Technology

How to choose smart tech in your rental business: Part 2

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Takeaways:

  • Part one is knowing how to utilize these trends for your property — part two is deciding which trends to go for.
  • Micro technology could be a big selling point for renters in city surroundings.
  • Home security usually strikes a clearer chord with younger renters who have some parental guidance in their corner.

Advances in home tech are coming along in leaps and bounds. If you’ve made the decision to incorporate new home trends into your rental property, you could be onto a winner — but you need to pick the right products.

Part one is knowing how to utilize these trends for your property — part two is deciding which trends to go for. Which products will give you a solid return? Which products will be most attractive to your tenants? Have a look at some of our picks.

Smart heating and cooling

You can feel confident about profitability if you get your appliance upgrades right; snazzy upgrades are all good, but will they save the tenant money? As covered in part one, the Keen Home Smart Vents are an excellent example of intelligent home heating and cooling systems that can help save you money — and because Keen is currently advertising a price of $80 per smart vent.

The Ecovent temperature system goes one step further by allowing you to eliminate hot and cold spots in the home. By measuring the climate in specific zones of each room, the super-smart sensors allow varying amounts of conditioned air into each room, so you can achieve your ideal temperature without lifting a finger.

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This added functionality means you are looking at added costs, however; the Ecovent packages start at around $500.

Super-smart appliances

When it comes to go-to appliances, there are several exciting innovations this year. Whirlpool’s new “smart” washer and dryer combo can be programmed and set based on an individual’s schedule.

Tired of throwing a load of laundry in before you go to work and returning to find unsightly wrinkles from the clothes stewing for hours? With this new technology you can set the washer according to your schedule. And after the cycle a new wrinkle-release option will kick in. The Whirlpool washer and dryer combo starts at $3,400 for the pair.

The LG Smart ThinQ Washer allows you to monitor your laundry remotely and download new and improved cycles as soon as they are initiated. It’s also finance-focused and runs only when electricity rates are at their lowest.

That’s not the only new smart washer from LG, though, as they’ve also recently unveiled a washing machine that’s able to handle two different loads simultaneously. The smart washer combo starts at a comparable $3,200, though both of these LG products are considerably more costly than standard sets.

As well as a washer and dryer combo that knows your schedule, many companies are investing in the current “micro” trend. The new and impressive GE micro kitchen somehow packs a dishwasher, sink, refrigerator, pantry, microwave and oven into one concise piece.

The kicker is that this entire package can even fit into your bedroom. It’s currently still being prepped to enter the market, but as of now it should begin retailing at $15,000 for the complete kitchen. Micro technology like this could be a big selling point for renters in city surroundings: Imagine cooking an elaborate five-course meal in a cozy studio apartment.

Dinga / Shutterstock.com

Dinga / Shutterstock.com

Smart security systems

In Part 1 we read about the Protection 1 home automation system, but this is by no means the only smart innovative security system to hit the market. New and sophisticated brands such as Netatmo have produced a Wi-Fi security camera that uses facial recognition to identify your houseguests.

This new technology is currently shipping out at $199 for one camera, but as this technology isn’t expertly installed like many of the other products, it might not provide as much value.

Another new security technology that’s circulating this year is the Honeywell Lyric Home Security System, which enables renters to set up unique voice passwords and manage everything from alarms to lighting.

This system has yet to hit the market so the price points are to be determined. However, the function, usability and immediate payoff of these security systems will mean that your investment will have a good chance of being recognized from a renter’s perspective.

In addition, home security usually strikes a clearer chord with younger home renters who have some parental guidance in their corner.

“We often see that renters in cities, college towns and populated areas are living on their own for the first time,” mortgage banker Bill Elder said. “Security systems and the ability to control locks and lights via smartphones are a huge draw, especially if parents are helping out or have a hand in where to live.”

Admittedly, there are many home security innovations that seemingly occur every day, and navigating this crowded marketplace can prove difficult. It’s best to invest in home security brands that already have a proven track record and are adapting to the smart house boom, such as Protection 1 and Honeywell.

Investing in a brand-new company that promises robot security guards for your home is not going to pay off as well as a simple, yet sophisticated, security system from a trusted brand.

Be smart about it

These are all examples of taking basic, necessary products and injecting them with some marketable life, and as we’ve seen in security, too, a big trend with appliances is automation.

These days, consumers, customers and renters don’t want to have to think about the constant minutiae of their routine. So when products come along that solve problems and decrease stress, they are usually worth considering.

Trying to decide on property upgrades can be tough for all parties involved. Letting practicality emerge as your main thought process will bring you the most success.

Surface-level solutions like extravagant coffee makers or novelty security systems won’t appeal to a broad enough pool of interested renters. Follow your gut; if it seems superfluous or a bit of a novelty, it probably is. When it comes down to it, being smart about smart home upgrades is the way to go.

Read “How to choose smart tech in your rental business.”

Terri Engels is a Boston-based lifestyle writer who writes about the issues closest to her heart with a particular focus on real estate and home improvement. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Email Terri Engels.