(650) 347-2020     DRE# 02238872

Smart Home Tech for San Mateo Properties: A Worthwhile Investment? - Article Banner

Is it worth investing in smart home technology for your San Mateo rental properties

Based on our experience as San Mateo property managers, we say yes, it is. 

That’s because smart home devices are gaining popularity in residential homes across the country, whether those homes are owner-occupied or tenant rentals. Tenants are finding this type of technology to be an attractive feature in a rental home. 

But, it requires an investment. And, while most tenants are attracted to smart home tech, some tenants are still uncertain about it, and find it invasive and even a bit creepy. From video doorbells to automated lighting to home security systems, you may be struggling to understand which products might be worth installing in a rental property. There’s the idea that these things will improve security and even save time and money, but there are also costs involved and also privacy concerns. 

If you’re thinking about installing smart home devices and similar systems in your own rental property, we have some considerations to share with you.  

Let’s discuss why it’s a worthwhile investment, but what you should be mindful of when dealing with smart home technology in rental homes. 

Types of Smart Home Technology 

Smart home technology has been around for a while, but only recently has it become more accessible and far-reaching. If you’re not sure what exactly makes a device or a feature “Smart,” we can tell you that it’s an acronym: Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology.

There’s a lot of dramatic tech out there, but you aren’t going to completely reset your rental home with all of it. So, let’s focus on some of the most common smart home devices found in rental properties. They tend to be things like: 

  • Smart locks and digital keypads

Smart locks and digital keypads will allow you to grant access to tenants remotely or with a code. You can change the code between tenants or when you have a vendor showing up to complete some work at the property. There’s no need to worry about lost keys or rekeying the property between tenants. These also come in handy when you’re leasing your home because you can arrange for remote self-showings that don’t require your presence. Tenants appreciate the ease and convenience, and they don’t have to worry about losing their keys.

  • Video doorbells

You probably recognize video doorbells because they’re found on a lot of homes these days. They tend to sit on the front door, recording the people who approach. Tenants appreciate this technology because it means they will be able to see who is at the door and decide whether or not to answer the door when there’s a knock or the doorbell rings. Exterior cameras like those on a doorbell can also help keep a home secure when it’s vacant. Packages can be more easily tracked when they’re dropped off. These are not as expensive as they once were, and fairly easy to install.

  • Smart lighting

There are several good reasons to install smart lighting. Your tenants can set the lights in the property to timers or control them on their smartphones. Exterior lights can also be motion activated. This is good for security, and the interior lights will help tenants keep electricity costs down. It’s convenient for tenants to be able to turn on the lights as they’re approaching their home, and they’ll definitely appreciate the energy-efficiency of this smart home technology.

  • Security systems

Safety has always been important, and it’s on the minds of today’s tenants in San Mateo. A lot of the available security systems are expensive to install and they often require long term contracts. You may want to offer the system but require the tenants to pay the monthly charge or activation fees. This gives them the choice to use the smart home tech that you’re offering, or not to. 

Don’t forget the ease of all the voice-activated assistants that are available today. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are features that many tenants are already using. When Google can be voice-activated, it’s easy to add something to a grocery list or play a favorite song. Ensuring that your smart home tech can integrate with voice-activated assistants can help streamline and centralize all the other technology that may be available. 

Deciding Whether Smart Home Tech is Right for Your Investment Property

Smart technology will increase your rental value and the value of your investment. You’ll also attract some great tenants by providing features they’re looking for in a home. Additional benefits include:

  • Better security – when your home is occupied and vacant. 
  • Easier turnovers – particularly with smart locks.
  • Energy costs may be lower – which is great if you pay for utilities and a good selling point if tenants pay.

However, there are some unique challenges as well to rental homes that adopt this sort of technology. Here are some of the negatives you may want to consider:

  • There’s a significant upfront cost. You’ll likely have to invest hundreds of dollars to install these systems. Even more, depending on how far you’re willing to go with providing this sort of amenity.
  • Wi-Fi will need to be enabled. This is how the smart systems work.
  • Privacy concerns may be an issue. Renters might actually not want these things installed in their home, for fear you’ll be watching or listening.

Smart home technology needs to be a balancing act. 

Customizing Smart Home Technology for San Mateo Tenants 

Tenants in San Mateo are well-qualified, and they have some high standards. When you really want your rental property to stand out on the market, you need to provide a complete rental experience that’s customized to the tenants who are moving in. This is one way to do that, because smart home technology enhances tenant experience by providing greater customization of household systems. 

Here’s why smart home tech attracts tenants who are looking for a personalized rental experience: 

  • Tenants can adjust lighting to match their preferences. In the past, tenants were stuck with whatever unappealing and inefficient lights were hanging in the homes that they rented. With smart home technology, the lighting is more modern and a lot more efficient. It can be customized to be brighter, dimmer, or simply in the background.
  • Tenants can play music in different rooms. Entertainment is one of the best ways to embrace and enjoy smart home tech. When you provide the foundation, tenants can set up their own favorite systems and enjoy music, movies, and other forms of entertainment indoors and outdoors.
  • Water temperature can be adjusted in the shower according to how hot they like their shower. This is one of the perks to smart appliances and tankless water heaters. 

Providing tenants with the option to customize their living space makes them feel more at home and encourages them to stay in place longer. You’ll have an easier time attracting and retaining tenants when they know they’re not moving into some impersonal space that does not reflect their own preferences and aesthetics. 

Moreover, providing customization can help property owners differentiate their rental properties from the rest of the rental market, providing a competitive edge. You can charge more in rent when you allow tenants to have some input into how their home looks and functions. 

Smart Home Technology Can be Cost-Effective for Property Owners

Implementing smart home technology can be a cost-effective investment for rental property owners in San Mateo because although the technology itself requires an investment, it’s actually cost-effective to install and maintain. You’ll increase your rental value, and you’ll also increase the value of your property. Additionally, you’ll have an easier time attracting and placing tenants. Retention will be much easier because tenants won’t be in a hurry to leave when they have everything they need where they live. The enhanced security and energy efficiency features of smart home technology can help to reduce maintenance and utility costs, making rental properties more profitable in the long run.

As with just about everything, the return on investment is more worthy of your focus than the money you’ll spend initially. 

Smart home technology can enhance tenant experience in San Mateo rental homes through the automation and integration of home systems, advanced security features, mobile control and remote access, greater customization, and cost-effectiveness. 

As a real estate investor, you want to offer the San Mateo rental market a property that meets the needs of tenants and provides them with a comfortable living environment. Smart home technology is an iinnovative solution to improve tenant experience, attract and retain better residents, and increase the value of rental properties. 

Make RecommendationsWe do think it’s worthwhile, and we’d be happy to have a more in-depth discussion about why that is. We’d also be happy to take a look at your particular property and make some recommendations on what sort of smart home tech would be the best fit. Contact us at Sharevest Property Management. We’re here to serve as your San Francisco property management resource, and we can answer any questions you may have.