ChatGPT gets a new feature – but would you trust AI to help you buy a house?

realtor with clients handing over keys
(Image credit: Getty / Future)

ChatGPT just got another string to its bow, with the AI now having a fresh piece of functionality to help users find and buy – or rent – a house.

As The Independent reports, the ability comes courtesy of real-estate firm Zillow which has released a plug-in for ChatGPT to assist in the search for a house.

You can see a sample run with the plug-in in the announcement tweet above, but the basic idea is to let ChatGPT know some initial parameters – location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, budget, and anything else you can think of.

It’s then possible to refine the results, adding further queries just as you’d normally interact with the AI, and even get ChatGPT to recommend places having an open house during the coming weekend, as seen in the above example. The AI is, of course, pulling all this info directly from Zillow’s database of properties for sale and rent.

That’s all you can do right now – just the basics – with the Zillow plug-in not going as far as to allow you to contact a real estate agent and book a viewing, for example.

The Zillow plug-in is out now for ChatGPT, but it’s only available to some users (as of yesterday), with a broader rollout coming in time.

Analysis: Cause for concern?

The obvious issue with bringing an AI into the world of shopping for a house is that this is a huge decision to make – and inevitably a very stressful time. (As those surveys on life’s toughest moments always point out – it may not be the worst, by any means, but moving house is definitely up there, especially when things go wrong).

At any rate, AIs are known to make mistakes, particularly in this early phase of their existence – ChatGPT has only been around for half a year, after all, and Bing AI (which is powered by ChatGPT) dropped some pretty notable clangers early doors. And clearly, what you don’t need is an error cropping up in your house search, and missing out on something because you trusted the AI and it messed up somewhere.

Granted, given that the Zillow plug-in is simply pulling from the company’s property database, the scope for errors should be limited right now – but it’s still there. And that’s doubtless why the rollout of this ChatGPT feature is being taken slowly, so Zillow can gather feedback and perform fine-tuning as it goes along.

We’re just going to have to get used to AI popping up in every industry and corner of life, because it’s very much flavor of the year, and there’ll doubtless be a lot more AI tendrils set to creep into all areas of our existence as 2023 rolls on.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).