As AI breaks into industries across the spectrum, one place these tools are finding a home is as digital liaisons between companies and their clients. But for property management companies whose services rely heavily on maintenance and repairs and even emotional management, can AI really offer sufficient support?
From automated chat tools to property regulation, AI is actually an ideal tool for individual managers and large firms alike, and it can prevent routine problems from turning into emergencies when used correctly. Here are just a few of the exciting ways property management groups are using AI and reshaping the industry.
The Green Apartment
Commonly described as IoT, the first AI tool to go mainstream in property management is the smart thermostat and accompanying smart home devices. These tools track user activities and temperature preferences to maintain a personalized, adaptive indoor environment.
Not only do smart thermostats make properties more comfortable, but for companies that include utilities in the rental price, they also help make each apartment more sustainable. Many property managers have also found that data from smart thermostats can help them identify HVAC problems before they reach the crisis point.
There are dozens of ways for businesses to communicate with clients. Some companies use Skype for calls or design chatbots for simple conversations, but property managers typically provide 24-hour manned support lines because they need to be ready in the event the laundry room floods or a bat gets into an apartment. Could AI eliminate the need for such intensive support service?
At the very least, AI could reduce the number of support staff needed to run a property management office and instead meet tenants’ needs using chatbots. Using a series of cues, most chatbots are capable of routing tenant needs to an emergency plumber or, for more standard situations, scheduling follow-up maintenance.
Just as smart thermostats can help identify HVAC problems before they become serious, other AI tools can provide preventative maintenance support. For example, some tools can apply life cycle assessment data to determine when a water heater will need maintenance. Others offer properly timed updates regarding maintenance scheduling, from when to replace fire extinguishers to changing air conditioner filters.
Preventative maintenance is the primary task for most property managers, and they can get in the way of the tasks only a human can do. So if something’s got to give, it just makes sense to focus on management issues, and leave routine tasks to the machines.
Finally, successful property management hinges on having properties to manage, which means buying, selling, and improving properties – and that can be time consuming. Today, though, AI is ready to disrupt the real estate marketplace. In one challenge, AI was pitted against real estate agents to find and assess properties as investments. For property owner/managers who are pressed for time, having AI lay the groundwork can provide real time savings.
AI can also help property owners determine the best time to sell properties that are no longer drawing a profit. Because these computers can easily run immense amounts of data and compare regional marketplace trends over long periods of time to maximize owner profits. When the computer does the work, owners can keep running their more valuable properties.
On the surface, AI and property management may not seem like a natural pairing, but the fact is that automated, intelligent tools leave more room for managers to do the hands on, personal work involved in the job. Sure, AI can’t build relationships with tenants or calm down a panicked resident, but it can handle the background issues. While AI monitors the appliances or calls the plumber, managers can plan resident events or talk to families. And isn’t that what the job is really all about?