9 January 2019

Real estate by robot

Would you let a robot negotiate a sale? The answer is likely a resounding “no”. But what about preparing all the background material, checking data or managing paperwork? What if robots could do all the grunt work in the transaction workflow and free you up to focus on sellers and buyers, building relationships and making sure negotiations run smoothly? Now the answer is probably “absolutely”.

In real estate, the robots most likely to be helping us – especially in the short to medium term – will not be the likes of C3PO from Star Wars or Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons. Rather than computing hyperspace and cleaning the house, they’ll be background algorithms doing one or two tasks to extraordinary levels of efficiency and then handing off to the next step of the process where another algorithm takes over. For agents as the end user, it will feel like a single virtual assistant. But, in reality, it’s more likely to be an army of AI minions.

Here are four startups that are already working in the automation and robotic space for real estate.

1. Creating video and reports

Shooting video can be time consuming and a little embarrassing if you’ve got a face for radio. And sourcing data and writing about the market needs top-notch research skills, an eye for detail and time to execute.

Australian startup HomePrezzo takes this pain away by allowing agents to create animated videos about their local markets and properties using the latest market statistics. Once you’ve set up your photo, contact details and branding, you can quickly create videos and reports in under two minutes. Then it’s simply a case of incorporating them into your content calendar and sharing them across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or your website and email marketing.

2. Managing communications

Responding quickly to enquiries is one of the most important things a real estate agent must do, but the myriad of communication channels can make agents slaves to their devices.

Enter Gabbi, which combines all your communications from email, text messages and social media in one place in a chronological timeline and automates your ability to respond. Gabbi also has chatbot features that allow ‘her’ to book appointments and viewings for you, and respond to basic enquiries. She also plays the role of an assistant, and will create reminders and send reports. 

3. Cleaning up your data and using it better

There are some tasks in real estate that are mind-numbingly boring, excruciatingly detail driven and inconsistent in frequency. Rita from AIRE is a virtual employee that can be programed to do these tasks.

Some examples of tasks that Rita performs include entering enquiry data into CRMs, responding to enquiries, cleaning up data, comparing enquiries to names already in your CRM and sending lists of leads with advice on what to talk to them about. And unlike humans, she doesn’t get distracted and can cope with high workflows without complaint – or even a bathroom break.

4. Manage your rental inspections

Rental inspections are short and sharp, and require extraordinary amounts of coordination both for property managers and potential tenants. But the robot from Zenplace allows a potential tenant to inspect at any time by being located at the property and activating whenever a unique code is typed into a specially fitted doorlock. The robot greets the renter and shows them around.

At the other end is an agent who identifies features, answers questions and can fill in paperwork immediately for tenants who want to proceed. Zenplace claims the efficiency of not having agents on the road to open properties allows them to do 10 times the number of inspections and attract a better quality of tenant.

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Article supplied by CoreLogic