If you wish you could show every one of your properties in person without ever leaving your office, then you could soon have that wish granted. Robot guides are successfully showing properties, creating floor plans, and even shooting videos for listings in California. In one Woodland Hills brokerage, robots will let you in for a showing, collect information about your preferences while you enjoy the tour, and then create three-dimensional videos of the entire experience.

At present, three California companies are offering robot real estate-related services: Zenplace, REX, and VirtualAPT. Zenplace is a self-described “artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning company for landlords and homeowners” that offers robot-guided home showings for rentals in hopes of minimizing vacancies. REX is a brokerage that installs a robot in sellers’ homes in order to answer questions about the property and collect data from people taking home tours, and VirtualAPT offers a robot that creates three-dimensional property videos.

All three companies are thriving. VirtualAPT expects to film 10,000 residential units by next March. Zenplace is expanding outside of California markets to New York, Texas, Washington, and Florida by the end of 2018. REX is expanding into four new markets, San Francisco, Austin, Denver, and Dallas, thanks to a $15 million influx of cash from its latest round of funding.

These service providers all say that the main advantage of bringing robot real estate agents into your showing process is the time it saves you to do other things. They also insist that the robots are not necessarily replacing real estate investors and agents, but rather reducing time on market and improving customer service when a human cannot be present. In the case of Zenplace, CEO Rahul Mewalla, pointed out that the property management system they offer enables the company to charge fees “as low as five percent.” He added, “Tenants love the smart guided tours by a robot and owners love how their property can now be rented in days instead of weeks or months.”

Investor Insight:
Give potential tenants or buyers guided tours of your properties remotely using robot guides. These robots collect data and take video of the showing.

Categories | Article | Market & Trends
  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at SelfDirected.org or reach Carole directly by emailing Carole@selfdirected.org.

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