Bots Can Create Almost Any Image. What Real Estate Agents Should Know

There’s a lot noise on the market on the way to navigate a difficult market. This April, let Inman provide help to minimize by means of the litter to make good enterprise selections in actual time. All month lengthy, we’re taking it Again to Fundamentals and discovering out how actual property professionals are evolving their techniques and investing personally and professionally to drive progress.

In late March, the world gasped after images emerged displaying police arresting former President Donald Trump.

In one of many images, officers grip Trump’s arms and lead him away. Others present Trump operating from police, and nonetheless extra photographs depict Trump’s relations trying on in misery. It was a scene not like something that had occurred beforehand in American historical past.

And because it seems, it nonetheless hasn’t occurred.

That’s as a result of the images weren’t images in any respect. As a substitute, they have been the handiwork of a synthetic intelligence picture generator referred to as Midjourney. The photographs first appeared on Twitter, earlier than going viral on different platforms resembling TikTok. Initially, many customers assumed the photographs — which at a look seemed plausible — have been actual and subsequently shared them as such. (Trump’s precise arrest a pair weeks later was a far much less dramatic and photographed affair.)

However earlier than lengthy, eagle-eyed viewers seen errors within the photographs and shortly dozens of stories retailers wrote posts debunking them.

However the episode however captured the superior, terrifying and sudden energy of synthetic intelligence picture turbines. Seemingly in a single day, strange folks gained the power to conjure realistic-but-fake imagery that previously may need required in depth coaching or a Hollywood finances. And whereas the Trump images have been extensively seen as a cautionary story about misinformation, others have used AI instruments to create advantageous artwork, illustrate kids’s books, and assemble skilled branding supplies.

All of which is to say that AI picture turbines at the moment are reaching unprecedented ranges of sophistication, and are thus poised to disrupt industries resembling actual property. That actuality raises a bunch of challenges, nevertheless it additionally means actual property professionals are about to have new alternatives to streamline their work, prolong their attain and combine know-how in ways in which even months in the past have been unimaginable.

In that mild, right here’s what it’s worthwhile to find out about AI imagery.

Desk of Contents

Why is there instantly a lot buzz about AI-generated photographs?

As Inman beforehand reported, the present frenzy over AI started in December when know-how firm OpenAI debuted the free, public model of its chatbot, ChatGPT.

OpenAI has equally pushed the explosion of curiosity in AI picture turbines. The corporate first introduced its DALL-E device — named for artist Salvador Dalí and Pixar robotic WALL-E — again in 2021. It debuted an upgraded model referred to as DALL-E 2 final spring, then made that device extensively accessible to everybody in September.

A handful of competing picture turbines have popped up alongside the best way, however DALL-E’s debut and progress alongside ChatGPT is the largest driver of consideration to the sector.

The massive three picture turbines

A lot as is the case with chatbots, there are quite a few AI-image turbines on the market proper now. However in current months, three have emerged because the dominant gamers. Inman examined these three by asking them to create a picture primarily based on the next immediate:

a home on a hill surrounded by flowers, with the milky means galaxy seen within the background

The objective of the experiment was to check the AI, however on this case Inman was additionally making an attempt to supply header photographs for a current sequence of tales on the spring market. So it wasn’t a completely tutorial train.

Right here’s how the experiment went:

Secure Diffusion

Secure diffusion is by far essentially the most user-friendly of the big-name picture turbines. Customers don’t have to check in or join. You merely go to the web site, enter a immediate and wait seconds or minutes (relying on how busy the location is). Higher nonetheless, it’s free and there aren’t any limits on the variety of prompts customers can enter. Consequently, Secure Diffusion is an efficient entry level for anybody wanting to check the AI waters.

Listed below are the photographs Secure Diffusion produced from that immediate:

The photographs above should not horrible per se, however if you happen to look intently they’ve an uncanny valley high quality to them. And so they spotlight one among Secure Diffusion’s large tradeoffs; the platform is free and straightforward to make use of, however its photographs typically aren’t as spectacular as these of some rival platforms.

Fortunately, Secure Diffusion has a piece of its web site dedicated to efficient prompts, so it’s simple to get used to the platform and work out the way to generate higher photographs.


Dall-E 2 continues to be in all probability the best-known AI picture generator, and Inman has used photographs from the platform a number of instances as headers for tales. Right here’s the way it responded to the immediate:

The device is a robust one. That stated, the outcomes above aren’t terribly inspiring. They’re not fairly as uncanny as Secure Diffusion’s photographs, however they’re additionally drab and darkish. That’s to not say all of DALL-E 2’s photographs are drab — this Inman story incorporates a brilliant drawing-style picture of rockets that the platform created — however the photographs don’t simply prove spectacular if a person doesn’t work out the way to write efficient prompts.

Customers have to enroll to make use of DALL-E 2. The location operates utilizing “credit,” with every new immediate costing one credit score. Most customers obtain 15 free credit every month, which isn’t sufficient to do a lot experimenting, although relying on when an individual indicators up they could additionally obtain an preliminary bucket of free credit. The location presently costs $15 for 115 further credit.


Midjourney might be the buzziest AI picture platform, and for good cause: It constantly generates unbelievable photographs. The photographs it got here up with for the immediate have been far and away higher than what DALL-E 2 or Secure Diffusion created:

After some tweaking through follow-up prompts, Inman finally used Midjourney’s photographs for the headers on the spring market sequence.

Midjourney photographs are additionally ok that they constantly go viral; along with the Trump episode, there was additionally the so-called “Balenciaga Pope” photographs that made the rounds on social media final month.

However Midjourney’s draw back is that the educational curve to get began could be very steep. The platform shouldn’t be truly an internet site by itself, however fairly works through Discord, a social and messaging platform. So, would-be customers first have to enroll in Discord, select a “server” wherein to take part, work out the fundamental code to get the bot to start out working (prompts have to be preceded by “/think about”), after which work out the place these photographs are going to point out up.

When you get used to the system, it’s pretty simple. However Inman’s first a number of makes an attempt to make use of Midjourney concerned plenty of Googling of directions.

Midjourney has traditionally supplied a free trial model of its platform, however in current days has minimize off the free model, citing extra demand. So a further a part of the educational curve now entails signing up and paying for a subscription as properly. As of this writing, Midjourney’s least expensive tier begins at $8 per thirty days. The most costly tier prices $48 per thirty days.

How can brokers use AI-generated photographs in actual property? 

Whereas chatbots have apparent functions in actual property, AI photographs are concurrently extra thrilling however tougher to deploy. Brokers, in spite of everything, don’t essentially want authentic imagery of fully synthetic environments. That stated, listed here are just a few of the methods business professionals are utilizing this know-how:


Headshot technology — for which there are a selection of suppliers — is among the extra common methods brokers are utilizing AI.

Lauren King — an agent with PureWest Christie’s Worldwide Actual Property in Whitefish, Montana — is amongst those that have given the idea a strive, telling Inman she used the corporate Attempt it On. The service asks customers for 10 to twenty authentic images, then after a day or two sends again about 100 AI generated headshots. The service value King $17.

These are two of the unique photographs King despatched to Attempt it On:

Credit score: Lauren King

Of the greater than 100 photographs Attempt it On created, King stated there have been a handful that she favored and would possibly truly use.

“I might say I might really feel snug utilizing 5 or eight,” she stated. “They’re those I feel nobody would query.”

Listed below are two of these photographs:

Credit score: Lauren King

The photographs Lauren shared with Inman present that Attempt it On added heat, golden hour lighting and a shallow depth of area (which means the background is out of focus), amongst different issues. They appear skilled.

However the outcomes additionally diversified, with King saying that most of the images both seemed nothing like her, had unusual lighting, or have been in any other case unusable.

Listed below are a few the much less profitable examples, which didn’t precisely seize a variety of King’s facial options. The second picture particularly additionally has an oddly unreal high quality.

Credit score: Lauren King

Regardless of a number of the weirder renderings, King spoke positively of her expertise.

“It was a enjoyable experiment,” she stated, including that it was a neater course of than taking pictures precise headshots. “I discover photograph shoots and headshots to be sort of traumatic.”

Deena Serna agreed that taking pictures headshots might be “a ache” and advised Inman that she too consequently used Attempt it On for headshots. Serna, a Compass agent in Vero Seaside, Florida, stated that of the 100 or so photographs she obtained, many “got here out simply tousled,” with unusual trying eyes and enamel. However like King, she obtained sufficient usable photographs to make the experiment value it.

Deena Serna

“There was a handful that turned out fairly good,” she stated. “I’ll undoubtedly use them. The resemblance to my actual pure self is satisfactory.”

Such sentiments are circulating quickly by means of actual property social media teams. And whereas the weirder outcomes spotlight AI’s present shortcomings, that is additionally one of many main frontiers wherein synthetic intelligence-generated actual property content material is definitely making it out into the actual world.

Renderings and visualizations

One other buzzy means that persons are deploying AI visualizations in actual property is through renderings of buildings. The photographs beneath, for instance, are AI-generated photographs of townhouses.

The Twitter person who generated these photographs describes them as having “immaculate design,” and it’s laborious to argue with that evaluation. The person additionally means that it’s solely a matter of time earlier than such photographs might be enter into the software program that architects use to design precise buildings.

From there, it’s additionally not an enormous stretch to think about a full AI-based constructing pipeline that begins with fairly photos and ends with 3D-printed buildings.

Dave Jones

That’s a speculative final result, however already actual property professionals are imagining methods to deploy this sort of visualization know-how to clean out the house search course of. As an illustration Dave Jones, co-owner of Windermere Abode in Tacoma, Washington, advised Inman he may think about utilizing AI to assist shoppers higher visualize and talk what sort of property they need.

“What if I used to be serving to somebody who wasn’t there they usually may clarify to me what the home they wished seemed like,” he stated. “So now I’ve a visible of what you’re searching for.”

Kent Czechowski, chief information scientist at OJO, advised Inman that these instruments may additionally enhance present actual property visualization and digital staging instruments.

“For instance, AI instruments can let a homebuyer think about what a presently empty lounge would appear to be if their furnishings and residential decor have been current, or assist a potential vendor see what an enhancement to their property would appear to be and even value,” Czechowski stated.

A variety of actual property corporations are presently experimenting with enhanced AI know-how. Inman will dive into such instruments in a later publish.

Advertising content material

Actual property professionals also can use AI of their advertising, in response to Nick Niehaus, co-founder at actual property coaching agency Enterprise Video College.

Nick Niehaus

“It must be utilized in advertising, and I feel it must be used even at the moment,” Niehaus stated. “Advertising is all about saying one thing completely different than your competitors and that’s one thing the instruments permit us to do extra effectively.”

Niehaus has spent current months experimenting with completely different AI platforms, and stated that instruments resembling Midjourney and DALL-E supply each velocity and originality benefits. They’ll additionally assist brokers create a cohesive visible advertising marketing campaign that interprets throughout mediums.

“You may make much more photographs rather a lot quicker,” he added. “You possibly can have a postcard marketing campaign that drives them to a touchdown web page and results in a sequence of emails. And you’ll have all of that actually in minutes.”

Czechowski additional famous that AI could let actual property professionals higher goal their advertising to their shoppers.

“The proliferation of content material will result in an explosion of hyper-localized and highly-targeted content material,” he stated. “Customers will anticipate an expertise tailor-made to their private preferences, communication types, and timelines.”

Whereas any such content material is a innovative AI enterprise utility, it’s obvious that it’s additionally gaining popularity: As a result of Midjourney operates on Discord, customers can see every others’ prompts and outcomes, and blended in with the limitless fantasy landscapes is numerous firm logos and different branding photographs.

Tackling the educational curve

Whereas the potential of AI picture turbines is critical, it’s also not essentially simple to make use of them. Or at the least, they don’t routinely produce nice photographs.

Niehaus, for instance, stated that to be able to generate the sort of complete AI-based advertising marketing campaign talked about above, a person would possibly have to enter wherever from 20 to 50 completely different prompts. And people prompts want to make use of language that the AI platform understands.

“A variety of of us they’ll put in a single, or possibly a pair prompts, and be like ‘I’m not getting what I need,’” he stated. “The best way you discuss to Google, to seek for one thing, I feel that’s a very good analogy for what we’re studying right here.”

Amongst different issues, Niehaus stated that picture turbines usually need customers to enter as few phrases as potential. Moreover, the order of phrases issues, with these originally of the immediate exerting higher affect on the top end result.

“You don’t need to communicate in full sentences,” he added, drawing a distinction between picture turbines and chatbots, the latter of which are inclined to excel at human-like speech.

Niehaus additionally suggested customers to suppose critically concerning the product they need to produce. He steered, for instance, that individuals with a pictures background inform the picture turbines what sorts of lenses and lighting temperatures they’re searching for in photographs. Individuals who have a selected artist’s fashion in thoughts ought to embody that artist’s title within the immediate.

“You would possibly say, ‘brownstone home, feminine actual property agent in entrance, cloudy day, 5600k lighting,’ and embody a sure sort of lens,” Niehaus defined, including that studying to jot down efficient prompts takes time.

Niehaus’ strategies, nevertheless, elevate a refined however vital distinction between the best way AI photographs work in comparison with extra typical searches for pictures. Prior to now, somebody searching for a picture to placed on an internet site or piece of promoting may need visited a photograph gallery, seen a wide range of disparate photographs, after which determined what to make use of from amongst these choices. In different phrases, a person would possibly begin with solely a obscure concept of what picture they need, after which decide through the search course of.

Nonetheless, producing a picture through AI is fully completely different. As a substitute of utilizing obscure search phrases, customers need to have a particular concept already in thoughts of what they’re making an attempt to generate. So, the second at which a person decides on a picture occurs a lot sooner within the course of, earlier than the search. It entails, in different phrases, a artistic course of extra akin to portray than to scrolling by means of a gallery on Getty Photographs.

Massive dangers and massive rewards

As is the case with chatbots, the rise of AI picture turbines has prompted a variety of questions on the way forward for work and mental property.

For instance, one contentious situation surrounding AI picture turbines revolves round how a lot their merchandise pull from present work. In some case, AI photographs have even included what appears just like the signatures of actual life artists, prompting considerations that the bots are plagiarizing — and consuming up the enterprise of — actual folks. Such considerations have since prompted a number of lawsuits, and it stays to be seen how mental property legal guidelines would possibly finally apply to the gamut of AI artwork.

These points may influence how a lot actual property professionals lean on AI imagery in the long run. Within the shorter time period, AI’s reliance on present art work can also make it tougher and tougher to generate actually authentic content material — or at the least for newbies to take action with out severe prompt-entering chops.

Past mental property, there’s additionally dangers in relation to misinformation. The Trump arrest photographs spotlight this situation, however Niehaus additionally famous that “deep fakes,” which might superimpose one individual’s face onto one other’s physique, elevate a variety of moral concerns. Niehaus moreover famous that there’s the potential for AI to switch jobs, resembling people who have historically revolved round content material creation.

“It appears like plenty of these instruments will likely be outfitted to switch white-collar jobs greater than blue-collar jobs,” he stated.

Niehaus even imagines a future wherein shoppers work together with AI-based actual property brokers.

“If you happen to can mix a chatbot with a reside video that appears like an actual individual, even if you happen to inform folks it’s AI, I do suppose there’s a phase of the inhabitants that’ll be okay with that,” he stated.

That will sound ominous, and certainly for some brokers it might be. As extra AI instruments are capable of work collectively, their collective attain and potential disruptive qualities will get greater and greater.

However Niehaus additionally framed the current shift as a possibility. Brokers who discover ways to use AI would possibly be capable to prolong their attain to far off places by providing shoppers in new markets a chatbot model of themselves. And whether or not that particularly occurs or not, Niehaus’ level was that brokers who fail to discover AI are on the best threat, each from the know-how itself and from their human rivals who be taught the ropes.

“That’s why I’m actually emphasizing the thought of studying the instruments,” Niehaus stated. “We will’t predict precisely the place it’s going to go, however there’s plenty of worth in brokers actually experimenting with it proper now.”

E-mail Jim Dalrymple II

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