When you think of artificial intelligence you may picture robots and self driving cars. The reality is this technology is already all around us.
Your bank, your voice assistant (Siri, Google, Alexa) and even your flight bookings are already managed through AI. Big data systems gather information each time you interact with them, relying on your purchasing habits and your requests and those of others to predict what your next move will be.
Every industry is set to be disrupted by artificial intelligence, including real estate. For agency owners, this is a good thing. Artificial Intelligence may be coming for your job, but mostly it will be taking care of the boring bits.
Smarter machines and automation mean greater efficiency and a higher level of consistency. It means fewer menial tasks and more time spent expanding your business.
Here are some future (or already existing) technologies which could stand to reduce the pressure of your working day:
Electronic tenant records
Tenant databases already allow you to verify identities, double check the tenancy blacklist and even find out if a tenant has been bankrupt.
In the future, increased access to tenant profiles could share information on what properties people have rented, whether or not they paid on time and what condition the place was in when they left. By giving you more watertight information about your tenants you will be saved the hassle of phoning references.
Chatbots and voice recognition
When you list a property for rent or sale, a huge amount of your time is then taken up fielding phone calls and enquiries.
By programming an automatic chatbot with answers to frequently asked questions such as “When is this apartment open?”, “How much is the bond?” and “When can I move in?”, you can free up your admin staff to work on other tasks.
When executed properly, customers don’t even know they are speaking with a computer program. The systems are set up to refer the tough questions to someone in the office so your clients will get the support they need.
Data tracking to optimise rental returns
Every detail of your rental properties can be gathered in order to make recommendations on improving your returns.
For example, smart software can create a dashboard of your properties, sharing information on how long they stand vacant between leasings. A property which languishes on the market may need improvements, while it could make sense to raise the rent on one which is snapped up quickly every time.
Already, clever software exists to track maintenance, monitor leasing costs and standardise inspections. This cloud based solution automates the management of properties, ensuring consistency across the daily tasks of a property manager.
Walk your tenants through a property without either of you being there. 3D video, aerial drones and virtual reality technology make this possible at increasingly low costs.
In the future, a prospective tenant may take a virtual tour, guided by a chatbot who answers their questions as they go. They could then apply for the property, logging on with their tenant profile to prove they are reliable.
Once approved, instead of handing them the keys, you may be able to send them a link to an app which interacts via bluetooth or wireless technology to open the front door lock.
These technologies don’t spell the obsolescence of the real estate agent or property manager. What they have the potential to do is improve the customer experience and give you back more time in your day.
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