Being a landlord is tough, especially when you're managing a lot of properties and dealing with multiple tenants every day. A talented team is vital to your success, but so is having the right tools in the right places.
Thankfully, we live in an age when smart home technology is everywhere. By adding smart technology tools to your rental units and complexes, you can save yourself plenty of time, money, and late-night phone calls.
What is smart home technology?
Smart home technology is a catchall term that includes a wide range of Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices that allow for automation of almost anything in your home or rental. For example, a smart appliance can be controlled with voice commands from another room to, say, preheat the oven, or a smart light can be programmed to turn on or off at a certain time, even if the occupant isn't home.
When it comes to rental units, smart home technology can help you do more without having to be on-site all the time. Smart home system monitors, for example, can alert you to problems even before your tenants may be aware of them, minimizing damage to your units and ensuring that issues are reported.
Safer self-showings with smart home technologies
If you've been in the habit of leaving your doors unlocked and allowing potential tenants to take self-guided tours of your units, you may already have suffered the consequences of nefarious shenanigans while your back was turned.
If your self-guided properties have ever been damaged, occupied by squatters, or subjected to any other sort of nightmare situation, smart locks and access systems can be a game changer. They let you grant temporary access to people who are coming to view a unit -- while keeping everyone else out.
Adding a doorbell camera to a unit takes security a step further, allowing you to see exactly when people are coming and going. Smart doorbells will record a video of anyone who gets close enough to the door to trigger the motion sensor, giving you a good view of what's going on and allowing you to review security footage in the unfortunate case of a criminal incident. And all this happens without you having to be on-site or leaving your doors wide open for anyone who chooses to walk in off the street.
Other ways smart technology simplifies property management
Of course, showing a unit is only the beginning of what automation can help you simplify. A huge range of home automation tools can help with problems that can plague property management, from allowing access to and monitoring parking facilities to utilizing smart leak sensors to ensure that on-site laundries or in-home pipes aren't causing damage.
You can do away with keycards for common areas by installing keypads with temporary passcodes for spaces like clubhouses or permanent passcodes and video surveillance for other common areas to prevent nontenants from trespassing.
If you have a recurring problem, the odds are good that there's a smart home technology tool that can help you automate all or part of the solution. You can even prevent tenants from overstaying their leases with smart locks by automatically revoking their codes on a given date and time. Depending on your local tenant laws, this simple tool can prevent the cost and drama of an eviction by giving procrastinating tenants an incentive to move on down the road, on time.
The Millionacres bottom line
Smart home technology configured with your rental units in mind can make a huge difference in property management. Even with a small office staff, keeping up with the needs of so many units and tenants can be overwhelming. Having access to new tools and technology can quiet the chaos down to a dull roar.
Of course, you should be very careful when introducing new technology, since there are both tenant laws and privacy laws to consider. For example, it's fine to use a camera in a unit to monitor it when it's empty, but remember to remove it before a tenant moves in. There's a fine line between protecting your interests and protecting your tenants' rights.