Real Estate Investors Bank on Technology to Deliver Profits
MIAMI – In the future, potential renters may visit available units, apply for leases and execute paperwork without ever seeing a human being.
That’s what PropTech investor John Helm is banking on.
Helm is the managing director for Real Estate Technology Ventures (RET Ventures), an industry-backed early stage investor fund. He made his prediction of human-free leasing during a panel Wednesday at the Urban Land Institute Miami fall symposium.
Cutting leasing staff can significantly trim expenses for an apartment building, said Helm. But the savings won’t come from a single app.
“We tend to follow things and invest in companies that complement one another,” said Helm.
His team is investing in artificial intelligence companies that digitize the screening of a would-be renter online and allow that renter to schedule an appointment to tour the unit. RET Ventures is also investing in lock-and-entry technology using facial recognition software to give access to a person to tour an apartment.
The ability to tour a home solo also correlates with higher closing rates, said Helm. Data shows that renters who tour units without human leasing agents are more likely to close.
Panelist Tigre Wenrich, CEO of Lab Ventures Miami, is focusing on a different real estate sector: construction. Lab Ventures is investing in apps that monitor construction workers to simplify payroll and track progress. In addition, it has invested in Licify, a marketplace for the Latin American commercial construction industry.
LAB Miami Ventures is also investing in a 3D visualization product that will allow a prospective customer to see how an office or residential space might look when customized to the client’s wishes.
© 2019 Miami Herald, Rebecca San Juan. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.