As technology grows at exponential speeds and now that all of us carry a computer in the palm of our hands more powerful than the first computer used to power a rocket, it is vital to keep up to date on what buyers and renters are looking for in smart home technology.

Since smart home technology is still relatively new, measuring return on investment (ROI) can be difficult. However, strategically installing certain types of smart home technology may add value in one or a combination of ways. For example, smart locks could attract young, professional tenants who may pay higher rents on properties with this amenity because that is how they work, communicate and essentially live.

1| Smart Hubs

Want to offer your clients a clean automation home system where they can control their lights, appliances, thermostats, music systems, and any other smart device in the palm of their hands? You will need a smart hub. Hubs offer users a plethora of ways to custom create their dream smart home controlled by an app on a smart device. Offering a smart hub could lead to quicker rentals and sales. offers a list of the seven best smart hubs. For those tech savvy homebuyers and renters, this is an attractive addition that could help drive up ROI and rents, especially if comp properties do not offer this option.

2 | Home Security

There are so many smart security systems on the market, it is imperative to do some research before installing one in your own investment property. You may wish to invest in a system that distinguishes between “friendly” movement in the home, such as that of pets or children, or maybe you’d prefer one that is easy to install and uninstall based on resident preference. Some investors prefer the more traditional systems that still come with phone support and live monitoring.

Here are some options:

Outdoor Facial-Recognition Security Camera Robots: Security cameras are not uncommon in rentals. Even derelict properties may have cameras. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) gives you choices from basic models to intelligent camera robots that include facial recognition, analytics, and secure cloud storage.

Video Doorbells: You, your friend, or your neighbor have likely had a package delivered then experienced theft of said package. Your tenants will be assured security from a distance or from the bedroom with a video doorbell. Features can include:

  • 2-Way Audio
  • Infrared Night Vision
  • Live View
  • Instant-On Motion Detection
  • Free Cloud Storage
  • Wire free
  • Weather Proof
  • Video Alerts
  • 2 Year Battery Life
  • Easy Setup
  • HD Video
  • Mobile App


At the office or somewhere in the home, the resident can instantly see who is at their door. Delivery? No problem. They can remotely unlock the door for the delivery driver to place the package inside the door.

Secure Home Automation Security: Home security is imperative and with today’s technology there is a wide range of home security options. From wireless cameras to an actual motion detector alarm system, with some even under $500. You can offer your tenants a secure and functional, safe home. Some of the key points for these security systems are:

  • Motion Detector
  • Limited Warranty
  • App Compatibility
  • Bluetooth Compatibility
  • Key Pad
  • Range Extender
  • Voice Controlled
  • Wi-Fi Compatibility
  • Works with Amazon Alexa
  • Works with Android Devices
  • Works with Google Home
  • Works with iOS


Floodlight Camera with Video

You use floodlights with motion detectors to illuminate nighttime dark areas: garage, back of the house, perhaps even the front of the house. discusses the options available for these higher tech versions of the traditional floodlight. Some of the options available for these devices are:

  • Perfectly record at night with bright LED floodlights
  • Motion-activated
  • 110-decibel alarm, some models offer an audible alarm, a nice option to scare off potential intruders
  • Infrared recording options for incognito recording
  • Wide-angle options some up to 140 degrees
  • Weather proof


For around $250, depending upon model and brand, you can add this extra security measure to help attract renters and as a selling point for your flips. This would also come in handy for an extra security measure on vacant properties.

3| Heating/Cooling

A smart climate control system will save a landlord big bucks on monthly utility costs when properties are vacant, adds a specific selling point for fix-and-flips, and is an attractive marketing point for renters. Here are a few options for making the heating and cooling systems in your home a little bit smarter.

 Smart Vents: In every property there seems to be an odd balance of heating/cooling in rooms that receive either more or less air flow through the vents. With this smart vent option, you can use an app or remote system to adjust which rooms are getting what amount of air flow. You can even set up a time schedule of when you want more or less air in the rooms, think baby’s room. Quite functional and useful for any property.

Here are just a few advantages to offering smart vents:

  • Room-by-room control
  • Integration with Nest, SmartThings, Ecobee, and Lowe’s Iris
  • Manual airflow level control
  • Two+ year battery life


You will need at least one “smart bridge” to get started. This is to ensure your signal reaches all the vents in the home. Costs start around $100 and go up from there. College entrepreneurs who developed one of the smart vents stated, “…in tests, households have recouped their costs through energy savings over a two-year period, saving more than 10 percent of their energy bills after installing the vents. They’re around $80 a piece, and the test houses had between four and six installed each.”

4| Appliances & Lighting

As our society morphs into the Jetsons, it makes you wonder what is going to be next in the home appliance market. Here are a few smart upgrades to attract Millennial buyers and renters.

Smart Refrigerators: These appliances have it all, from memo taking on your fridge to playing music, to who is at your front door, with home-thermostat control and even seeing what is in your fridge while at the grocery store. You can even update your lists in real time while the other person is shopping. This is a higher priced purchase, however, with the direction of the IoT and the demand from Millennials for interconnectedness of tech items, it might get you a higher rental rate or even a slightly higher return on investment.

Energy Storage Space Heaters: You and your renters could mutually benefit from this space heater. No more worrying about the furnace going out in winter with a plug-and-play space heater. A battery storage and smart device combo, the heater charges the battery during off peak electric use hours and discharges the stored electric during demand. With the many sensors, and being connected to cloud and smart meters, it learns from your habits and optimizes its power without reducing comfort. It is controlled either from the product itself or via an app. With savings up to 30 percent on initial electric heating costs, your tenants will appreciate this reduction in their bill. Keep a spare or two just in case the heat goes out in your rentals.

Lighting: This is an inexpensive way to start creating a smart property. Lighting systems come in a range of options and are worthy of being dubbed plug-and-play. Basic lightbulb options can be easily found at your nearest home improvement store.

If you are looking to integrate your lighting to the other web of smart tech that is controllable by a smart device, then consider a remote-control plug-in on/off switch. Wired and non-wired options are available in wall switches, traditional turn-knob lamps, wall outlets and multi-device control with wall keypads. Some with non-wired installation options are placed between the wall outlet and a lamp. Models start around $50

When it comes to lighting, there are plenty of options that will suit your needs and the needs of your clients while bolstering energy savings and attractive technology.

Investor Insight: Do not forget when you are writing your property listings to include any of the smart home technology you have installed. If you use a realtor, make sure they are aware of all the features and how they work and integrate into the smart home. What a great way to attract new and potential clients to your properties.

Tags | ROI
  • Heather Elwing

    Heather A. Elwing has a bachelor degree in public relations and journalism minoring is global sustainability. She is a licensed Realtor in Missouri working on her GREEN designation. She has passion for education within the real estate investing space, sustainable building and living.

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