It’s no secret that life is becoming more digitized – and that extends to the home as well. In the proptech space, there is an increasingly strong demand for smart home technology in rentals, and property managers and operators should take note. Now is a great time for property managers to go out and upgrade their communities, according to Andre Sanchez, Chief Operating Officer of Rently.
For example, property managers can use self-touring technology to allow prospective renters to instantly view a property on their own without an agent accompanying them. That renter can then go online and digitally lease the property.
“Having smart technology helps property managers to lease vacant units more quickly and efficiently,” Rently CEO Merrick Lackner said.
It can also help with damage prevention, he noted. Smart leak sensors under bathrooms, sinks and faucets can help detect problems before they potentially cause more damage.
And sensors and smart home door locks can also help protect the community from a security perspective.
Ultimately, installing smart home technology is good for both the renter and the property manager, Sanchez said.
“It’s a huge benefit to the renter in that it keeps them happier. And happy renters stay longer. And if they stay longer, then you don’t have to worry about finding a new renter,” he said. “It’s all about making renters happy so they sign and renew leases. That makes the real estate operator happy and everyone wins.”
Smart home technology can help keep renters happier and increase efficiencies and return on investment for managers and operators, but it’s crucial to take the right approach in deployment.
The problems with the traditional approach
Despite the consumer interest in and the benefits of smart home technology, some builders and managers may remain uncertain about investing in it due to the challenges of the traditional deployment process.
“I think the biggest challenge for any operator going in and looking to use smart technology is that they’ve got to logistically deploy this technology across hundreds of units in a community,” Lackner said. “That’s a process that requires a lot of coordination and logistics and expertise. Making the cost-benefit decision to upgrade is the easy part. But a successful deployment requires expert planning and project management.”
Another challenge is the ability to manage all of the facets of the technology across a community.
“Using piecemeal or ad hoc smart home technology from several different vendors is really hard to manage if you’re a property manager or a real estate operator that’s operating at scale when standardization matters,” Sanchez said.
The piecemeal approach has pitfalls. Installing pieces of smart home technology used at a consumer level can lead to communication difficulties if devices are on different protocols, such as WiFi versus Bluetooth. Additionally, many of the consumer-level smart home devices aren’t provisioned to allow a property manager to manage thousands of them at an individual level.
“You start piecemealing technologies together, you get what we refer to in the industry as app fatigue,” Sanchez said. “That’s the problem with traditional smart home technologies, is that there’s just way too many apps involved in the ecosystem.”
In terms of investing in smart home technology, real estate operators and property managers may be wondering what approach to take. Rently can help with that.
“From an ecosystem perspective, we have the entire array of products that everybody in the industry needs,” Lackner said.
Rently’s deployment approach has a dual focus, in that the company installs both hardware and software. They support deployment for all devices and all types of operators for the entire rental lifecycle.
When partnering with Rently to deploy smart home technology, the company customizes its kit to an operator’s specifications, allowing operators to choose what and how much technology they want to install. They offer an all-in-one solution built on a single software platform that includes a comprehensive online portal that helps property managers fulfill ongoing operational tasks. That platform can be customized for any property type.
“The natural question for a real estate operator was, ‘How do I deploy this technology and manage it from a day-to-day perspective, efficiently and easily?’” Sanchez said. “That’s where we’ve made great efforts to standardize, support and manage deployment through the entire lifecycle of the property.”
“It’s all holistic – providing a better experience to the renter and servicing the manager and operator. And, everyone wins,” Sanchez added.
For more information on Rently’s smart home technology, visit https://use.rently.com/.