understanding of how to talk to Alma in the right way to get the most out of the responses.
That being said, even with 0 experience in talking with AI, Alma is an incredibly powerful resource to have at your fingertips. And at DealMachine, we believe AI is the future.
“All the tasks that are really complex and take a ton of time…from marketing, to analysis, to deciding what houses to go after specifically, can be replaced by AI,” said Dan Regan. “And we think that eventually, we could build something where, an investor, all they have to do is sign the contract. Because AI can take care of the rest. Alma is the first step in that vision.”
About Benjy Nichols
Benjy has been a media specialist at DealMachine for the last 2.5 years. He produces, writes, shoots, and edits our media content for our member's DealMachine and Real Estate education.