January 28, 2020
Multifamily: The Lure of Smart Apartments
It used to be that smart home technologies were found primarily in single family homes. Not anymore! From multifamily buildings to student housing, smart home technology is making major in-roads, driven not only by customer demand, but also by tech’s ability to help cut operating costs.
Smart homes and multifamily apartments are so popular that even Amazon is getting in on the action, teaming up with builders and developers across the US to offer move-in ready smart residences equipped with the latest smart home products.
Renter + Investor Demand
There’s no doubt that smart technology is appealing, especially to millennial renters. A recent survey showed that of millennial renters who live in multifamily dwellings, 86% are willing to pay more for a “smart” apartment, meaning one that is equipped with automated or remotely controlled devices. And, 44% of them would even give up a coveted parking spot to live in a high-tech apartment!
Investors are wagering that smart home technology will become standard equipment in multifamily and student apartments. The ability to access to cooling and heating systems remotely and or be automatically alerted to water leaks can significantly reduce operating costs, including cutting costly insurance premiums to cover water damage, saving thousands and thousands of dollars. From better utility management to happier tenants, investing in smarter living can pay off.
However, multifamily and student housing have unique needs. Managing hundreds of disparate smart locks, thermostats, lights and other devices is, frankly, a nightmare. That’s why there has been a proliferation of companies like SmartRent, Dwelo and StratIS, which integrate solutions into a single dashboard.
The smart technology that is most desired by tenants and owners alike include: keyless entry/ access control systems, smart thermostats and lighting controls, and water detection.
Smart Technology Benefits
Multifamily apartment buildings chew up a lot of energy from heating, cooling and lighting. Opting for smart technology that helps reduce the building’s carbon footprint, and also lessens the costs that come with tenant energy usage is often a key factor when choosing a solution.
Smart thermostats can help your tenants reduce their energy usage. Your residents can control temperatures in their unit from the convenience of their phone, an online app or even voice commands. Tenants can intelligently pre-heat or cool their unit at times when electricity prices are the lowest. On the property management side, you can easily control the temperature of vacant units and common areas, decreasing energy bills.
In the case of connected utility sub-metering, property managers can analyze tenant energy usage data for unit-to-unit based reporting for more transparency. There are also new HVAC technologies that deliver real-time insights and data to cut costs by enabling better-informed management decisions. Sensors keep track of energy activity, heating and cooling where needed, and in the process, decreasing the building’s energy consumption.
One of the biggest risks to a multi-unit dwelling is from water damage. It’s not unrealistic to water damage to lead to cost upward of a million dollars to restore the property to its previous state as well as compensate displaced residents.
When it comes to connected water sub-metering, multifamily units benefit from automatic and remote water shutoff capabilities, enabling residents and property management to turn the water off in the event of a leak or overflow, vastly minimizing any water damage.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of smart technology is the data that can be harnessed and used to reduce costs and improve operations. Real-time insights on energy/water consumption can help managers pinpoint issues, address maintenance problems and plan preventative maintenance actions to further reduce waste and optimize operations.
Keeping your tenants happy is key to encouraging lease renewals and lowering tenant turnover. When tenants can easily unlock their door to let in their teen who forgot their keys, or set the thermostat to be adjust to their schedule, you can reduce temperature-related complaints and keep residents happy with the convenience of the smart apartment.
As part of smart technology, Property Vista helps you automate so many everyday tasks and enables online rent payments – another tenant pleaser. Be sure to check out pricing and schedule a demo.