Would you let a robot negotiate the sale of your home? That was the question that got an overwhelming “no way” at the Inman Connect San Francisco 2018 session on automation and robots.
But would you allow a robot to prepare all the background material, check the data, manage the paperwork and coordinate the grunt work so that you could focus on the clients, keep up with relationships and make sure negotiations go smoothly? The answer to that was, “absolutely.”
In real estate, the robots most likely to be helping us probably won’t be like C-3PO or Rosie the Robot Maid from The Jetsons — able to compute in hyperspace, clean the house and make coffee. Instead, they will be background algorithms that complete one or more tasks with tremendous efficiency and then hand the rest off for the next algorithm to take over.
To the real estate agent as an end user, it will probably feel like a single virtual assistant. But in reality, it’s more likely to be an army of artificial intelligence (AI) minions — hopefully without the chaos in the background.
I met with several startups in the automation and robotic space at Inman Connect San Francisco. Here are four tasks that robots can handle for you right now.
1. Create video and reports
Looking up data and writing about the market requires top-notch research skills, an eye for detail and a week or two to execute. Australian startup HomePrezzo takes all 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, and you can share them across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or your website and email marketing. You can also incorporate them into your content calendar to extend your digital profile.
2. Manage your communication
Responding to inquiries is one of the most important things a real estate agent can do, but the myriad of devices where communication now occurs can enslave agents to their devices or do the job poorly.
Enter Gabbi.ai, 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 inquiries. She also plays the role of an assistant, creating reminders and sending reports.
3. Clean up your data and help you use it better
Some tasks in real estate are mind-numbingly boring, excruciatingly detail-driven and inconsistent in how often and frequently they need to be done. Rita from AIRE is a virtual employee who can be programmed to do the tasks listed above that humans do pretty poorly.
Some examples of tasks that Rita performs include:
- Entering inquiry data into customer relationship managers (CRMs).
- Responding to inquiries.
- Cleaning up data.
- Comparing inquiries to names already in your CRM.
- Sending agents lists of leads (derived from the work she has done on inquiries).
- Providing advice on what to talk to leads about.
And unlike humans, she doesn’t get distracted, and she 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 door lock.
The robot greets renters 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 better quality tenants.