Emma Kerr, left, Managing Director of PropertyNews.com, and Emma McNally, right, Commercial Director of PropertyNews.com.

In what is believed to be an industry-first in the UK, Ireland and beyond, Propertynews, the locally-owned property portal, has made a substantial investment in generative AI technology to add significant value to the homebuying process for both buyers and agents.

The move, representing an investment of over a quarter of a million pounds, has led to the launch of Liv, a bespoke AI assistant that answers potential buyers’ questions about a property 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Liv is based on the same technology that underpins Chat GPT and Gemini and draws on information from property brochures, as well as external information from third party sources on things like travel times, local amenities, and even dog walking routes.

Liv works to understand the question being posed, where to access the relevant information, to process the data, and then to present it back in a human, friendly and helpful way. It also takes on the task of connecting interested parties with the relevant agent to organise a viewing or a purchase.

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Emma Kerr, Managing Director of Propertynews, says that this is really only the beginning of the company’s usage of Gen AI to support home movers and agents.

“With more than 500 agents and hundreds of thousands of users engaging with Liv the stakes were high to arrive at a first in class product that accurately answered the multitude of home mover queries being asked of it. A rigorous build and testing process has ensured that Liv offers best in class technology and seamlessly blends into the website to benefit and enhance the overall user experience.

“We believe this is the first AI assistant, used in this way, on a property portal anywhere. It is part of our commitment to being the number-one choice in Northern Ireland for  buyers, renters and agents and to making the user experience as outstanding as it can be. Liv is designed to help potential buyers understand if a property meets their needs, even before they see it in person. From the agent’s perspective, Liv works on their behalf 24/7 and ultimately increases the proportion of viewings that are relevant and productive. It’s adding a lot of value for both parties already and we see this as the thin end of the wedge. That’s because we are continuing to add functionality to Liv, but also because we intend to roll it out for other uses such as helping renters with rental properties ” Emma adds.

Estate agent Dan Henry, Owner of Bensons in Coleraine, commented: “The introduction of AI is an exciting new tech development and it’s encouraging to see that Propertynews is leading the way with such innovative new features in the property industry. I’ve no doubt that the new AI chat bot will help us connect in a more meaningful way with prospective home movers.”

Propertynews is owned by local business GCD Technologies. It currently lists 96 percent of all housing stock on the market in Northern Ireland and has seen a huge increase in users and property enquiries in recent months, with over 1.2m users visiting the site within the past 6 months.

GCD acquired Propertynews in 2021 and has invested more than £1.5m into developing and improving the property portal for the benefit of agents, developers and users.

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