KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The homebuilder company Goodall Homes is now placing "Innovative Sales Consultants" or ISCs in its model homes. It's so real estate agents can show customers around if they aren't able to be there in person.
Knoxville was the first market where Goodall Homes rolled out its Innovative Sales Consultants. Agents are able to talk to clients remotely, yet face to face, which is huge for efficiency and availability.
The ISC has two wheels, a camera and a human face. Amber Davis, the online sales manager for Goodall Homes, is located in Nashville but was able to beam into an ISC in Maryville for an interview.
"When customers come there's a little bit of a shock and awe because it's something that's a little bit different to them if they're not used to it," Davis explained.
It's essentially like a Facetime.
"I think anybody would agree that a live human being is first choice," Davis said. "So this is not us trying to take over the world with robot or anything like that. It's really supplemental."
These robotic real estate agents were rolled out earlier this year, starting in Knoxville, and the numbers explain why.
According to Trulia, the Knoxville area has seen a 5 percent increase in home sales in the last year.
"The Knoxville market is just ripe for this kind of thing," Davis assured.
Customers taking a look at one of the company's model homes may see the robot if an agent is not there in person.
"We unlock the door and the customer is able to come on in and at that time, that's when we show up on the screen," Davis explained.
Which, in an empty home, can make the realtor feel safer.
"So I think working in new home sales being in a model home by yourself, it does sometimes set you up for potential danger and so I can see why that would be a fear of some people," Davis said.
The agent can move around the house, give a tour, and even share screens to show more info.
All of this while being somewhere else, which Davis says can help increase productivity.
"Not everybody is going to love it, but I would say the vast majority of people are very receptive to it," Davis noted.
Currently, this technology is just in the model homes, but the company is brainstorming ways to expand it out to other areas of real estate.
The company currently has 13 ISCs in homes. Goodall Homes has a goal to have 34 units in service by the end of 2020.