Smart Apartment Technology | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind
Investing Strategies

Smart Apartment Technology

Smart Apartment Technology

Get smart and improve operational inefficiencies, and more.

According to a recent KPMG survey, 97 percent of real estate industry professionals think that digital and technological innovation will impact their business, and 93 percent agree that traditional real estate organizations need to engage with PropTech companies to adapt to the changing global environment. 

According to Entrata Research, nearly 60 percent of renters prefer to live in a connected community and are actually willing to pay more to have smart-home tech amenities. We live in a time where renters would prefer to sign a lease on a community that offers smart locks over having a pool. Are you offering smart apartment and connected community technology to your residents? If not, you could be losing out on rental retention for those looking to live in smart buildings.  

Outside of the resident benefits of smart-home tech, considerations for implementing a smart community solution in properties should be the desire to become more efficient, save money, and detect maintenance issues before they become catastrophic. With 73 percent of companies seeing digital and technological innovation as an opportunity, many in the multifamily industry are turning to IoT (Internet of Things) technology for their answer. Predictive maintenance, automatic work order creation, keyless entry, and access management are just some of the reasons property owners and managers are making the decision to add smart home technology.

Self-Guided Tours

According to NMHC, over 50 percent of renters are under the age of 30, and over 55 percent of people ages 18-34 already use smart-home technology. As digital natives, the concept of a self-guided tour is not foreign to them. An especially powerful strategy, and one that is not commonly utilized, is to leverage smart devices to allow for self-guided tours.  

Online research is the first step people take when preparing to make a purchase. Take the concept of Carvana. The idea that anyone would be comfortable buying a major purchase like a car completely online sounds insane, but here they are with 16 auto vending machines nationwide and showing a 99 percent increase in cars sold from a year ago. Now, apply this logic to purchasing a house and you end up with newly launched SparkOffer, which is an “entirely web-based home buying and selling experience that requires no verbal communication between buyers and sellers.”

If people are considering purchasing a house or car online, odds are they are doing the same for rental homes. Prospects just need confirmation that what they saw online is not a farce. According to Zogby Analytics, 30 percent of prospective renters visited a leasing office during normal working hours and found it was closed. When attempting to schedule an appointment, 40 percent of renters could not find a time to tour a community when a leasing agent was available, and therefore passed on the apartment. Offering renters the ability to schedule a tour online and then complete their application after the tour within the same mobile occurrence is a seamless experience that will result in higher conversions.    

Improve Operational Inefficiencies

From a property management standpoint, utility cost savings after smart-home tech installations for vacant and common areas are between 20-30 percent from smart thermostats. Access control and preventive alert systems help property managers and owners develop better building management practices that maximize operational efficiency. So, what features should you consider when looking to implement a smart-home technology platform?

#1. Preventative Maintenance

Knowing when a leak has occurred within minutes of it starting will save you and your resident from costly damages. A predictive maintenance system will also provide knowledge of devices that may have low battery status and send alerts for when a unit’s temperature or humidity level may be outside of ideal ranges.

#2. Access Control

Upgrading physical keys to smart locks will save time and money. Resident lockouts are essentially eliminated, and a digital move in/out system will streamline the “re-keying” of each unit. Not to mention work order access with smart locks will save time if staff can view a digital access code instead of using a physical key. 

#3. Access Security

In addition to access control, upgrading to a system that includes front house and community area access security monitoring will be valuable to residents and staff alike. Maintaining access on one centralized platform will alleviate major security vulnerabilities property-wide. 

#4. Automated Work Order System

Implementing a digital maintenance work order system can improve operational efficiencies and allow staff to knowingly prioritize requests as they come in. Immediate action can be taken and reporting analytics provide insights into daily tasks.

#5. Analytics and Reporting

Making a decision without data to back it up is nearly impossible. Smart devices and software implementation will help owners and managers make informed decisions about the health and status of their property. 

#6. Property Management Software Integration

Implementing a smart-home system is only as good as its integrations. Finding a system that integrates with your PMS means using just one platform to move residents in/out and will automate the turn process.

As technology and IoT device usage becomes more prevalent, take note of proper implementation of those devices and the system in which they are controlled on. Offering residents what they want while improving operational inefficiencies seems like a no brainer for making the switch. Don’t be left in the past when the majority of the industry is moving forward with smart-home technology.