If you’re managing a property for rental, it can be a real balancing act to keep up maintenance on your properties while also adding value to stay competitive in a market that increasingly favors high-quality listings with extra amenities. The good news is that there are a number of smart home devices that can add features to your listing while also making the logistics of renting more manageable.
How can smart home devices benefit renters and landlords? Smart home devices give your listing flashy features that your guests likely won’t see at home, at hotels or other listings. These devices can also give you tools to monitor and maintain the property remotely.
The following 12 devices will give your guests a superior experience staying at your property while allowing you to be more hands-off on operations. Ultimately, these devices will help you build the most valuable listing with the least amount of work involved and drive up your profits.
Internet access isn’t just a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity—like running water or electricity. Your guests will expect to have Wi-Fi. Also, none of the other items on this list will function without a reliable internet connection.
Routers can cost anywhere from $40-$200. While you probably don’t need the best of the best, you don’t want to cheap out too much on this device. Make sure to get something with a wide enough range to cover the entire property and support for plenty of devices. You’re likely going to connect some smart home products and your guests are likely to bring a long a host of laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Airbnb recommends using a strong password that you change regularly and don’t provide to guests until after they’ve confirmed their reservation. If you’re running your rental unit remotely, it will be important to grab something that allows you to make these changes off-site.
One option is the Google Wi-Fi, which boasts a strong signal and a variety of remote monitoring options via an app. You can view how many devices are connected at any given time—which can help with coordinating with cleaners. You can also change settings like the Wi-Fi password from an included app. If you have a larger property, string several of them together for added range.
If you want to bring a number of the following devices to the next level, a smart speaker provides voice control for most of the smart devices on this list, truly allowing them to be used to their full potential. A smart speaker can make use of these devices intuitive and easy for guests as well as providing a slew of other functions—from playing music to delivering the forecast. Get the full scope of what Alexa or Google Home can do in our guides.
You probably want to make sure that you’ve got a separate Google or Amazon account set up for each property, so that there’s no chance for guests to use the devices to access your personal account information or anything else that they shouldn’t.
A smart speaker brings a smart home to life; it gives it a voice and adds an extra bit of magic. When you add a smart speaker, you’re adding value to your other smart devices and to the property overall.
Investing in a smart lock can make your life so much easier as a renter. With pin pad keyless entry systems, you never have to worry about guests losing or forgetting to turn in keys. This eliminates the need to be present to provide guests with a key as well. Simply generate a new code for each new occupant. Smart locks can add a number of helpful features to your rental property for you and your guests.
Many smart locks have built-in security features such as forced entry alarms, automatic locking behind people exiting, and video cameras. Security features will help ensure that your guests feel safe and also keep the property secure even if unattended for an extended period of time. Additionally, you can keep track of comings and goings, making it easier to know when guests check in and out.
While smart locks for external doors have the most usefulness, you may also want some for internal doors to block off access to certain areas of the property, such as supply closets.
The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt provides many of the best smart lock features at an affordable price. Connect to an app for remote locking and unlocking as well as usage reports and monitoring. The Schlage also allows for Homekit or Alexa integration so your guests can control the locks by voice.
You can save a ton on heating and cooling costs with a smart thermostat. Ensure that your guests are comfortable, but that they don’t also run up your bills by leaving the thermostat too high or too low after they leave. If the unit is going to be empty for an extended period, you can simply switch off the thermostat altogether—all controlled with ease, off-site. Some thermostats can even adjust holding temperatures based on whether or not people are currently occupying the unit.
Smart thermostats are easy for guests to use. Most have large, intuitive displays and many have digital assistant support. You can set locking limits on some thermostats, preventing guests from setting the temperature at something absurdly hot or cold.
The ecobbe4 Smart Thermostat has all the features you could hope for in a smart thermostat. It includes room sensors that allow the thermostat to track both temperature and occupancy of individual rooms for greater control and balance. The associated app will give you remote control of the thermostat from your mobile device anywhere you happen to be. Built-in Alexa gives all the functionality of a smart speaker right in the thermostat.
Most hotels come included with at least a basic cable package. You can be a cut above by providing some sort of media streamer. Allow your guests to access Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and a host of others with a smart TV. You can also upgrade any TV with an HDMI input to smart status with a Chromecast, Fire Stick, Roku or similar. Keep in mind that adding an extra device will add another controller and thus, another layer of complexity for a guest who’s unfamiliar with your setup. Smart TVs keep everything neat and simple.
Whether you decide to pay for subscriptions for your guests or ask them to log in to their own is up to you, but the ability to relax with a little quality TV won’t be lost on those staying in your accommodations. Providing the subscriptions will make things easier on your guests and will still save you hundreds of dollars a year compared to a cable subscription.
There are hundreds of options on smart TVs and a run to your local electronics store may be worth the trip to see what’s available and what’s on discount. However, we recommend this TCL Roku TV. It’s a nice size, at a killer price and will give your guests access to a wide array of entertainment options.
A set of smart lights will give your guests some neat functions and also provide you with additional tools for cutting utility costs and increasing security when your rental property is left unattended.
Many smart bulbs can produce an array of colors and color combinations. These colors can create a very pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. A touch of color can give your guests an experience that they may not be able to have at home. Additionally, smart lights can be controlled by voice via digital assistant. Providing an assistant can give visitors an effortless way to control the lighting.
Similar to many of the other entries in this list, smart bulbs allow you to control and monitor usage remotely. If guests leave the lights on after they check out, you can turn them off to avoid hiking up the electricity bill needlessly. You may even be able to automate this process to some degree. Additionally, since all smart lights are LED, they’ll dramatically reduce your energy costs and they’ll last years before needing to be replaced.
When your unit isn’t in use, automate the lights to make it appear as though some’s home. This can be as simple as having a few lights come on at sundown and then off again as it gets later or as complicated as having lights occasionally go on and off in various rooms. Either way, it will provide some deterrent to would-be burglars.
While there are a number of really excellent smart bulb brands out there (you can read a review of our top pics here), Philips Hue is perhaps the most dominant. And this isn’t without reason. Philips Hue are reliable, colorful, and affordable. You’ll need to purchase a hub along with the lights to control the system. While this does cost more up front, it will prevent strain on your Wi-Fi network as compared to lights that connect individually. Once you’re up and running, your guests will be wowed and you’ll have an effective way of managing your lighting from afar.
Water damage, left unchecked can result in thousands of dollars-worth of damages. Your guests may not be as sensitive to these issues as you’d like them to be—or if incidents happen in sectioned off areas, such as the water heater, your guests may not be aware there’s a leak at all.
If you’ve got a water leak, you need to know right away. A few well-placed Wi-Fi-enabled leak sensors could save you a lot of headaches, hassle, and hard-earned cash. Also, letting your insurance company know that you’ve added the sensors may allow you to get savings of up to 15% on homeowner’s insurance.
When searching for a water sensor, you’ll want to find one with Wi-Fi functionality, but without an audible alarm. That way you’ll get a push notification right away, but your guest won’t be bothered or frightened by a loud and unexpected alarm. We found the Wasserstein Smart Wi-Fi Water Sensor fit the bill. It’s affordable, easy-to-use, and provides monitoring tools such as notifications and battery level monitoring. With an attachable second sensor on each unit, you can cover more ground with a single unit.
Outdoor security cameras can give your guests a measure of added safety and provide you with a beefed-up security for a property that you may not be personally monitoring.
A security camera can help you to monitor who’s coming and going (this may be particularly helpful if you charge differently based on a number of guests). And can help give you some ammo in the case of disputes over stolen property.
While it may be tempting to install indoor security cameras
for many of these same reasons, these may be worth reconsidering. Airbnb has strict
rules against cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms and requires that all
other security cameras be disclosed before booking. That means that disclosed
cameras in common areas are allowed but may scare off guests who are more
privacy conscious. Ultimately, the goal is to place and disclose security
cameras in a way that add value to the property for both you and your guests.
The Arlo Security Cameras are easy-to-install, provide night vision, and have the option of being wired or battery-operated. Arlo is one of the most versatile camera systems out there as they function well in so many environments. The Arlo system includes cloud backup storage and live monitoring, so you’ll always be able to view your footage when you need it.
The safety of your guests and your property is always of the highest priority. To that end, Airbnb now requires that all rentals have functioning smoke and CO2 detectors. A smart detector might not necessarily keep your guests any safer than a standard one, but they’ve got some extra features that will make your life as a renter much easier.
Smart detectors can send you a notification when they go off. Not only are your guests warned of danger, but you’ll be informed in real-time what’s happening at your rental. Smart detectors can also alert you head of time when their batteries are running low. That way you can spare your guests the annoyance of being woken by incessant chirping at 3 am and stay ahead of maintenance.
The Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm provides the most features of any we’ve seen. Like other devices, the Nest Protect will send notifications about low batteries and triggered alarms. The Nest will also regularly self-test so you don’t have to worry about it. Instead of simply beeping, the Nest will speak and explain what the danger is and how serious it is. This can help guests who are unfamiliar with the system to understand the alarms and respond appropriately.
If you’ve already got function smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, Roost 9v Specialty Batteries will allow you to access the core features of smart detectors, such as battery monitoring and alarm notifications, simply by using them as the batteries in your existing alarm.
A hot cup of coffee in the morning is going to be a must-have for a lot of guests. Getting something that integrates with your provided digital assistant and can have coffee ready at a preset time gives the extra icing on top. This can provide a creature comfort that makes your listing stand out.
The Gourmia Wi-Fi Coffee Maker has all the features to make it a standout machine, but at an affordable price tag. The Gourmia has a built-in grinder so you can brew freshly ground beans or a pre-ground mix. Additionally, the Gourmia can pair with Google or Alexa so your guests can simply command the machine to “brew!” A programmable timer allows coffee to be ready at whatever time you want.
Our lives are becoming increasingly paperless, but there are still plenty of occasions where it may be useful to be able to print off tickets or extra copies of a report. A Wi-Fi printer allows your guests easy access to a service they may not get at any other accommodations.
You want to make sure to setup something that guests can easily print from just by being on the Wi-Fi, without a lot of additional connection steps.
The Canon PIXMA TR8520 provides a lot of functionality in a compact package and at a reasonable price. The printer supports photo quality printing and has a document feeder for quick scanning. Most importantly, the printer boasts a plethora of connection methods from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth, so connecting should be a snap for your guests, even from a mobile device.
All this smart home technology can sound really exciting, but you may be asking yourself, “how can I teach my guests how to use all this stuff without leaving a novel-length instruction manual?” The answer to that may be a YourWelcome tablet. YourWelcome is a platform that creates custom tablet experiences specifically for rental properties.
A YourWelcome tablet can be used to explain information about the property to the guest, like how the coffee machine works—you could even include a video tutorial. Additionally, you could provide a map of local restaurants and attractions or provide a digital walking tour of the local area. The sky is the limit!
Once you’ve informed the guest on everything they need to know about the property, the tablet also can act as an additional monetization tool. You can sell additional services, such as late-check outs or tickets to local events all automated and easily accessed. Used well, a YourWelcome tablet adds value for the customer by contextualizing your smart home property and providing an above and beyond experiences at an additional cost, all on a slick platform that solidifies your brand as a part of the property.