I’ve underlined ‘We’ because I mean you guys/us as providers of the property management services and I also mean me and all of your customers as the consumers who pay for it.

I think there is a lot of room for us to take the decision making capabilities of artificial intelligence to lift the heavy load in property management. And I’m not talking about the simple automation of mundane tasks. 

Usually, when we talk about emergent technology in PM, we are talking about simple automation like if this trigger happens, then something else automatically happens. When a tenant is 4 days late in their rent, a text message automatically reminds them to pay their rent. 

But is that enough to make a real step change in a customer experience that people are prepared to pay us for? Will that create the lift in productivity that will enable our experience as property managers to be fulfilling, and interesting human work? 

Modern computing is capable of so much more – we just have to apply that knowledge to your day in PM – the decisions that you make each day – all day.

Think about all of the decisions you might have to make in a day. 

  • BDMs – looking at the office database, who would you call if you had to get an extra rental listing today?
  • Managers, how are you handling the email inboxes when half of the office is away at AREC?
  • PMs, how confident are you when you recommend a tenant for a rental property?
  • PMs, likewise, how do you know which cases to take to Tribunal and when to cut your losses?

The mental wellness challenge of ‘decision fatigue’ is real and it is exactly what it sounds like – exhaustion from having to make too many decisions. 

When we think about the possibility of property management – what we could imagine it to be, the real productivity boost in the 21st century, won’t just come from simple automation. 

We need machines that can make decisions like this for us – and about us – in a way that imitates how we, or an assistant might make that same decision.

And that is the journey that my team at RiTA have been on for the past 5 years. We started by asking the question: if you had a robot – what would you want it to do? 

Unreservedly, the industry said that they wanted more properties to sell and manage – so we created RiTA to help do that. We knew from being in the industry that there was only one way to get more listings, and that was to have more conversations. 

Here is how it works. 

You are a BDM on Sydney’s North Shore. And you’ve got 113,000 contacts in the office CRM. So, where do you start?

Jumping into RiTA, there are your 113,000. That’s a lot of people to sort through – let’s get some help.

Property owners would be a good start…now the number is 25,000. 

Then what? Do we look at categories, tags that say things like an investor, or landlord? Probably not. 

Those categories are out of date. Sales agents don’t worry about the rental pipeline – it’s not their core area of focus and these tags are often unreliable. 

But let’s at least get rid of property owners who we can’t contact. If they don’t have a mobile number in 2022, we can’t reach them.

There, we’re getting down to 16,000. That is an 86% improvement on 113,000 – so we are getting there.

Now, those 16,000 are spread all over Sydney’s North Shore, but you are trying to grow a rent roll around Turramurra. Let’s look for property owners with mobile numbers who are within 3km of Turramurra. 

Right, now we are looking at about 5,500 give or take. Which pretty much represents your available market.

Now let’s do ourselves one last favour… We don’t want the sales agents to get upset because we are calling “their” clients. So we ask RiTA to leave out anyone who has had a sales appraisal in the last 6 months. 

Done – that’s good – we’ve just saved around 300 arguments with sales people and we are still around 5,500 thousand contacts.

Still a big list. We can’t call 5,500 people today. 

Probably we want to narrow it down further to a small chunk – Maybe about 15 calls. 

I’ve got two ideas about who would be ideal for that list…

My thoughts are – I want to talk to property owners who have a relationship with our business, and these people might not know we have a rental department. While their property is vacant, it could be a great time to offer them a second opinion. 

And how about 3 months after they listed their property for rent. The tenants have moved in, done their entry condition report, found a bunch of maintenance that was missed in the prior exit and now the owner is out of pocket and unhappy with the return because the market keeps going up – Many landlords are lazy – they are happily dissatisfied and waiting for someone to offer them a better service, a better deal … I think that could be a good time to call.

So I ask RiTA to search the real estate portals to see if there are any property owners from that 5,500 with a mobile number near Turramurra who have a vacant property on the market with a competitor right now. And it looks like today there are 6.

Next, I ask RiTA to look for people who were on the market 3 months ago… 

There are 9 people we could call today, who had a vacant rental property 3 months ago.

That is 15 calls. 15 high quality calls that you can make where you are calling the right person, at the right time for the right reason – using the power of data.

Wouldn’t it be good if RiTA could have a conversation with those 15 people first, and then let you know who ACTUALLY wants to talk to you?

Last year we launched the ability for RiTA to have 2 way SMS conversations. So she can start the prospecting conversation with 15 people all at once, and she can have that conversation at whatever time of day you choose… 

Then when people write back to her – which about 20% of people do, she hands it over to you, with a full conversation transcript – so you can follow up and have a much better conversation. 

Let me summarise = So we’ve gone from 113,000 down to 5,500.

We’ve found 15 people in a smart data segment. Then RiTA has warmed them up via text message and now there are ONLY 3 calls you have to make and ALL with people who actually want to hear from you!

And the best thing is – that up until you’re about to start calling those 3 people – you haven’t clicked a button or made a decision – RiTA has done everything, automagically.

That’s a smarter way to work. And it is only possible, because we are working smarter with data. 

What do you reckon that is worth to a Real Estate Business?