Investing In A Smart Future
There are simple and relatively low-cost ways for landlords to introduce smart home technology, writes Caleb Pearson, of Pearson + Projects.
2 July 2023
It’s an increasingly digital world we live in, from how we work, to how we communicate and seek entertainment. It’s hard to think how we would function without technology, but how much of this translates to how we function and operate in our homes outside using wi-fi?
Smart home technology isn’t new, nor uncommon, but as far as how much we utilise the benefits of technology day-to-day there seems to be a slower uptake on using the full benefits.
What Is A Smart Home?
A smart home is a house with interconnected devices and systems that can be controlled remotely and automated. These devices may be managed through a central hub or smartphone app, such as smart thermostats, lighting systems, HVAC and security. They are interconnected, allowing homeowners to monitor and adjust aspects of their home from anywhere.
You might see the benefit of this investment on your own home, but is it worthwhile on an investment property? There are many factors which come into play here, and in the list of areas to invest, turning your rental into a smart home is not likely to be at the top. But there are simple and relatively low-cost ways to get started. Here are my top pros and cons to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Smart home devices are interconnected and can be managed through a central hub or smartphone app. They can be monitored and adjusted from anywhere.
1. Energy efficiency and cost savings: Smart functions on electrical items (thermostats, lighting, HVAC) with custom and remote timers enable tenants to optimise energy use, resulting in lower power bills.
2. Improved security: Smart security features, such as smart locks, and video doorbells, enhance the safety and security of the rental property.
3. Remote control and automation: Smart home technology allows tenants to control various aspects of their living environment remotely. They can adjust temperature settings, lighting, and even monitor security cameras from their smartphones, providing convenience and flexibility.
4. Attracting tech-savvy tenants: Smart home technology appeals to tech-savvy individuals who appreciate the convenience, efficiency and connectivity it offers. By offering these features you can attract a specific demographic of tenants who value the latest advancements.
1. Higher initial investment: Implementing smart home technology requires an upfront investment. The cost of purchasing and installing devices and systems can vary widely. Landlords should carefully consider the return on investment.
2. Maintenance and technical issues: Smart home technology may require updates and maintenance. Landlords should be prepared to handle technical issues, firmware updates, and potential connectivity problems that may arise. This can add complexity and time-consuming tasks to property management.
3. Privacy concerns: Smart home technology often collects and stores data about tenant behaviour and usage patterns. This can raise privacy concerns, and landlords must ensure that proper privacy measures are in place to protect tenant information.
4. Tenant education and adaptation: Tenants may need to be educated on how to use and troubleshoot the smart devices, which can require additional time and effort. While some tenants may appreciate and embrace smart home technology, others may prefer more traditional setups.
Add security with a smart lock.
Speak to visitors remotely with a video doorbell.
Easy Ways To Start
1. Install smart thermostats: Heating and cooling costs often comprise a significant portion of a tenant’s utility expenses. By installing a smart thermostat you can provide your tenants with the ability to set and control the temperature remotely using existing heating. Not only does this enhance the tenant’s comfort, but it also promotes energy efficiency and can save a lot in power.
2. Smart locks and video doorbells: Security and safety is a concern for tenants, and by incorporating smart locks or a video doorbell, you offer peace of mind and convenience. Smart locks eliminate the need for physical keys by allowing tenants to lock and unlock doors using their smartphones or pincode. Video doorbells provide real-time video footage, enabling tenants to see and communicate with visitors even when they are not at home. These smart security features attract tenants seeking a secure living environment while providing an added layer of convenience.
3. Upgrade your lighting system: A simple and effective way to introduce smart functionality is by upgrading the lighting system. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs and consider installing smart light switches or dimmers that can be controlled remotely through a mobile app. This allows tenants to adjust lighting levels, set schedules, and even create ambiance with just a few taps on their smartphones.
These upgrades can save money and add a lot of convenience and benefits to occupants. But they are not for everyone, nor every tenancy. Consider your target market and value your tenants may place on these. In the right locations, these smart home additions may set your property apart and attract tech-savvy tenants.
Regardless of this, they can still provide energy savings and safety benefits which may justify the investment in their own right.