When looking around your home or hotel room, what can you identify as a technology that was initially considered a luxury when it first hit the direct-to-consumer market? How many of those items have long been a minimum expectation at any rental property? Television? Landline telephone? A toilet and electric lighting, if you go back far enough. Technology is still advancing, and expectations about what is luxury versus standard are ever-evolving.
Any owner or manager with an eye on the future anticipates the ways technology will help their rental property stand out. That futurist approach helps landlords and managers identify tech that is currently a luxury but quickly becoming a minimum standard.
Yesterday’s Luxury Is Today’s Standard Amenity
At least one television (with a remote control), free and fast wireless internet, and some form of climate control used to be something would-be renters needed to ask about before booking their vacation. Even though these still aren’t available absolutely everywhere, they are no longer considered luxury items. They are minimum amenities indicative of a vacation rental property that can be considered a reasonably safe and somewhat legitimate business.
When looking for a new home to rent, standards may have centered on a doorbell, remote garage opener, fast hot water heater, newer appliances, and central heating and air conditioning. Now, you need to have fast and safe internet access, a quality cellular signal, and more.
What Are the Minimal Smart Home Automation Standards for Today’s Rental?
What are people looking for in a rental property now? The answer is safety, connectivity, cleanliness, accessibility, and control over efficiency and sustainability.
Crime rates matter, but renters with minimum security expectations not only want to get from their car to the front door safely but want to be able to receive packages. Being able to leave valuables on the doorstep is a priority, not a luxury. Security systems, smart doorbells, and cameras, along with floodlights and motion sensors, are all part of a growing list of minimum requirements.
It’s not enough to have internet access. Renters want to know that there are built-in safeguards for their digital security and protection. For those rental homes that require renters to set up their utilities and internet access, renters still expect transparency. The property manager needs to be clear about whether the utility company provides access to faster internet connections. They also need to know what the cellular coverage is like for the top cellular providers.
Since the pandemic has created an awareness of essential public health standards, the new normal means managers need to think about how their rental property keeps their renters safe. Paying attention to layout, breezeways, and handling social distancing rules and sanitation in common areas is vital.
Fewer renters care about whether a property manager is on-site. Managers need to be able to communicate and resolve renter concerns and tasks online quickly. However, this isn’t a task for email threads and phone calls. Increasingly, the expectation is an all-in-one app that allows renters to add work orders, pay rent, sign a new lease, receive communications about their property, chat with a knowledgeable representative, if not the owner or manager.
Control Over Efficiency And Sustainability
Turning off the lights when you leave the room just isn’t enough anymore. Renters expect to be able to control everything with one convenient app. The standard smart home is ensuring smart lights and climate controls are at the renter’s fingertips. Not only does it help them maintain custom controls over their comfort and the bottom line, but these options allow for a level of environmental sustainability that rental homes without these options, inexcusably irresponsible.
The Future of Rental Property Standard Amenities
Newer buildings are being built with many of these minimum tech standards in mind. It will become increasingly difficult and expensive for older rental properties to keep up. The best way to stay ahead of the game is to offer added proptech features. Many options may seem like luxuries right now. It is a sound strategy for those who want to earn a competitive lead. Plus, a recent rental report indicated that more than 75% of renters are willing to pay a higher rent for smart home automation.
Looking ahead, some of these advancements may include the addition of mobile tracking of appliances output and efficiency. An integrated sound system throughout the house or apartment that can be paired with any Bluetooth device will grow with the increasing desire to find normalcy in safe gatherings and a premium on in-home entertainment.
Given the hypersensitivity to cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation, it’s not beyond imagination that related features will quickly go from luxury to necessity. Consider UV sanitation in the form of a built-in UV box for renters to throw their keys and phone into when returning home each day.
Even though dining out isn’t going away, imagine adding a built-in cabinet or closet designed exclusively for indoor vegetable and herb gardening. These options feel like luxuries, but you may find they quickly become a baseline offering of food security given the scarcity experienced during the pandemic and the inevitable likelihood that the next pandemic is around the corner.
Smart home automation isn’t just a luxury or a gimmicky way to attract renters. It’s a standard in renter expectations and a growing necessity as the world navigates a new normal with COVID, and future generations brought up as genuine digital natives.