As a landlord, you may be wondering if smart technology for your rental unit is even worth the investment. It turns out, however, that there is a growing demand. A recent study conducted in Utah revealed that over 75% of tenants would pay more for a property with smart home amenities, even more than traditionally desired perks such as covered parking or a pool. Done properly, you can incorporate this technology to the benefit of your tenant and your bottom line. But before you start throwing fistfulls of cash at the most expensive tech on the market, plan your set-up strategically with these 5 important considerations.
Depending on the location and layout of your property, you may want to boost security levels. There are a handful of cost-effective ways to do this.
- Cameras & Light Sensors. These work to monitor the perimeter of your property and can help put off potential ne’er do wells looking for an easy place to break into.
- Structural Alarms. CO2 and smoke alarms, sump pump and leaky pipe sensors are all investments that can reduce damage from disasters that may occur from inside the house. When all these devices are connected in a smart home, they can be programmed to alert you and your tenant immediately, regardless of where the problem is.
- Smart Locks. Smart locks use an app to lock or unlock the unit. This means no more lost keys and no more having to hang out at the property for a contractor to arrive. Furthermore, transitions are easier knowing you never have to change your locks or retrieve the old keys, simply change the access code.
Old technology tends to come with high energy costs. It doesn’t matter if you are covering utilities or the tenant is, it is in both of your best interests to keep energy consumption manageable. You don’t need to replace all of the old appliances or have solar panels installed to make your property more energy-efficient. A little bit of strategy goes a long way.
- Light Bulbs. LED bulbs consume up to 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. Additionally, they have a much longer lifespan.
- Thermostats. Smart thermostats can be programmed. Temperature can be controlled based on the tenant’s routine, weather patterns, and more. These nifty devices have been known to extend the lifespan of furnaces since it only heats the home when needed.
- Energy Monitor. When it comes to apartment rentals, energy monitors can be invaluable. Hooked up to the main circuit breaker, they detect how much energy is coming from what unit or rooms.
When integrating smart tech into your investment property, keep in mind that most of it will need WiFi to be functional. An inconsistent signal across the property could cause issues and reduce the effectiveness of whatever technology you’re using. To avoid this, put the devices on different connections or frequencies. This will ensure the entire property is sufficiently covered. Another connection problem could arise in detached homes where you’ve allowed the tenant to set up their own WiFi. The signal could be weak, inconsistent, and out of your control.
Lump the Cost Into the Rent
No conversation about amenities is complete without discussing how it will be paid for. While the energy devices will end up saving on utility costs, you have to leverage if that’s a quick enough return on investment for your unique situation. As mentioned above, the vast majority of renters are willing to pay more for smart-equipped units. With that in mind, consider if a slight cost increase would alleviate the initial installation and set up costs of smart tech.
Many people love the idea of smart tech in their homes, but it gets more nuanced when you apply it to a rental unit. Some renters will have privacy concerns, especially concerning cameras or home automation. It is important to set boundaries right away so that both parties have a clear picture of how the smart tech will be controlled. Common and private areas will need to be distinguished as well as who has control over which features.
In conclusion, your smart home can be designed however you need it to be. Some properties may benefit from a smart lock and a basic security system, whereas others could have full home automation. Integrate this technology with your budget and ideal tenant in mind. For more information on how to improve your rental property in Calgary, or to request a property management consultation with us, give us a call at 403-266-3550 or send us a message here.