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Smart Home Tech for Property Managers

Thad King
December 4, 2023

Smart home technology is all the rage these days, and for good reason. Home technologies like smart light bulbs, smart security systems, and more can provide a level of convenience that was once only imagined in sci-fi movies and TV shows. Home automation also provides higher security as things like networked wireless cameras and smartphone home alarm systems have become inexpensive ways to protect valuables when renting.

Today’s tech allows you to control all kinds of electronic devices using smartphone apps and voice commands, and smart home products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa allow you to set up home automation routines for further customization. While this technology is certainly interesting and entertaining, many property management companies are left wondering whether they should invest in smart home systems.

Should Smart Home Tech Be a Part of Your Property Management Strategy?

It can be tempting to give into the hype of home automation, but investing in these technologies may not be right for everyone. After all, these products can be expensive, and some require specialized service in the event of a malfunction.

Additionally, the question of how much value something like a smart thermostat adds to a property is debatable. Property managers often want to focus on investing in property upgrades and additions that will provide lasting value. If adding a smart speaker or smart lighting to a rental or commercially leased property becomes more trouble than it’s worth, these investments can turn into negative equity.

Providing Answers for Property Managers

In this post, we will look at the pros and cons of smart home tech for property managers. We’ll examine some of the risks involved in investing in smart technologies for rentals and leased commercial properties, but we’ll also take a closer look at how these technologies can benefit both property managers and tenants.

By the end, you should better understand the risks and rewards associated with investing in smart technologies for your properties. You will also be better equipped to make informed decisions about the best ways to add these technologies to your properties should you choose to do so.

The Risks of Adding Smart Home Tech to Your Properties

Before we look at the benefits of adding smart home tech to your properties, let’s first cover the risks and drawbacks. While intelligent connected systems offer a lot of convenience, they aren’t for everyone and may present some unforeseen challenges for property management companies.

Network Security and Cybercrime

One of the biggest drawbacks of adding smart home tech that connects to Wi-Fi is that networked technologies have a significant cyber risk. If a skilled hacker gains control of smart home tech through a network connected to a property you manage, the criminal may be able to access the dwelling with the push of a button. They can also cause damage to the network or even manipulate safety systems to cause a fire or flood.

The Costs

Although today’s smart home tech is more affordable than ever, some components and systems can still be pricey, especially if you need to renovate dozens of units to upgrade them with electronics. Depending on your budget and current occupancy rate, renovating all of your properties can be cost-prohibitive.

Tenant Education

Smart home systems are usually designed with simplicity in mind, but this doesn’t mean all your tenants can master these technologies. As a result, you may need to spend time teaching renters how to use smart systems installed at your properties. It may be worth it to create a tutorial or instruction manual to provide to renters that explains various systems and troubleshooting steps to avoid frequent calls for service.

Service Requirements

Speaking of service, you should also have service professionals available who can provide repair, maintenance, and installation should a smart home system experience a problem. Not all contractors understand newer systems, so it would be wise to partner with a service firm that stays on top of the latest in smart home tech to receive fast, efficient, and effective service.

Changes in Technology

Another consideration is that smart home technology rapidly evolves, and changes appear every few months. This can mean that shortly after you install one system, a newer one comes along, making the old one obsolete. Property managers can then get caught in a constant game of cat-and-mouse, always changing and upgrading systems and components while simultaneously burning through budgets.

The Benefits of Adding Smart Home Tech to Your Properties

Although there are some drawbacks to adding smart home technology to your rental or commercial lease properties, there are plenty of benefits. Because properties and markets are unique, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding the addition of smart tech upgrades, but below are some reasons property managers might want to consider adding some intelligent home systems.

Higher Rent

In most cases, you can charge higher rent prices by installing smart home automation gadgets. This is particularly true among younger renters who have come to expect access to things like smart locks and other smart home system components. A study from Avail states that 75% of renters in a survey conducted about smart home devices said they would be willing to pay more for dwellings that incorporated this technology.

Greater Security

Break-ins and theft account for much property damage each year, and property managers are often left paying the tab. Smart security systems and door locks can be ways to secure rental properties and quickly alert the authorities in the event of an attempted break-in. While home security systems are not guaranteed to thwart robbers, they can be a deterrent and potentially make properties more secure.

Easier Access

One of the more challenging aspects of managing properties is the problem of access. While a property is occupied, various laws protect renters’ rights and restrict access for property managers. If a renter moves out in the middle of the night, opening things like locked garage doors can become a tricky situation that requires a call to a professional. With smart access systems in place, resetting locks after a tenant moves out can be as simple as tapping a button on an app.

Better Marketing Materials

Adding home automation tech to your properties can provide a boost in your marketing efforts. By featuring the inclusion of advanced home automation technologies at your properties, you may be able to gain some leverage in a crowded real estate market.

You are encouraged to once again keep in mind that smart home tech often appeals to younger people. This isn’t to say that older tenants have no interest in or use smart home automation systems, but younger people are statistically attracted to these features when looking for properties to rent.

Should You Install Your Own Smart Home Tech?

Both the risks and benefits of adding home automation systems should be weighed carefully, but if you decide to add this technology to your rental or leased properties, should you install components yourself or hire an expert? Installing components yourself may be less expensive in the short term, but improper installation can damage components and require the services of an expert anyway.

On the other hand, calling in an expert from the beginning ensures everything is installed properly, but you need more control over the installation. This can be a problem for some property management professionals who wish to maintain as much control over their investments as possible.

If you go with DIY installation, you’re encouraged to consider at least having an expert look over your work when completed. This can help you identify any glaring issues that may become big problems for you and your residents. While it’s easy to follow a DIY YouTube video tutorial, online videos sometimes skip important steps or omit pertinent information.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Something else to consider when it comes to installing smart home systems, particularly regarding security, is the issue of insurance. Your insurance provider may have specific restrictions or regulations for installing home security systems and components. At the same time, you may receive a discount on your premium payments by installing a smart security system or having a professional handle it.

Should You Allow the Use of Smart Home Tech Provided by Tenants?

Some smart home tech is portable, and renters often bring various solutions like security systems and smart lighting. These systems and components are modular by design and usually don’t require any permanent placement.

Although a tenant installing a smart light bulb may not be an issue, you may want to consider the ramifications of things like smart home security systems. These systems are not designed to be installed permanently, but you will want to ensure that all networked components are FCC-compliant to avoid network interference with neighboring units. If it can be demonstrated that you allowed a renter to install a smart home security system that caused a neighbor’s security system to malfunction, this could become a liability issue.

Other Ways to Improve Property Value and Attract Tenants

Property managers need to remember that smart home automation technology is just one way to improve property values and attract tenants. In the end, the tried-and-true pillars of real estate remain, including providing a clean, safe dwelling that is inviting.

Waterproofing is one sure way to accomplish these goals in Malibu and Southern California. Waterproofed structures resist water damage and provide property managers with peace of mind. Additionally, waterproofing can extend the service life and enhance the structural integrity of homes, apartment buildings, condos, commercial properties, and more.

Help for Property Managers From Expert Waterproofing Specialists

Whether you opt for smart home technology, you can always protect the properties you manage with waterproofing. As the premier waterproofing contractor Malibu property managers trust for excellent service, West Coast Deck Waterproofing serves property managers, HOAs, business owners, and other professionals needing commercial waterproofing services. Contact us today or fill up our form to get a quote!