Not Just for Residents: Smart Home Makes Life Easier for Operators, Too

by CJ Edmonds

Recently apartment operators have begun to embrace smart home solutions – and for obvious reasons.

The consumer world is driving multifamily more than ever before. Today’s residents have grown up with technology at the core of their existence, use it in every aspect of their lives and now expect a truly modern living experience – and that’s what smart home systems provide.

But installing smart homes is about more than simply giving residents what they want or expect. It’s about offering solutions that also provide significant benefits for apartment owners and operators as well. We have outlined what we believe are four of those important benefits:

  1. Ancillary revenue boost. Owners and operators will definitely appreciate the extra revenue that smart thermostats and smart lighting technologies can bring in. To cite just one example, DEELS Properties, which owns and operates about 1,000 apartment homes in the Los Angeles metro area, reports that its smart home package has allowed it to boost rents by about $50.

    In a 2020 survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates, apartment residents say they expect to pay a monthly premium of $33 for smart locks, $30 for smart thermostats and $29 for smart lighting.

  2. Asset protection. Water leak detection devices commonly found in smart home packages can help apartment owners and operators avoid disaster.

    These sensors notify staff and residents at the first sign of a leak, allowing action to be taken before a major problem develops. According to one estimate, if a major leak is fixed before it affects the floors below, operators could save $50,000 per year for every 250 units.

    When you combine this technology with operational and maintenance technologies that can quickly deploy the right maintenance technician with the right materials to remedy the problem, operators can further mitigate risk and build asset valuation.

  3. Utility savings in vacant units. Vacant apartment homes can rack up significant electricity bills.

    Whether it is a maintenance person who forgot to turn down the thermostat after completing a repair in the unit, or a prospect on a self-guided tour who didn’t turn off the lights, lack of visibility into real-time utility usage in a vacant unit can be costly.

    Fortunately, operators can drive these costs down by setting smart thermostats in units to vacant mode. According to a white paper by D2 Demand Solutions and SmartRent, smart thermostats can reduce the total utility expenses associated with vacant units in large, nationwide portfolios by $1 million or more annually.

    This visibility can likewise be leveraged in common areas spaces, especially as COVID-19 protocols continue to call for social distancing, further creating a true smart community.

  4. Efficiencies for onsite staff. Smart home technology makes the day-to-day lives of onsite associates easier. For example, access control combined with integrated community mapping allows package carriers to come and go without associates having to interrupt their workflow to let the deliverers in.

    Access control throughout the community allows leasing agents and maintenance techs to enter vacant units without having to go back to the leasing office to get a key. In addition, access control is really the driving force behind self-guided tours, which can really give leasing associates big chunks of their day back to concentrate on their many other tasks.

    Overall, smart home and access control solutions create a wave of efficiencies that frees up onsite associates. In fact, with so many onsite tasks handled by these technologies, an operator is more empowered to send an associate to help out at another one of its communities if the need arises. 

Moving forward, smart home technology will be an important component of apartment operations – not just because of its impact on residents, but also because of the many ways it makes life better for operators. 

For more about how smart home can benefit apartment operators, download this white paper by D2 Demand Solutions and SmartRent.

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