Robot Realtors coming to a neighborhood near you

October 14th, 2019

Original Article by Bill Lewis for The Tennessean >

Remember the episode of television’s “Big Bang Theory” when Sheldon turned himself into a robot? Realtors at Goodall Homes are doing the same thing.

Home buyers visiting the company’s model homes in Sumner County and other locations are being greeted by robots when a human sales person isn’t available on site. Customer reaction has been positive. The robots had sold 25 houses as of mid-September.

“That’s literally what everybody says. ‘Big Bang Theory,’” said Joel Smith, a sales representative in Durham Farms.

That Hendersonville neighborhood was one of the first places Goodall introduced its robots last fall. Now they are active in 13 neighborhoods in the Nashville region and Knoxville, said Amber Davis, the company’s online sales manager.

The robots, officially called Innovative Sales Consultants, “are essentially like Segways with an iPad on top of it,” said Chris O’Neal, Goodall’s chief business development officer.

He came up with the idea after observing how health care providers use Internet technology to consult with patients. He believes technology will change the way people buy houses.

“It’s not far-fetched to think that one day, maybe just months away, (our) competition may be Amazon,” said O’Neal.

Robots make home visits more flexible

Home buyer Rachael Flynn wasn’t sure what to expect when she pressed the Ring video doorbell at a Goodall model home in Durham Farms and a robot came to the door.

“It came to the door. We were buzzed in by the Ring doorbell and she rolled over. It was like a Segway with an iPad,” said Flynn.

She quickly overcame her surprise and began touring the house with the licensed sales agent whose face was on the screen.

A team of six sales agents operate Goodall’s robots remotely from their home offices, said O’Neal. They are able to have conversations with customers just like anyone who uses programs like FaceTime or Skype.

The experience was like speaking with a Realtor in the same room, said Flynn, except she had wheels instead of legs and couldn’t follow her upstairs.

“It was like walking with a person. She waited while we went upstairs,” said Flynn.

She appreciated being able to visit the model home on her own schedule, when an on-site Realtor might not have been available. And she liked the house. Flynn closed on her new townhome in Durham Farms on Sept. 3.

Read the entire article on The Tennessean website >