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Smart Home Technology That Will Attract and Retain Tenants

smart metal door lock system

We live in a highly connected world – so much so, that more people want to take technology home with them. Landlords, take note. To stay ahead of the curve, landlords need to limit tenant turnover. This starts with finding and screening top quality renters.

But to encourage longer commitments from tenants, the landlord not only needs to manage the property and their tenants well, but they also need to get as smart, savvy and linked up as their tenants.

According to Statista, smart home market penetration in Australia will rise to 41.9% by 2023. Control and connectivity, smart appliances, home entertainment, and security-related technologies top the list.

“Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the everyday physical objects that surround us into an ecosystem of information that will enrich our lives. From refrigerators to parking spaces to houses, the IoT is bringing more and more things into the digital fold every day, which will likely make the IoT a multi-trillion-dollar industry in the near future.” PricewaterhouseCoopers report, Sensing the Future of the Internet of Things

Statista anticipates that in 2019, the market value of smart home technologies in Australia alone will look like this:  

  • Smart appliances: US $309.8 million
  • Control and connectivity: US $282.2 million
  • Home entertainment: US $225.7 million
  • Security: US $221.9 million
  • Energy management: US $121.2 million
  • Comfort and lighting: US $11-6.9 million

With such critical money numbers, landlords have to pay attention if they want a favourable bottom line or they will risk, to some level, getting passed over by the new generation of tech-savvy tenants.

“Smart homes and other connected products won’t just be aimed at home life. They’ll also have a major impact on business. And just like any company that blissfully ignored the Internet at the turn of the century, the ones that dismiss the Internet of Things risk getting left behind.” — Jared Newman, Fast Company

Today’s landlord knows the benefits of upgrading and renovating their rental properties. Tenants want more than a safe community; they desire a certain aesthetic and they are willing to pay premium dollars to get it.

Technology is a vital contributor to fast-moving rental units, and although the majority of these tech features demand some considerable financial investments, the probable returns are worth it. The key advantages for landlords are:

  • Lower maintenance and utility bills
  • Increased (and undisputed) rental income
  • Higher quality and conscientious renters
  • Better security for the properties
  • Higher overall efficiency
  • Better tenant engagement

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the average home has 13.7 different internet-connected devices. As global internet capability improves, these trends will keep rising and smart home tech product prices will keep dropping.

In order to attract and retain the best possible tenants, these are the current home tech solutions landlords should consider looking into:

Smart Home Security Systems

The Internet of Things has made the reality of smart homes possible, where tenants can remotely control door locks, thermostats, lights, vacuums, lawnmowers, and even pet feeders.

With just a smartphone and an app, people can monitor and manage their homes from virtually anywhere.

Depending on needs and preferences, a landlord can procure a do-it-yourself kit or find a professional installation and monitoring service.

Landlords renting out relatively small apartments can have simple smart security cameras installed to get the job done at a fraction of the cost of a full security system.

Video doorbells are another efficient solution for tenants who want to see who is at the door without having to physically get to it.

Currently, there are individual devices that let people monitor their homes from anywhere using their phones or tablets. These devices can tap into indoor and outdoor security cameras, motion sensors, video doorbells and even smart locks.

The majority of the latest DIY and high-end home security solutions offer additional support for voice control through Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and at times even Apple Siri.

With these solutions, a tenant is enabled to unlock doors, alter thermostat settings, open garages, and either arm or disarm security systems via spoken commands connected to devices like Amazon Echo or a Google Home speaker.

Many devices also offer support for IFTTT (If This Then That) applets. For instance, a tenant may create an applet that says if a garage door is opened, the floodlights should automatically turn on.

In the below video, there are terrific examples illustrating how to extend Google Home’s Capabilities with IFTTT:

Smart Thermostat Solutions

Smart thermostats are a sure-fire way to attract practical and eco-conscious tenants.

Landlords can offer their tenants the option to either control a unit’s entire heating and cooling system with just their phones or their voices. Today’s latest connected thermostats dually offer flexibility in choice and huge savings on energy costs.

Wi-Fi-enabled devices adapt to the tenants’ daily routines, quickly creating more efficient heating and cooling patterns with negligible human input.

Smart thermostat choices are limited only to preference and cost.

Some are intended for basic heating and cooling systems, so they offer simple scheduling and programming options. Other thermostats target more intricate multi-stage systems, controlling the entire cooling, heating, dehumidifier, and ventilation systems of a home.

As is the case in many homes, there are usually more than two smart devices installed in a residence. Thermostats like Nest can work with multiple devices such as the Nest Indoor and Outdoor cameras, Protect smoke alarm and numerous third-party devices like lighting systems, smart switches, and fans.

Many of the latest smart thermostats are supported by Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant voice commands, and they enable tenants a range of features such as checking on or changing the current temperature using your voice.

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Smart Bulb Solutions

Lighting accounts for about 10% of the entire energy usage in residential and commercial properties, making smart bulbs the popular choice for eco-conscious landlords and tenants.

Because they use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and other varied technologies, smart bulbs cost slightly more than traditional bulbs, but they are worth the investment due to their longevity and the associated energy cost savings.

Tenants would enjoy the range of control and interactivity smart bulbs offer; such as scheduled timers and remote-control and voice-control options.

Some smart bulbs leverage geofencing, working with a smartphone GPS to pinpoint your exact location, which means they can automatically turn lights on or off when a tenant reaches a certain point.

Other smart bulbs can be integrated with other devices, security cameras and thermostats. Using the IFTTT compatibility, tenants can even create applets which automatically make the lights react to certain triggers, like weather changes or specific phone notifications.

There are also colour-changing smart bulbs which are great for mood lighting. Some colour-changing bulbs can even be synced to certain movies and TV shows.

Smart Lock Solutions

Smart locks are perhaps the most vital component of a truly smart, connected home. They allow tenants to come and go at will and can monitor who enters and leaves while they’re away.

Certain smart lock models allow tenants to use their phones to open and close doors. Others can assign distinct privileges for friends, family members, and even maintenance staff or temporary users who can be given access on specific days, times and schedules.

Many smart locks come with mobile apps that allow tenants control from a simple icon tap. Others can do this from desktop PCs or laptops.

Some cool features the latest smart locks offer include:

  • Voice activation
  • Geofencing
  • Auto-locking features
  • Keyless touchpads – great for when tenants lose their phones
  • Tamper and forced entry alarms
  • Push, text, and email notifications to alert tenants about who is accessing the property in real-time

There are many other high-end smart home tech options landlords can upgrade their units with ranging from:

  • Smart kitchen appliances – the Amazon Basics Microwave, Tovala Steam Oven, Smarter Coffee
  • Smart outdoor gadgets –  the Polaris 9650iQ Sport pool cleaner, Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, Automower 315X
  • Smart health and fitness gadgets – for apartments with shared or common gyms or fitness areas

Ultimately, technology is no longer an intimidating mystery. By investing in these technology-driven lifestyle solutions, landlords can be sure they are doing all they can to attract and retain tech-savvy tenants like millennials.

Managing your property need not be any different. Technology-based platforms like Lodge have evolved to make the traditionally time-consuming job of managing your property so much easier than ever before.

From finding and screening tenants, creating leases, collecting rent, and managing paperwork, Lodge has all you need to manage your investment.

Reserve your spot now for a personalised demo and see for yourself how easy it can actually be.

Photo: Ada, to