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Is Upgrading to Smart Devices in Your Central Single-Family Rentals Worth It?

Maintenance Installing a Smart Device in the Living RoomThe single-family rental home market is feeling the many changes that come from the new wants of long-term renters. Like many people, from millennials to seniors, find themselves not able to or not willing to purchase a home nationwide, large numbers are turning to long-term rentals instead. The effect of this is that today’s renters have come up with their own expectations about the kinds of smart technology they would want to be placed in single-family residences.

There may be some tenants who want their landlords to have certain smart devices installed and ready for use, from high-speed internet to smart thermostats to security systems. But is upgrading your Central rental homes really worth it? Will it attract the types of renters that would make the effort worthwhile? The answer hinges on a few variables, from the location of your rental property to your desired return on the upfront costs.

The Benefits

Smart devices have the potential to make a rental home more efficient, more secure, and more convenient. Rental homes that are smart technology-ready may interest a portion of potential renters. For instance, a smart thermostat can make managing heating and cooling costs much easier, reducing wear and tear on air conditioning units and furnaces as well as lowering utility bills.

Adding sensors and cameras to doors and windows make sense depending on the area. Adding these to areas where there is a perception of crime would bring a sense of security that may attract renters who would otherwise be turned off by the location. Smart locks can simplify both accessing your rental homes and providing a secure transition for new tenants. No more changing the locks or emergency calls to a locksmith; you can simply change an access code to control who has access and who doesn’t.

If your rental home is in a place where there are a lot of renters who go to work or school, it might make sense to go for an upgrade. Smart devices are more popular in these places, and you can increase the rent a little bit to offset the upfront costs.

Potential Drawbacks

We’ve seen the benefits that property owners and tenants get from smart devices, but there are also some potential drawbacks. Quite possibly the most common issue property owners have when deciding to do a smart device upgrade is the upfront cost. Most of the smart home technology devices aren’t too expensive, but the additional costs are substantial enough that you would need to carefully consider the options before making a decision that would affect your rental home. Many devices work as a coordinated system, meaning you might not be able to do the job one upgrade at a time. Along with that, not all locations can take an increase in rent— which is needed to earn back your costs, so knowing your specific market for each rental home is important.

A second concern is the reliability and speed of the Wi-Fi in your area, and administrative access, which they will need to look after. Many smart devices rely on wireless internet to function, and so if the signal is weak or drops, it may seriously interfere with the functioning of any smart device. In places where distance and geography may cause connectivity problems, smart devices might just be expensive mistakes. For sure they wouldn’t operate as advertised and would just frustrate the tenants instead.

A good number of renters may be drawn to smart home technologies but there are also groups of renters that are repelled by it, citing security concerns. Many are suspicious of automation; we’ve all heard about how a hacker got access to someone’s digital devices and violated their personal privacy. While these events are rare, some potential renters would feel a lot safer if they avoided it altogether. They would prefer to look somewhere else for a place to rent.

Ultimately, the decision to include smart devices when upgrading their Central rental homes falls to the property owner. They need to be the one to examine and determine whether the cost of the upgrade is worth the value it brings. Such decisions need to involve good market data and detailed knowledge of a rental home’s area, both of which we at Real Property Management Baton Rouge can provide. With our experience and data tools, we can help you go through the data to figure out which, if any, smart devices would yield the best return for your rental homes. To know more about what Real Property Management Baton Rouge can do for you, please contact us online or give us a ring at 225-389-6860.

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