Technology has always been the lifeline of the property management (PM) industry. It has always accelerated the capabilities of property management firms in improving efficiency, driving lasting value, increasing resident satisfaction, and boosting revenue growth. Technology has vested the property management (PM) sector in coming up with new tools, devices, and features to cater to the requirements of the residents and increase their satisfaction with the community. This technology adoption has surged exponentially during Covid-19 to maintain social distancing.
Smart home technologies have also enabled property management firms in overcoming market disruptions and in data collection to ensure they always remain the top choice of developers when they are looking for a management firm to manage their community.
What is Smart Home Technology?
Smart home technology facilitates in setting up of a convenient home where residents can automate and control all the appliances and devices remotely from any part of the world using their mobile and an internet connection. All the devices in a smart home are interconnected which facilitates users in granting security access, controlling the home temperature & lighting, and monitoring CCTVs / cameras.
Smart home technology has gained a lot of traction among tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z who need instant gratification. Real estate and property management head honchos are embracing cutting-edge and unconventional smart home technology to cater to their demands and are upgrading their conventional methods with digitized ones to accumulate results-driven data in real-time. Smart home technology is proving instrumental for the real estate sector in enhancing the customer experience besides fortifying client relationships.
Why is there Rising Popularity of Smart home tech. in the Real estate & PM Sector?
Smart home technology has completely reshaped real estate and left a profound impact on the residents and the community. There has been a huge proliferation in the number of property managers & community managers embracing smart home gadgets (like Smart TVs, smart lights, speakers, LED screens, and doorbells to name a few) to make their community more attractive to buyers. Adding threat prevention devices, such as keyless locks, video doorbells, or motion sensors, also minimizes insurance premiums by 10-20%. Smart home technology has empowered businesses and households in overcoming the traditional model of lock and keys and accessing their property from the touch of a screen on their mobile.
1. Preventive Measures for Potential Damages
In the last decade, there has been a colossal increase in the popularity of smart sensors in the property management (PM) industry. Asset protection is the major reason why property managers are deploying smart home devices in the community. Smart sensors alert property managers in case of any leaky pipe or broken window which can cause major damage to the residents as well as the building. Smart sensors are a must for common areas as residents may not report damage outside their property. On average, a building experiences at least 4-5 water leakages annually costing between AED 20,000 – AED 80,000. Property managers can save a vast amount of money from this expenditure by staying proactive and installing smart sensors to detect any potential water leakage in advance and prevent it.
Smart home technology allows property managers and owners to conserve energy using smart thermostat management. The research paper titled – Investigation and Analyses of Energy-Efficient Technologies for HVAC and Lighting Systems via Energy Auditing Processes published by IEEE reveals that Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting account for most of the energy consumption in the UAE. The average temperature recorded over a year is almost 35°C. Therefore, 70% of the total electricity consumed by the country is due to the air-conditioning system. Lighting systems consume between 22% and 30% of a building’s energy. Using Smart thermostat management, property managers can set common areas or vacant units to energy-efficient schedules that observe peak and lull times to regulate the temperature and minimize the overall energy output of the community.
3. Organizing Virtual Tours
Smart home technology has enabled tenants and investors in overcoming the challenge of physically visiting the property through virtual property tours. This concept has proved to be a boon for the property management firm during Covid-19 in maintaining social distancing and preventing their employees and potential investors and tenants from contracting the pandemic.
Self-touring technology is an integrated software-hardware solution that allows property managers in scheduling virtual tours for the tenants at their preferred timings and outside the regular working hours. Even tenants can schedule self-tours directly from the listing sites and receive links on their mobile phones with step-by-step instructions on how to view a property or a community. Post-completion of the tour, prospects can provide feedback or submit an application to the property manager. Self-touring technology benefits the tenants by offering an easy viewing experience and streamlines the complex application process. Furthermore, 360 immersive technologies and virtual tour photography are allowing property management firms in using 360 photos to create a seamless digital tour of a reallocation for potential buyers and in driving the users’ engagement and interaction.
Self-guided property tours have assisted property management firms in finding out more potential property buyers and tenants. Self-touring options list a vast range of exclusive properties which attract potential buyers resulting in lower vacancy rates, higher occupancy, and a faster leasing cycle. Furthermore, self-guided tours increase the possibilities of lease conversion by several folds.
4. Making the Property Attractive for the Buyers
Smart technology features increase the attractiveness of the property and make it more appealing to buyers and tenants. This has a profound impact on its occupancy rate. For instance – smart features like installing smart TV, or lights, smart doorbells, CCTVs, etc. makes it much easier for the sales team to sell or rent the property. It also empowers property managers in meeting their goals like – resident security & safety, energy efficiency, increasing occupancy, ensuring higher resident satisfaction, and minimizing tenant turnover. Smart bell features add an additional layer of security to the property and make it easier for the property managers to monitor the empty units with ease and design the strategy to boost the occupancy rate.
Smart home technology is ever-evolving and has impacted every aspect of the property management and real estate sector. In the coming years, there will be a surge in the number of property management firms embracing smart home technologies to create unparalleled and incredible experiences for residents.
Smart home technology is also playing a pivotal role in minimizing the overall utility cost of the community and damage risks. Smart thermostats can lower annual utility costs by up to 23%. This results in lower operational costs for the community with benefits being transferred to the residents in the form of lower rents and service charges. Property management firms and landlords are also getting equally benefited as lower rents & service charges lead to higher occupancy rates which mean more revenues for them. On the other hand, landlords and property management firms can equip the property with smart devices and technology and convert it into a smart home to fetch higher rents and lower service charges. Property management firms also leverage humidity sensors in various applications such as – heating systems, air conditioners, and ventilation systems to control humidity levels by measuring moisture and air temperature, and reporting the relative humidity (RH) in the air. Humidity sensors measure humidity through electrical capacitance and allow property managers in ensuring that a constant temperature is maintained throughout the building.
With the rise in technology awareness, millennials have become more tech-savvy and prefer to live in properties with advanced smart home features and don’t mind paying extra for innovative functionalities. Smart home features improve the resident’s experience and satisfaction and they frequently renew their leases which further improves the occupancy rate of the community Thus, smart homes are a beguiling option for property management firms and landlords to attract the young generation. In the future, we will witness a substantial rise in the number of real estate stakeholders embracing smart home technologies which is indeed a ‘glad-tiding’ for the sector.