Should lettings Agents use AI?

18 March 2024

Artificial intelligence is starting to feed into our daily lives - and letting agents are using it to find new ways to offer the best service possible.

Letting agents have started to embrace RentTech in recent years, dipping into the various solutions that can provide new and more efficient ways to work. Now, with artificial intelligence (AI), agencies can offer more opportunities and take advantage of it.

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

What is AI?

AI can take many different forms, from speech recognition to chatbots. This technology aims to make our lives easier. IBM defines AI as a “technology that enables computers and machines to simulate human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.”

AI can take a huge amount of data and process it much faster than humans - and much more accurately.

There are multiple ways letting agents can make use of this technology. It is important to highlight that AI can help support your team's activities, rather than replacing job roles completely.

How has AI integrated into the lettings industry?

In our webinar “How Can Agents Use Technology to Win Landlords in 2024”, Megan Eighteen mentioned that some of her industry peers believing “negotiators will become non-existent” because of AI.

However, this isn’t the case. Over the years, numerous companies have emerged or embraced AI technology to benefit the lettings process.

With companies such as Prospector Pro, agents are equipped with the tools to improve while prospecting. Through the use of AI technology, calls can be recorded and provide intelligent feedback on the performance of each call.

AI can also be incorporated into a pre-existing process. For example, facial recognition checks with AI are now included in the referencing process. Renttech companies like Goodlord use AI technology to make the referencing process as quick and secure as possible.

Also in the webinar, Kristjan Byfield commented on the reception of AI with letting agents: “I was expecting a lot more pushback. But I think generally the appetite is good. I think people are excited to see what it will do. What they’re really excited to see is giving our better-performing members of staff more capacity.”

But how can letting agents use AI to benefit their processes? Here are six examples that you could consider at your agency.

Listen to our webinar How Can Agents Use Technology to Win Landlords in 2024

Write lettings content with Natural Language Processing AI

Natural language processing tools, like ChatGPT, have risen in popularity over the past couple of years and forever altered how we work, with a reported 180 million users in August 2023.

Natural language processing is a branch of AI that allows computers to understand, generate, and manipulate human language.

On platforms such as ChatGPT, you can provide commands to write in various styles, from blogs to property listings. The more information offered like demographics, location, and so on, to get tailored content suggestions that will ultimately help promote your agency.

There are some pitfalls. Yes, technically the content provided can be accurate, but anything produced through ChatGPT should still be edited. Letting agents should make sure the content is fully tailored to your audience and tone of voice.

However, for day-to-day tasks like property descriptions, there are already tools out there that can help landlords. In our webinar, “How Can Agents Use Technology to Win Landlords in 2024”, Kristijan Byfield, states “It breaks letting agents out of that mould of writing every property description the way they usually have. It picks up things like the way the property is facing that agents wouldn’t usually pick up on”.  

Natural language processing content can be quite formal, so it should be adapted to your company's tone of voice. Agents need to check their suggested content doesn't miss any key information that should be included. And, if agents would like to produce something more in-depth, their content can lack detailed insights that make extended pieces more engaging.

But if agents don't have the budget for a writer or time, AI could be a solution to support creating valuable content that can be beneficial to customers.
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Check IDs with AI 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. However, there are technology providers that are increasing in popularity 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.

Technology such as Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT), which is government-approved, pulls together technologies such as cloud and AI to digitise the process. This removes the element of human error and quickens up the referencing process.

When right to rent checks need to be conducted, using AI and completing the process online means an in-person check can be avoided and near-instant ID checks can be completed.

Checking IDs through AI makes right to rent and referencing processes much more streamlined. Using a Renttech provider to sort out your referencing for prospective tenants minimises the amount of time agents spend conducting manual checks themselves. 

Check out Vouch and their referencing platform here

Market your properties with virtual reality tours

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

Platforms like Matterport use technology that stitches together 2D images into a 3D tour of properties, with automated recognition of different rooms and objects. This gives tenants the opportunity to virtually measure the rooms too. This can provide an added benefit for letting agents when promoting a landlord’s property.

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.

Train your agents while freeing up capacity through AI

AI can benefit letting agents as well as customers. Through dedicated Renttech technology, agents can use AI to learn more information about their industry, manage their reputation online and even free up time for them to complete other responsibilities.

In our webinar, both Kristjan Byfield and Megan Eighteen discussed their thoughts on AI in the lettings industry.

Kristjan Byfield from the Depository stated in a recent webinar: “Generally, I think AI is viewed positively. It’s a tool that can enable your staff. Speaking with leaders, what they’re really excited about is giving the top performers in their agency the tools to increase their capacity.”

“But on the flip side, [agents are] also looking at the data and information these platforms give about training the lower-ranked performers to align their performance more succinctly with what the top performers do”.

Megan Eighteen, from Location Location, commented further: “AI can help people grow their businesses further, without having to look for more employment. For me, I think that we’ll see the same faces, but in slightly different ways, and I think that’s how I would like to think about it and I hope to see businesses grow with the tech.”

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

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