Covid-19 changed everything, including how we live, how we work and even how we go to school. For many professional industries, new tools and technology had to be adopted into workflows to continue providing quality customer service despite the many disruptions they faced.
In property management, in particular, technology that had been around for some time became more prevalent and even an essential part of how businesses function. This shift also led to entirely new innovations, in addition to just adopting technology that had been around for a while. Many companies prioritized developing brand new features and tools that would allow their customers to preserve their business operations.
While many introduced these new technologies as a strategy to mitigate disruption, I’m finding that property management teams have found lasting value in the increased efficiency they provide. Renters appear to have also grown accustomed to the on-demand service that technology makes possible. Today, it’s clear that these technologies are far more than just a pandemic stopgap; they have permanently changed the property management industry. In this article, I’d like to focus on one category of technology in particular: smart home tech.
Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology has helped to reshape the industry for residents as well as property managers. I’m observing that what was once a luxury amenity and more of a “nice-to-have” option, consumer-focused smart home gadgets (like smart TVs, doorbells, lighting and speakers) are now growing in popularity among many apartment residents and home buyers. Installing these features in units that are available can make them more attractive to prospective residents.
In addition to the smart home tech features that interest renters, property managers have also come to see the benefits of smart home technology in their business. For example, in the past, property managers and leasing agents would need to spend time making sure keys were in lockboxes and that they had access to those boxes, a process that could eat up several hours each week. My company partners with a digital lockbox provider, and through this, I’ve seen that with access control technology, you can access a property without a physical key and without the responsibility of making sure a key is returned to the lockbox when done.
Smart sensors are also becoming more popular in the property management industry. They can alert property managers to a leaky pipe or a busted window—all without the resident having to get themselves involved. These are particularly helpful in common areas that might not be in constant use or where a resident may not feel responsible for making a maintenance request.
Another way that smart home technology optimizes workflows for property managers is smart thermostat management. Heating and air conditioning account for quite a large portion of a household’s energy consumption, which makes the ability to optimize that output an attractive offering for both property managers and residents. In order to reduce energy output, property managers can set common areas or vacant units to energy-efficient schedules that observe peak and lull times, therefore, allowing the temperature to remain fully regulated while cutting down on energy costs.
Leveraging Smart Home Tech Effectively
While it might seem second-nature for some, there are some property managers who might not be well-versed in the technology offerings today. For those certain property managers, it’s important to put plenty of time and careful research into the tools you’re preparing to adopt. Another excellent way to get the advantages of smart home technology without the hassle of installing it yourself is to outsource that labor. There are many different services that offer a way to get jobs done without the hassle of handling it all yourself.
For those property managers looking to stay within a tight budget, smaller changes can also still bring about a wealth of benefits for both. For example, adding smart TVs or doorbells can make a property more appealing to renters, therefore making the property manager’s job easier. After all, it would be a more desirable rental unit, rather than one that might hang around for a while, and it could attract a resident willing to pay a little more. In terms of a smart doorbell, the enhanced security is not only providing a sense of safety for the renter but also makes monitoring empty units easy and serves as an extra layer of security for the entire rental community.
Technology will never stop evolving. In order to stay on top of the industry and ahead of any new developments, property management professionals should always be looking to see what kinds of new technology they can adopt to make their business processes easier and bring the best service to their prospective and current residents.