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Sci Fi Meets Real Estate: Robots Become Service Providers in Managing Properties

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A recent property management report released in Forbes illustrates the use of robots providing guided home-showings online, aiding property managers by providing potential tenants with a quick and easy way to view real estate properties.

As though we were watching an episode of The Jetsons, robots are now offering guided tours online. Once given access, pre-qualified tenants are able to view their prospective properties with an AI robot, which also provides neighborhood insights, real-time rental and trends, and on-the-spot rental applications. The company behind the potentially revolutionary technology is Zenplace, and its goal is to “provide property owners and tenants a faster and easier way to rent and lease.” A video demonstration can be found here.

Property Management and the Rise of Machine Learning

Technology companies have longed to provide their services for the $7 trillion professionally-managed real estate investment markets. Their aim is to streamline the landlord-tenant relationship by making property management easier and cheaper, and to enable better maintenance of properties and greater access to communication. Though established software has assisted property managers for years, according to the Forbes article, AI applications are seen as the “natural extension of this adoption.”

Zenplace provides a proactive approach to property management that utilizes AI and machine-learning technologies. The technology offers solutions to mitigate issues before they occur, such as alerting an owner that their water heater is approaching the end of its useful life. To fix this or any other issue that arises with real estate ownership and management, the service will even scan vendors locally and across the country, and then rank them based on price, reviews, timelines, availability, and other variables. The result is a reduction in cost and hassle.

What does this mean for the real estate industry and landscape?

Zenplace is just the beginning of the reinvention of the traditional real estate model. As we noted in recent blog posts, the real estate market is constantly evolving, and Zenplace is a substantial step forward in its evolution.

Zenplace has implications for real estate law, specifically, landlord tenant law. Although leasing agreements and documents are “online, mobile-enabled, and available for e-sign,” such form contracts may need to be situation specific, requiring the skills of a real estate lawyer.

As for the role of the property manager, it is still intact. However, technology like Zenplace begs the question as to whether AI and machine learning will ultimately serve not only as an ancillary service, but also as a full-service provider in the real estate market.

From the trenches,

Roy Oppenheim

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