Smart lockboxes, work-from-home tech, and environmental sensors are revolutionizing the way property managers handle their day-to-day operations, while also bringing best service to potential and current renters.
With these unconventional smart tech solutions, you’ll increase efficacy, comfort, convenience, and sustainability across your multifamily units. Since 82 percent of renters want at least one smart device or system in their home, the value of installing smart technology solutions in your rentals can’t be understated.
Smart lockboxes: facilitating self-guided tours
With smart electronic lockboxes, interested renters are able to view a multifamily unit without you having to physically oversee the process—as in, you don’t need to be there to hand-off your keys in-person. The interested renter can simply book a self-guided tour online, and verify their identity with a selfie photo and ID (this can be done via the lockbox app, text message, or video chat).
Once their appointment rolls around, they’ll be able to access the keys to the rental by opening the lockbox with a unique one-time access code. Once the self-guided tour is complete, the potential renter simply returns the keys to the lockbox.
No skimping on security
Since smart lockboxes make tours more easily accessible to renters—you don’t need to align your schedules in order to facilitate viewings—you’ll ultimately be able to fit in more viewings in a shorter amount of time.
The end result? You’ll lease out your property faster. Rest assured, smart lockboxes are also secure. They’re equipped with high-security locks to ensure the safety of your keys and rental. Personal details like names, phone numbers, IDs, and selfies are also verified, so only legitimate prospects are provided with a one-time access code.
If you so choose, access codes can be valid for just one hour once received by a potential renter (individuals can always request a new code if needed).
If the personal information sent by a prospect can’t be verified, then they’ll be added to a permanent blacklist, and you can cancel the tour (either with or without letting the prospect know)—therefore effectively ruling out fraudulent applications.
Or, if you require the potential renter to resend their information, you can always ask them for another submission. And, as always, you can also choose to keep your rental either unfurnished or sparsely furnished, so as to minimize the risk of damage to your fixtures, furniture, and appliances during any self-guided viewings.
Choosing the right smart lockbox: advice for property managers
When it comes to setting up a smart lockbox for your multifamily property, brands like Rently, Codebox, Sentrilock, and Supra are some popular and reliable options.
You can either purchase the lockbox and software outright, or pay for a subscription service that lets you rent the lockbox for a set fee each month.
The steps involved in booking self-guided tours also typically vary depending on your chosen provider. Ideally, you want to opt for a lockbox that sends the interested renter a one-time access code after verifying their identity to ensure the safety and security of your keys and property.
Some smart lockboxes also employ facial recognition technology in the identity-verification process, which is also another effective way to optimize security.
Once the interested renter sends a selfie, it will be cross-checked against a database for verification or to identify signs of potential fraud.
Multifamily units can also benefit from the addition of smart technology that allows renters to work remotely.
By 2025, roughly 32.6 million Americans will be working from home, equating to around 22 percent of the workforce. As such, workers are increasingly looking for affordable rentals with desirable amenities that can level up their home office.
The right tech items can make a home office a comfortable and inviting place to work.
For example, a smart sound masking system drowns out distractions and ensures peace and privacy by mimicking the gentle whoosh of a HVAC system. With the smart controller, you can easily control the speaker via your smartphone.
Smart environmental sensors
Smart environmental sensors can provide real-time data on key metrics like temperature, light, humidity, and moisture, therefore revolutionizing the way your rental is monitored, optimized, and maintained.
A smart thermostat automatically adjusts heating and cooling while prioritizing comfort. It can also be controlled remotely via smartphone as it’s wifi-enabled—that means you can change temperature settings in your building from anywhere at any time.
Smart thermostats are also equipped with useful features like occupancy sensors, voice assistant compatibility, and regular software updates to ensure they’re using the latest energy-saving features available.
Notably, smart thermostats save around 8 percent on energy bills in multifamily units, equating to roughly $50 every year, Consumer Reports reveals. And, with the data generated by smart thermostats, you can also spot the most energy-intensive areas and take corrective steps as needed.
Prevent expensive water damage with smart water detection sensors
Smart water detection sensors are another useful installation that can alert you to water leaks and prevent expensive damage.
Homes that installed the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff saw a 96 percent decrease in the number of paid water claims in the following year, CNet reports. Water leaks—whether caused by leaking plumbing, faulty pipes, or old appliances—can end up causing significant damage to your property. Even a small eighth-inch crack in a pipe can end up leaking as much as 250 gallons of water per day.
With smart water detection sensors, you’ll be alerted of the presence of water immediately, so you can fix any issues before more extensive (and expensive) problems develop.
Smart lockboxes, work-from-home tech, and environmental sensors can help you optimize your operations and stay competitive in an increasingly saturated rental landscape.
These unconventional smart tech solutions can make your job as a property manager easier, while also bringing the best service to your prospective and existing renters.
See the graphic version of this article in the November December 2023 flip book version.