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Is Upgrading to Smart Devices in Your Alexandria 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. As a consequence, there are specific expectations that the renters today have, and one of these expectations is the kinds of smart technology they want to see in single-family residences.

Several tenants would want their landlord to provide certain smart devices, from high-speed internet to smart thermostats to security systems. But is upgrading your Alexandria rental homes really worth it? Will it attract the types of renters that would make the effort worthwhile? The answer depends on a set of factors, from your rental property location to the expected 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 are what some potential renters are looking for. For example, 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 are especially good for particular places, especially where a perception of crime is a problem. Installing these smart devices may be what convinces people to rent the home because it bolsters a sense of security. Smart locks can make gaining access to your rental homes easy, as well as making the transition for new tenants more secure. 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 location with a large number of renters working or schooling, it would be in your best interest to upgrade. Smart devices usually have a stronger appeal in these places, and you can reasonably increase how much you charge for rent to compensate for the upfront costs.

Potential Drawbacks

Just like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages. Smart devices offer you so many good things, but at the same time, they also bring with them potential drawbacks. Perhaps the biggest downside that property owners encounter when thinking about a smart device upgrade is the cost. Most of the smart home technology devices are reasonably priced. Although they may not be expensive, there is enough incremental cost added to your rental home that it should be considered carefully before making a decision. 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 consistency and speed of the Wi-Fi in your area, and administrative access, which they will need to manage. 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 areas where geography or distance cause connectivity issues, smart devices might not be a good choice. They wouldn’t work the way they’re advertised and would just be an expensive waste.

While a number of renters are drawn to smart home technologies, there is also a number of renters that are repelled by it— these people are usually concerned with their security. Many are suspicious of automation; we’ve all heard stories where digital devices are hacked and our personal privacy is violated. 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 Alexandria 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. These types of decisions need to involve good market data and detailed knowledge of a rental home’s area, both of which we at Real Property Management Optimum can provide. With our experience and data tools, we can help you find out which, if any, smart devices would be best suited for your rental home business. To know more about what Real Property Management Optimum can do for you, please contact us online or give us a ring at 612-730-8293.