Should your lettings agency be using artificial intelligence?

8 March 2023

Artificial intelligence is starting to feed into our daily lives - and letting agents can use it to find new ways of working and offering the best service possible.

Letting agents have started to embrace RentTech in recent years, dipping into the various solutions that the sector can provide to find new and more efficient ways to work. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has thrown up even more opportunities that your agency can look into and take advantage of.

To understand more about the RentTech ecosystem and the providers that could help give your agency a boost, check out our RentTech supergraphic.

What is AI?

AI can take many different forms, from speech recognition to chatbots and smart assistants. It aims to make our lives easier. AI can take a huge amount of data and process it much faster than humans - and much more accurately.

There are multiple ways that letting agents can make use of this technology. It can help support your team's activities, rather than replacing job roles completely. Here are just five examples that you could consider at your agency.

1. Write content with natural language processing tech

The natural language processing tool, ChatGPT, has gone viral in recent weeks, reaching 100 million monthly active users just two months after it launched.

You can tell ChatGPT to write in various styles, from blogs to property listings. You can also share demographics, location, and so on, to get tailored content suggestions to promote your services.

Obviously there are some pitfalls. It can be technically accurate, but anything produced through ChatGPT should still be edited and checked to make sure it's fully tailored to your audience.

It can be quite formal, so it should be adapted to your company's tone of voice. You'll need to check that the copy doesn't miss out any key information that should be included. And, if you'd like to produce something more in depth, it can lack detailed insights that make extended pieces more engaging.

But, if you don't have the budget for a writer, AI could be a solution to support you in creating valuable content for your clients.

2. Check IDs with facial recognition

Checking that someone's face matches their ID is a key part of the referencing process. This can still be a manual check in many instances, yet there are also technology providers that can support this check with biometric facial recognition software - Goodlord, for example.

This type of check can be much more accurate than a manual check, as it will also check for fraudulent documents at the same time.

It also means that, in many instances where the right to rent check can be completed online too, an in-person check can be avoided. It's faster too, with near-instant ID checks to speed up the whole referencing process.

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3. Market your properties with virtual reality tours

During the pandemic, many agents recognised the importance of online viewings. Some went down the route of simply using their phones to record videos. Some invested in a full 360° virtual tours, with Matterport - a solution that uses AI.

Its technology stitches together 2D images into a 3D tour of properties, with automated recognition of different rooms and objects - and gives your tenants or house buyers the chance to virtually measure the rooms too.

For agents with overseas buyers or high-value tenants, this type of technology can help give that in-person experience without viewers needing to leave their living rooms.

4. Add smart assistants to buy-to-rent properties, to bring extra value to tenants

From smart security systems to AI assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, build-to-rent properties in particular can use AI to make the tenant experience as good as it can be, by making the home an experience.

As the cost of living rises, this type of property attracts tenants that are happy to pay more for a sense of community and access to a variety of facilities. Offering new AI solutions to help them enjoy their new home is a great way to show them value, and retain them for longer. 

5. Support your customers - and generate leads - with chatbots

ChatGPT can be used in more ways than simply for writing content.

“In the estate agency world, ChatGPT can be used to enhance customer service by providing 24/7 support and response to queries," says Jamie Arthur, CEO of Property Webmasters. "It can be used as a lead generation tool to engage with potential clients, gather information and qualify leads.”

This can then be taken to the next level. Spectre is a lead generation and prospecting tool provider that now offers AI. This allows estate agents to sell their services to sellers whose homes have been on the market for a specific period, with automated letters.

That's only five suggestions of how to use AI in lettings - but the possibilities are endless for agents that want to be creative. You may even already be using AI without realising it. 

It's worth looking to see what your current providers integrate with to see if there are any extra services that you would like to add on, to make every single step in your process more simple.

To understand more about the RentTech ecosystem and the providers that could help give your agency a boost, check out our RentTech supergraphic.

Further reading