Digitalization is happening all around us at a quick pace, and the real estate industry is no exception. Recently, developers have been working on a new cutting-edge technology that brings plenty of advantages to the real estate business. This technology aims to cut the time necessary for the application process by half. Also, it can free employees up for other valuable tasks. The technology in question is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and it can automate specific tasks in the real estate industry.
Because robotic process automation is still quite a vague concept, this article aims to explain it in detail, provide practical examples of the application of RPA in real estate, and aspire to tackle potential challenges RPA brings about.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Real estate and property management imply quite a few data processing tasks. The tasks include the management of documents, inventory, procurement, and accounting, among others. These complex processes tend to reduce employees’ productivity and, in the end, the business itself. The ultimate objective of RPA is to help avoid that. As software, it aims to complete the repetitive and time-consuming business processes that employees perform. By implementing RPA in a real estate business, a real estate agent can assign these mundane tasks to ‘bots.’ Thus, realtors can use RPA as a technology to automate standardized and repetitive processes, being a part of regular real estate tasks.
Realtors can apply RPA to various real estate and financial operations when speaking about real estate. These tasks include extracting, migrating and completing, updating, and validating data to improve the efficiency of a real estate business. It decreases the risks of making mistakes and the amount of workload on employees.
Tenant onboarding is an aspect of real estate operations that can benefit from implementing RPA. The tenant onboarding process requires quite a few diverse manual and time-consuming tasks. These tasks can sometimes lead to a poor customer experience, ultimately resulting in rejection by the prospective client. Real estate agents can implement RPA to extract and process standardized information regarding the tenant onboarding process to prevent this from happening. Specifically, they can employ RPA to create a new tenant application. Besides that, agents can also utilize it for the criminal background check and verify income, references, and employment. Based on all this information, RPA can automatically approve or disapprove the applicant, shortening the whole process considerably.
An essential aspect of every business is payments. Realtors can run RPA to set reminders for payments, and a real estate agent can set up a bot for checking payments that can send reminders when specified. Furthermore, ranking as a plausible and preferred option deals with non-paying clients since it can be taxing for employees.
Another key aspect of the real estate industry is the portfolio of all the properties. Real estate agents can adjust RPA to automate updating crucial information on sold or rented properties on various websites. Professional real estate agencies, such as Ben Bate Real Estate, are mindful of keeping all the information updated. Keeping the information outdated at times when updating takes merely a few clicks is quite unprofessional.
Net Asset Value (NAV)
Another application of RPA includes net asset value (NAV) calculations. Moreover, it also incorporates Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance.
Bank and account reconciliation
Besides the real estate operations, realtors can also implement RPA in various financial operations. For instance, agents can apply it to automate the extraction of different bank statements. It makes the process easier as it uploads the downloaded documents to a shared drive or financial application for reconciliation.
Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) automation
An additional significant application of RPA is in processing invoices. RPA can automate 80% of Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR). Manual processing takes time, costs money and, is prone to possible errors.
All the previously mentioned information above brings us to the conclusion that there are numerous advantages to implementing RPA in real estate. For starters, it increases the efficiency of employees. Automation and digitalization lead to cost savings and there are almost no possibilities for errors. The most prominent benefit, however, is the fact that employees are able to focus on quintessential tasks that bots cannot perform. With RPA, they do not need to waste time on mundane, repetitive tasks that require plenty of time for completion.
However, there are certain challenges RPA poses, even with all the benefits mentioned. Implementing this relatively new technology in the real estate industry is challenging. Changes are often tricky, and we need time to adapt. To try a new application, platform, or process, we need to be aware of its benefits and what it will bring us in the long run. In that case, accepting the changes and adjusting is not so demanding. The real estate industry’s focus is on buying, selling, and renting properties. Consequently, real estate agents often do not think about the technical side of doing business.
One considerable challenge of implementing RPA is a change in management. It requires a complete transformation at the level of the whole organization. Additionally, the person in charge needs to identify the proper process to activate, following specific rules. Starting slowly, module by module, is essential to overcome these challenges. When implemented in such a fashion, a change is much easier to accept.
RPA can bring a myriad of benefits to the real estate industry. Real estate agencies should consider implementing it, as it will probably become a mandatory way to do business successfully soon.