The State of AI in Property Management Report: Explore the Paradigm Shift in Property Management

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Last modified on June 17th, 2024
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Artificial intelligence (AI), while still in its infancy, is steadily becoming essential in today’s business world. Although there are some uncertainties, business leaders and teams are eager to harness AI to drive growth and optimize operations. To explore how the property management industry is adapting to this technological revolution, AppFolio conducted over 20 hours of interviews with property management professionals, compiling their insights into the State of AI in Property Management Report. Here are some key takeaways.

Communications Is the Top Use-Case for Now

Expanding on earlier AppFolio research that found resident communication to be the most common use case of AI in property management today, interviewees for the State of AI in Property Management Report discussed how the technology is already leaving its mark on leasing operations. As one interviewee explained:

“I can’t answer every single email and every single phone call, and I hate having to check my emails and voicemail every 30 minutes.”

According to one interview participant, AI-powered leasing assistants “work 24/7, through the holidays, and never get sick.” The result?

“We never miss an opportunity if somebody shows interest in one of our properties; we’re able to capture every lead.”

Beyond leasing, generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and AppFolio Realm-X can produce professional emails and other forms of written communication instantly. The technology is also a game changer in its ability to help break language barriers. For example: 

“When it comes to our English-speaking managers who don’t speak Spanish and need to communicate with their Spanish-speaking residents, it’s been highly effective in helping them.”

Data Analysis and Data Entry in the Blink of an Eye

AI can analyze data — identifying trends, discrepancies, and patterns — in seconds, offering insights that humans might overlook or take hours to discover. One participant uses AI to project profitability based on credit score requirements:

“I’ve been asking ‘What would’ve happened?’ questions. How would our performance have been if we had restricted our minimum credit score to 625 instead of 600 for older properties?”

When it comes to large-scale manual bookkeeping, many interviewees are excited about AI’s ability to process invoices. One interview participant said:

“We really want to better leverage AI to interpret our invoices. We process tens of thousands of invoices, and anything that helps us glean information more effectively will be beneficial.”

AI Empowers, Not Replaces, Property Management Employees

While concerns about AI-driven job displacement are valid, the professionals we interviewed remain optimistic. They believe that in an industry reliant on customer service, human property managers will always be essential. One interviewee noted:

“I love AI and believe it can help, but I still need the same number of people because we’re in a customer service industry. Our message has always been: ‘It’s the people that make us.’”

Rather than replacing employees, AI is expected to change roles and responsibilities for the better. Future property managers will be able to focus on less stressful, more impactful work. In fact, in a recent AppFolio interview, Zack Kass, Futurist and former Head of Go-To-Market for OpenAI — the company behind ChatGPT — commented: 

“If someone can adopt AI to improve the speed with which renters receive service calls, information about their apartments, lease application feedback, all these things that historically can feel arduous, then everyone wins. And building better lives for residents, I have to imagine, is something that a lot of property managers want.”

Addressing Early Concerns

In these early stages of AI adoption, some challenges and concerns need attention. Continuing human oversight and establishing best practices for AI implementation and use are crucial. Here are a few tips for integrating AI into your business:

  • Understand that AI is intended to supplement your work but not replace your judgment and expertise.
  • Always confirm the accuracy and reliability of outputs.
  • Use AI within the context of all other existing policies, laws, and regulations.
  • Create, distribute, and enforce an AI policy that covers your organization.

The State of AI in Property Management Report provides a detailed view of the current status of AI adoption in the real estate and property management industry, a look at the latest AI technologies and how they are being applied, and much more. We invite you to check out the full report here.

For more ways to fine-tune your AI strategy, download our free guide below.

Property management AI guide

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