This new platform could reshape your profession

2020 has been a tough year by any measure, and at this point it looks like 2021 is working hard to catch up. Too many companies and too many fields have had to adapt to the “new normal” and innovate their future in hopes of staying in business. New York City, which was the epicenter of the virus until a few months ago, has seen its brightest star, the real estate market, take a huge hit and fail to recover. The exodus from the city may be over, but this realtor’s paradise has still undergone a profound transformation.

One of the big questions the coronavirus pandemic has raised in New York City is whether Manhattan’s rental market will ever be able to fully recover. As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel with lower prices and higher demand, innovation may be at hand to accelerate the recovery.

Knock is an AI-powered, end-to-end leasing platform that automates the entire leasing process, from lead generation and self-visit to application and lease signing. The company pivoted its offering last August as Covid continued to affect landlords and tenants. “We currently work with some of the largest building owners in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx,” says Erez Cohen, co-founder and CEO. “Our platform has facilitated thousands of self-visits over the past few months.”

Cohen and co-founder and CTO Guy Yoshpe, both served in the prestigious IDF Intelligence Corps Unit 8200 and later in major cybersecurity companies.

When Cohen moved to New York for his previous job, he was surprised by what he describes as “NYC’s outdated rental process:” “Everyone hates looking for an apartment, and the current process doesn’t In particular, it doesn’t meet the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z for an on-demand and empowering experience, nor does it use technology to remove the enormous amount of friction along the way.

He realized that the residential real estate rental process is extremely inefficient and takes much longer than it should. “Why can’t you get off an Uber in the West Village, visit 30 units in a few hours with no prep, and sign a lease, all in the same day?”

Soon after, this idea became a vision and the founders of Knock decided to use their strong security knowledge and technological skills to turn this vision into reality; they did not know what awaited the city and the world. When Covid-19 hit, they realized their vision needed to be refocused to create a complete digital rental solution with full automation of every component of the residential rental process.

“Landlords and property managers waste $20 billion a year due to rental inefficiencies, including long vacancy periods, inefficient agent costs, and time-consuming schedules and tours. This inefficiency is amplified by current circumstances. “It takes days to bring a lead into a unit,” they claim. “About 30% of all survey emails and scheduling requests go unanswered. The remaining 70% often get answered a few days later. no feedback to learn and optimize the process.”

They noticed that useful information for owners, such as visit costs, demographics of potential customers, etc. are not available. “Landlords are forced to rely on their agents to do their jobs, pay high brokerage fees or rental agent salaries, and suffer long days the unit is on the market due to friction in the process,” insist Cohen and Yoshpe. “For tenants, the value of automation is clear. Most of us have been frustrated due to the overwhelming friction in the rental process. Tenants are still waiting for the agent to respond, arrive and process requests. With the Covid pandemic, in-person visits can be one more aspect that leaves renters out.

Owners don’t have to work with them, at least not at this point. “But they have the ability to work directly with us, the same way they would work with traditional brokers. Along with increased efficiency, visibility, and fewer days on market, an automated platform charges significantly less than a traditional broker and can save owners hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Israeli contractors have built a bespoke solution to replace every element of the rental process. Each stage has its own unique proprietary technology that brings efficiency to each element. “When we add a new unit, we use live big data from relevant recent transactions to assess the most accurate rental price for the unit.” Then the discovery process is in charge of lead generation using syndication technology that syncs Knock listings with all existing third-party services including StreetEasy, Zillow,, RentHop, Craigslist, Facebook , etc application search engine. Today, traditional brokers do it manually.

When a potential tenant from any listing service sends in a request, the AI ​​Leasing Bot, who in Siri and Alexa’s mind is called Sharon, responds to requests in seconds and tracks every lead throughout. along the rental funnel, 24/ sept.

The potential tenant can immediately visit the apartment. “That’s why we’ve created self-touring technology that allows verified visitors to tour apartments on their own, in person, without an appointment, and without an on-site agent. While tenants visit by themselves- We have security measures in place to ensure that we know who is in the building and exactly when they are in the apartments.

For screening and lease signing, the system verifies users before the tour. “If they want to apply for the unit, the platform facilitates the application process, from the credit score to the background check and signing the lease, including a security deposit and the first month’s rent.

The real estate market in the age of Covid is already changing. Leases are now digitally signed, payments are online, and video tours are becoming more relevant. Cohen and Yoshpe think there’s no reason to stop there. All major cities are experiencing record vacancy rates, and the friction in the process is similar in every city in the United States, as well as outside the United States. “Our technology helps landlords and tenants and can make a broker’s job much easier and more efficient. Any industry that hasn’t been completely disrupted needs to embrace the technology to stay relevant. Residential rental is no different. Brokers,” they insist, “must reinvent themselves to stay relevant in this market. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen them make this change yet, so we’re targeting owners directly.

Kristan F. Talley