Meet The Robo-Agent Helping Property Owners Lease Units
A new era of property management has begun in multifamily. Robots are now helping building owners lease residences. San Francisco-based Zenplace, a tech-centric property management company, recently launched an army of robots to provide guided property tours.
“We set out to change the property management and rental experience by providing property owners and tenants a faster and easier way to rent and lease,” Zenplace CEO Rahul Mewawalla said.
Prospective renters can set up tours and apply for units via Zenplace’s online platform. They then receive a code that can be used to enter the units using smart locks. A robot, guided by a licensed agent, will greet them at the door to show them around the unit. Through the robot, the agent also can show them videos of nearby schools, parks and other amenities as well as provide rental comparisons.
Using Zenplace’s robots and its online services, the rental process takes days to complete instead of weeks or months, according to Mewawalla. Zenplace’s property management fees are about 5%.
Zenplace also uses machine learning technology to predict maintenance and repair for units. Multifamily is typically reactive when it comes to repairs and waits for things to break down. Machine learning will take data on building systems like water heaters and predict when they might break down before they do, preventing additional costs and repairs.
Mewawalla said the technology over time could be used for other CRE properties and he has had interest from other asset classes. Leasing agents can only show so many properties in a day and scheduling issues, traffic and parking all make the process difficult. Anything that can increase productivity and time will be popular in the industry, he said.
“In CRE, we’ll see a much broader application of AI machine learning and robots,” Mewawalla said.
But for now, Zenplace and its robots will remain focused on residential. Zenplace manages properties in 47 cities and towns in the U.S., including the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Mewawalla.