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Is Upgrading to Smart Devices in Your Portsmouth Single-Family Rentals Worth It?

Maintenance Installing a Smart Device in the Living RoomThe market for a single-family rental home is currently experiencing a lot of changes, many of which are due to the trends set by long-term renters. Like many people, from millennials to seniors, find themselves not able to or not willing to purchase a home nationwide, large numbers are turning to long-term rentals instead. The effect of this is that today’s renters have come up with their own expectations about the kinds of smart technology they would want to be placed in single-family residences.

A number of tenants would ask their landlord if certain smart devices would be provided, from high-speed internet to smart thermostats to security systems. But is it really worth upgrading your Portsmouth rental homes to draw these renters in? There really isn’t a simple answer to this question. It depends on a few variables, from the expected return on the upfront expenses to where your rental property is located.

The Benefits

Smart devices have the potential to make a rental home more efficient, more secure, and more convenient. Rental homes that are smart technology-ready may interest a portion of potential renters. For instance, a smart thermostat can make managing heating and cooling costs much easier, reducing wear and tear on air conditioning units and furnaces as well as lowering utility bills.

Adding sensors and cameras to doors and windows are useful for certain locations where there is a perception of crime. Installing these smart devices gives a sense of security that may be what convinces renters who would otherwise be turned off by the location. Smart locks can make it easy for you to access your rental homes, and it also makes the transition for new tenants secure. No more changing the locks or emergency calls to a locksmith; you can simply change an access code to control who has access and who doesn’t.

If your rental home is in a place where there are a lot of renters who go to work or school, it might make sense to go for an upgrade. Smart devices are more popular in these places, and you can increase the rent a little bit to offset the upfront costs.

Potential Drawbacks

As with almost all technology, there are both benefits and drawbacks. We’ve seen the benefits smart devices give to property owners and tenants; let’s now look at the potential drawbacks. Possibly the most common complaint property owners make when considering a smart device upgrade is the initial cost. Most smart home technology devices aren’t overly expensive by themselves, but the incremental cost is substantial enough that it must be considered carefully before deciding to add it to your rental home. Many devices work as a coordinated system, meaning you might not be able to do the job one upgrade at a time. Also, not all places can sustain the increased rent that you’ll be charging to regain your costs, so knowing your specific market for each rental home is important.

A second concern is the speed and stability of the Wi-Fi in your area, and administrative access, which would require maintenance. Many smart devices rely on wireless internet to function, and so if the signal is weak or drops, it may seriously interfere with the functioning of any smart device. There are areas where connectivity is an issue because of things like geography or distance. For homes in these areas, smart devices may not work as advertised and end up being pretty useless.

A good number of renters may be drawn to smart home technologies but there are also groups of renters that are repelled by it, citing security concerns. Many are suspicious of automation; we’ve all heard about how a hacker got access to someone’s digital devices and violated their personal privacy. While these incidents are very rare, there will be potential renters who cannot overcome their concerns and would rather look elsewhere.

In the end, the decision to install smart devices lies with the property owner. They have to be the one to determine whether upgrading their Portsmouth rental homes is worth the cost. Decisions like these need to involve good market data and detailed knowledge of a rental home’s area, both of which we at Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire can provide. With our experience and data tools, we can help you study the information to figure out which, if any, smart devices would be a smart buy for your rental homes. If you want to know more about what Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire can do to serve you, don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 603-343-2202.

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