3 Technologies That Will Transform the Future of Property Management

By Shami Barooshian

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Having a rental property can be a major time commitment, but these three technologies are positioned to make landlords’ lives a lot easier. 

For years now, technology has been making business processes faster, easier and more flexible. Entire companies work remotely. Million-dollar deals are closed between two mobile phones. "Face-to-face" meetings happen at opposite ends of the world through a computer screen.

It can take time for these technological tools to trickle down to small businesses but, when they do, they can be a boon for day-to-day operations. And that’s especially true for small property owners. The ability to list vacancies online, virtually share and sign documents, and facilitate payments remotely are just the beginning. 

With the breakneck pace of innovation, technologies that today might seem futuristic and out-of-reach are likely much closer than most landlords think.

1. Virtual Reality

VR-GogglesTechnology: Virtual reality (VR) uses special software to create a digital rendering of a space to make it feel as though the viewer is immersed in the space.

Why it Matters to Landlords: Virtual reality makes the in-person showing experience possible remotely. With this technology, renters can assess the flow of a property and relative size of a space. According to the The New York Times, people stay on a page with a 3D walkthrough ten times longer than a listing with photos only. While this technology is still in its relative infancy, experts predict VR tours may be mainstream in just a few years.

Status Check: Initial applications of VR will likely be focused around gaming, but major real estate companies like Sotheby’s are among the early-adopters of the technology.

2. Augmented Reality

Technology: Augmented reality (AR) superimposes a digital image (or images) onto a real-world view. The end result is a modified look at reality, where a viewer sees computer-generated images in a real place or alongside real objects.

Real Estate Application: Unlike VR, AR requires a buyer or tenant to be in-person at the property, but AR allows the viewer to experience that property in different ways. AR Pandora is one company already experimenting with various applications for real estate. The software allows users to see both morning and evening views of a property or to adjust the furniture in a room.

Status Check: As with VR, AR services are already proliferating the real estate market. Today, the price point is still high—AR companies charge thousands of dollars or more for their services. However, over time, the technology will only improve and will likely become more accessible and affordable. 

3. Artificial Intelligence

Technology: A division of computer science, artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of study that aims to create machines that operate like humans. These computers and computer software are usually designed for speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving. Think: Siri.

Real Estate Application: While many associate AI with robot-domination, the application for landlording is nowhere near as sinister—or complex. AI allows computers to intelligently process massive data sets to find patterns and connections. This advanced search engine is already poised to help improve the housing search and may eventually be able to match tenants to vacant properties.

Status Check: Artificial intelligence has a long history of fits and starts, but with companies like Facebook, Google and Apple investing heavily in its advancement, the technology is likely to see improvements in the near future. 

Shami Barooshian
About the Author:
Shami Barooshian
Shami is a freelance writer and editor who covers a wide range of topics from workplace culture to marketing strategy. Previously, Shami was editor of a small literary journal and is the author of prize-winning fiction.