Robot landlords are becoming more and more common with artificial intelligence taking over all aspects of the rental market.
There has been an echoing change happening in the housing market and it will likely bring a number of different unintended consequences. They are robot landlords, and this innovation in the market is making a number of folks nervous and concerned about the future of home ownership.
Artificial intelligence powers these robot landlords and runs an algorithm to find cheap, suitable, and livable homes for large corporations. It will then post for investors to quickly gauge and buy the house within hours of the home’s posting. This is extremely fast, and many local leasing companies, even homeowners, cannot compete with this kind of automation.
Most leasing companies and landlords are local companies spanning small, fragmented ownership around the general area. These rising companies can own anywhere from 50-80 thousand homes. One company Imagine Homes employs robot landlords and has been at the forefront of this innovation.
The company bought over 70 homes in Columbus to have a foothold there. Imagine Homes does everything via a robotic landlord. This landlord walks you through the home via a video or virtual reality headset.
An algorithm will scan your face to be sure you are who you say you are. Next, it will give a six-digit code to view the home via video. Then the robot landlord will walk you through the home and send you the leasing price and contract when finished. When you agree to be a tenant, it will send you the code to enter the house rather than give you a key.
The tenant will move in without speaking to a single human, and until you move out the only time you may ever talk to a single human regarding your home will be for maintenance. That, though is outsourced and ordered by the robot landlord upon request.
From a purchasing side, homeowners and landlords prefer to walk a property before considering purchasing it. This robot landlord does all the viable checks and viability of the home for these market investors. Due to this, investors merely need to check viability and hit the button to own the home.
This makes the market for want-to-be young homeowners very difficult, if not impossible. Since homes bought by these growing robot landlord super-giants never cost more than 200,000, they can corner the affordable housing market. Legacy investors, which hadn’t historically looked at leasing and housing as a viable market investment due to how scattered and fragmented was, are now getting heavily invested.
One homeowner who bought their home with their partner as young owners put their home on the market expecting another young couple to buy it. Within a few hours, they got a cash offer of $173,000, a solid ten grand more than their original asking price. The inspection was even waived if they sold right away, which they did.
Caleb Bone of Cincinnati, whose home was initially bought for $117,000, and sold for $173,000, commented, “It was meant to be an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I couldn’t.” Cincinnati is so worried about this low-budget housing issue that these companies are posing that they are buying houses to thwart these robot landlord giants.
At the same time, we have no experience or knowledge to fall back on as this robot landlord market takeover is unprecedented. It could be only a matter of time before robot landlords are the norm and we never speak to someone one-on-one again when renting a home.