Smart home gadgets are part of modern living, as they offer convenience and control that were once only part of high-end homes.

For rental properties, smart apartment electronics do not require large investments or are out of reach. Development in the smart home sector produces solutions that are not only accessible but also adaptable to the nature of renting an apartment or a house. Home automation features allow tenants to enhance the living experience and manage homes more efficiently without the need for permanent alterations or significant investments.

Renters seek home automation devices that offer a balance between luxury and practicality without expensive subscriptions adding to the monthly expenses. These are devices that ensure safety and security and gadgets that simplify daily tasks. The minimum required (essentials) home gadgets should focus on security (smart lock, video doorbell, smart smoke, and CO detector), home efficiency (smart plugs, smart bulbs, and smart thermostats), and connectivity (smart speaker or display); entertainment such as is a nice-to-have bonus but not necessary to be part of the rented accommodation.

Smart apartment gadgets enable renters to remotely control various home functions and can often lead to long-term cost savings and peace of mind. 

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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

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Advantages of Smart Home Rentals

A cozy living room with beige sofas, a wooden coffee table, and a piano beside large windows with a view of autumn trees, available through Smart Rentals.
A cozy living room with beige sofas, a wooden coffee table, and a piano beside large windows with a view of autumn trees, available through Smart Rentals.

Investing in smart home technologies for short-term and long-term rental properties can command higher rental rates, attract high-quality tenants, and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. As the demand for smart living continues to rise, smart home rentals are poised to become the new standard in the rental industry.

 
Table listing benefits of smart rentals, including cost efficiency, convenience, security, attractiveness, and value addition with brief descriptions for each category.
Table listing benefits of smart rentals, including cost efficiency, convenience, security, attractiveness, and value addition with brief descriptions for each category.

Smart home features in rental properties offer a range of advantages for both tenants and landlords. Tenants often seek the convenience and efficiency that smart devices provide. Smart thermostats, for instance, are in high demand due to their ability to optimize and automate heating and cooling schedules, potentially reducing energy consumption and utility bills.

For example, without smart home automation the average for a 2-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $2,719 with air conditioning, fully equipped kitchen, and high-end amenities. Specifically in downtown LA, 2-bedroom apartments have a wide price range starting from $1,250, with an average size of 897 square feet. With smart home automation, similar 2-bedroomed condo fully equipped with renter friendly gadgets would likely rent for over $3130 to $3500.

Good landlords always invest in smart home essentials for living, and that sets them apart from the competition and attracts higher-income renters. Tech-savvy and high-income renters are attracted by smart home devices as they improve their lifestyles.

Especially near business hubs and city centers, landlords should focus on targeting the specific demographic of renters who are most likely to rent there—renters seeking tech packages that come with the apartments.

Here are the top 3 must-have tech packages that apartments should offer to attract and retain residents:

Smart access control system

A smart access control system, which includes features like smartphone-based access, keyless entry, and smart locks, is a highly desirable amenity. It provides convenience and security for residents, allowing them to easily enter the building and their unit without physical keys. Smart access also enables residents to grant temporary access to guests or service providers.

Smart home devices package

Apartments should offer a package of smart home devices that residents can easily install and control via their smartphones. Key devices to include are:

Smart thermostats for energy savings and remote temperature control.
Smart plugs and light bulbs for creating customized lighting and saving energy.
Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for enhanced safety with mobile alerts.

High-speed WiFi and smart building infrastructure

Reliable high-speed WiFi is an essential utility for modern apartments. Buildings should invest in smart infrastructure like built-in IoT networks and sensors that enable connected systems for HVAC, lighting, and leak detection.

A robust access control system, a move-in ready package of smart home devices, and building-wide high-speed connectivity are the core components of a desirable technology amenity package for modern rental apartments.

 

Smart Home Rental Ideas

Smart Apartment Ideas

Smart Apartment Ideas

Apartment SizeSmart FeatureBenefitBasic (< $1000)Average (< $2000)Luxury (< $5000)
1-3 BedSmart PlugsRemote appliance control, schedulingYesYesYes (more outlets)
1-3 BedSmart LightingAmbiance, dimming, energy savingsYesYes (color bulbs)Yes (advanced system)
2-3 BedSmart ThermostatComfort, learns habits, saves energyNoYesYes (room sensors)
1-3 BedSmart SpeakerVoice control, music, routinesYesYesYes (multiple rooms)
2-3 BedSmart LockKeyless entry, remote accessNoYesYes (w/ camera)
3 BedSmart Security SystemPeace of mind, alerts, monitoringNoMaybeYes (extensive coverage)

What Apartment Gadgets Makes a Rental Premium?

Modern living room with gray sectional sofa, colorful rugs, and art on walls; large windows offer a city view. Well-lit, elegant interior in a Smart Rentals property.
Modern living room with gray sectional sofa, colorful rugs, and art on walls; large windows offer a city view. Well-lit, elegant interior in a Smart Rentals property.

Smart gadgets help interiors to become more functional interiors. To establish what makes a rental a premium rental, let’s look at what tech for apartments affects rental premiums. Basic smart plugs and lights won’t add as much value as a fully integrated system with thermostats, security, and voice control. Just smart gadgets will not make an apartment trendy if the location or style is not right. A luxury apartment with smart features will command much higher rent than a basic unit with the same tech.

Trendy, upscale neighborhoods will see a greater boost in rent compared to less affluent areas.

If you are listing a rental for the first time it’s important to understand that landlords won’t necessarily be able to charge a huge increase in rent just because of smart home gadgets.

Here’s what’s realistic according to TALLBOX:

  • Small Increase: A modest 5-10% increase may be achievable, especially if the smart home features are well-integrated and desirable.
  • Competitive Advantage: Smart homes may attract tenants more quickly and reduce vacancies, which is an indirect benefit for the landlord.

How to Research:

  1. Compare Listings: Search rental sites in your desired LA neighborhood for similar 2-bedroom apartments. Look for ones with and without smart features to see any price differences.
  2. Talk to Property Managers: Contact property managers in the area and inquire about the rental value of smart home apartments.
  3. Consider ROI: If you’re a landlord, weigh the cost of installing smart home devices against the potential rental increase you could achieve.

Essential Smart Devices for Rental Security

Renters seeking to enhance the security of their living space have access to an array of smart home devices. These gadgets offer increased control, monitoring, and protection without the need for invasive installations or permanent modifications that are often unsuitable for rental properties.

A smart digital keypad lock installed on a wooden door with a glass panel, focusing on modern security technology for rentals.
A smart digital keypad lock installed on a wooden door with a glass panel, focusing on modern security technology for rentals.

Smart Locks and Access Control

Smart locks, such as the August Smart Lock and the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt, provide tenants with keyless entry options and the flexibility to manage access to their homes remotely. These locks can be programmed to allow temporary access for guests and service professionals, reducing the risks associated with copying traditional keys. They can also send notifications during unauthorized access attempts, keeping renters informed in real time.

Popular Smart Locks:

  • August Smart Lock
  • Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt
  • Nest x Yale Lock
 

Video Doorbells and Security Cameras

The incorporation of video doorbells and security cameras has become a cornerstone for rental security. Devices like the Ring Wireless Video Doorbell and Nest Indoor Security Camera enable tenants to monitor their doorsteps and interiors for suspicious activity. Live video feeds and recorded footage can be invaluable in identifying trespassers and collecting evidence in the event of a security breach.

Effective Surveillance Options:

  • Ring Wireless Video Doorbell for monitoring entrances
  • Nest Indoor Security Camera for interior observation
 

Smart Alarms and Sensors

Smart alarms and sensors act as the first line of defense in a variety of emergencies, from intrusions to environmental hazards such as flooding or fire. The Ring Alarm Pro serves as a comprehensive home security system, while products like Nest Protect offer smoke and carbon monoxide detection. SimpliSafe’s sensors provide water, motion, and entry monitoring, helping to prevent potential damage and increase overall rental security making it a renter friendly smart home solution.

Key Alarm and Sensor Systems:

  • Ring Alarm Pro: A versatile home security system
  • SimpliSafe: Offers a variety of sensors for comprehensive coverage
  • Nest Protect: Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector
 

Intelligent Automation

Smart Thermostats for Climate Control

Smart thermostats, like the Nest Thermostat ($129 – $249), offer tenants the ability to adjust heating and cooling settings with ease, either through an app or via voice control with assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. These devices learn routines and preferences, optimizing the climate to either conserve energy or maximize comfort.

Other popular smart thermostat options include:

  • Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control ($180 – $250): Offers room sensors for enhanced temperature control.
  • Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat ($150 – $200): Features geofencing and flexible scheduling.

Compatibility: Most smart thermostats are compatible with a range of smart home systems, including HomeKit. Features: Intelligent scheduling, remote access, and energy usage reports.

Important Note: Prices can fluctuate based on retailers, sales, and if you’re purchasing the latest model vs. previous generations.

Smart Lighting Solutions

Smart bulbs and lighting systems such as Philips Hue (starter kits around $150 – $200, individual bulbs $15 – $50+) and Wiz (starter kits around $50+, individual bulbs $10 – $20+) enable renters to control lighting intensity, color, and schedules, improving the ambiance and utility of spaces. LED smart bulbs are energy-efficient and can be controlled remotely or through voice commands using devices like the Amazon Echo Dot (often on sale for $30 – $50) or via smartphone apps.

Variety: Options range from simple white bulbs to colorful, feature-rich choices. Convenience: Schedule lights to turn on/off, and sync them with alarms or notifications.

Important Notes:

  • Starter kits: Kits include the necessary hub and a few bulbs, offering a better value than buying bulbs individually.
  • Individual bulbs: Pricing varies depending on features (color-changing, brightness, etc.).
  • Sales: Keep an eye out for sales and bundle deals to save money.

Advanced Voice-Controlled Devices

Voice-controlled devices have become central to the smart home ecosystem. Devices like the Echo Show 8 ($100-$130) and Amazon Echo Dot with Clock ($40-$60) allow easy access to control various smart home features. Nest Audio ($75 – $100) and Smart Speakers powered by Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant can play music, set reminders, control other smart devices, and provide helpful information.

Integration: Seamless integration with other smart home devices enhances user experience. Accessibility: Simplifies interaction for those with mobility issues or visual impairments.

Important Notes:

  • Smart Displays vs. Smart Speakers: Smart displays like the Echo Show include a screen for added visual information, but typically cost more than speakers without screens.
  • Sales: Prices listed are regular retail, but frequent sales are common on these popular devices.
  • Ecosystems: Consider if the tenant wants to be within the Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit ecosystem when choosing devices.

Utility and Maintenance Management for Tenants and Landlords

Smart home technology streamlines the task of utility and maintenance management for tenants and landlords, contributing to a seamless and efficient rental experience. Smart plugs and switches, such as those from TP-Link and the WeMo Mini Smart Plug, allow for control over outlets, which can be particularly advantageous in reducing energy costs and managing devices remotely.

Maintenance: When it comes to maintenance, smart devices facilitate prompt reporting and action. Tenants can use smart home apps to immediately notify landlords of issues such as storm damage or trouble with connected devices. This allows for quicker response times and potentially lessens the damage incurred by maintenance problems.

Table comparing benefits of smart rentals like plugs/switches and sensors for tenants and landlords, highlighting remote control and maintenance alerts for tenants, and monitoring for landlords.
Table comparing benefits of smart rentals like plugs/switches and sensors for tenants and landlords, highlighting remote control and maintenance alerts for tenants, and monitoring for landlords.

Energy Management: Tenants can optimize their electricity usage by scheduling smart plugs and outlets to power down when not in use. Landlords appreciate the potential to reduce overall utility bills and can even offer this as an eco-friendly feature of the rental property.

Troubleshooting: With smart devices, troubleshooting becomes less invasive. Landlords can diagnose certain issues through connected devices without needing to disrupt the tenant’s daily life, leading to enhanced privacy and convenience for tenants.

How to transform a traditional rental into a smart rental?

To modernize a rental and to automate a rental are two different options. When property managers and landlords decide to upgrade rental properties with smart home features, a critical consideration is compatibility between new devices and existing infrastructure.

Modern living room with a beige sofa, white marble countertops, and sheer curtains filtering sunlight, available for smart rentals.
Modern living room with a beige sofa, white marble countertops, and sheer curtains filtering sunlight, available for smart rentals.

Planning Stage

  • Set Goals: Determine what you want to achieve with smart technology: convenience, energy savings, enhanced security, or appealing to tech-savvy renters. Good planning will help achieve a cohesive and visually appealing design that seamlessly integrates smart features into the rental space.
  • Budget: Set a realistic budget for the upgrades, factoring in both device costs and potential installation fees.
  • Tenant Privacy: Be transparent about installed smart devices and address any privacy concerns in your lease agreement.
 

Smart Upgrades (Choose the ones that best suit your goals and budget). Prioritize features offering the most convenience, security, or energy savings for the best return on investment. Choose user-friendly devices and consider simplifying setup for tenants. 

Ensure devices are compatible with one another and the tenant’s preferred smart home ecosystems (Alexa, Google, HomeKit).

 Begin with a few core upgrades and expand the system based on tenant feedback and your budget.

Start with the Basics:

  • Smart Plugs: Turn ordinary lamps, appliances, and devices into smart ones ($10 – $25 per plug).
  • Smart Bulbs: Control lighting remotely, set schedules, and adjust colors ($10 – $50 per bulb).

Hub or No Hub:

  • Centralized Hub: Consider a smart hub (like SmartThings or Hubitat) for a more integrated system, but it adds to the cost.
  • No Hub: Many devices work independently with just Wi-Fi and their own apps.

Enhanced Comfort:

  • Smart Thermostat: Optimize heating/cooling based on tenant preferences for comfort and energy saving ($120 – $250).

Security & Convenience:

  • Smart Locks: Allow keyless entry and remote access control ($150 – $250).
  • Video Doorbell: See who’s at the door and communicate remotely ($100-$250).
  • Leak Sensors: Place them under sinks or near appliances to get alerts about potential water damage ($30-$60).

Voice Control:

  • Smart speakers or displays: Let tenants control everything using voice commands (Amazon Echo, Google Nest, etc. $30 – $130).

How to Market a Smart Rental?

Highlight Smart Features:

To effectively market a smart rental, focus on highlighting the unique features and benefits that set it apart from traditional rentals. Emphasize the convenience and benefits of smart features like voice-activated assistants, smart appliances, automated lighting, and security systems.  Showcase how these features enhance daily living, saving time, energy, and money. 

Mention specific examples like “Control your lights and thermostat from anywhere with your smartphone” or “Enjoy hands-free entertainment with voice commands.”

Target the Right Audience:

Focus on tech-savvy individuals and young professionals who appreciate innovative technology and convenience.

When crafting your marketing materials, use high-quality photos and videos that showcase the smart features in action.

Create a dedicated website or landing page for the rental for virtual viewings, featuring detailed descriptions of the smart amenities and their benefits. Utilize social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and targeted online advertising to reach tech-savvy renters actively seeking smart living spaces.

Offer Incentives and Promotions:

Attract potential tenants with special offers like discounted rent or free smart home devices. Consider offering a free month of rent or a smart speaker as an incentive. Highlight the value proposition of a smart rental and how it enhances the living experience.

Partner with local real estate agents who specialize in smart homes and technologically advanced properties to expand your reach. Collaborate with smart home device manufacturers or retailers to offer exclusive discounts or bundled packages to your tenants, further incentivizing them to choose your smart rental over competitors.

Emphasize Security and Privacy:

Address potential concerns about data privacy and security by highlighting the measures you’ve taken to protect tenant information.

Explain how smart features can actually enhance security, such as with remote monitoring and access control.

Modern living room featuring a large, blue and wood modular shelving unit with plants, rent furniture like a grey sofa, a wooden coffee table, and a green rug.
Modern living room featuring a large, blue and wood modular shelving unit with plants, rent furniture like a grey sofa, a wooden coffee table, and a green rug.

Make it look great:

Good staging is essential to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere that allows potential tenants to envision themselves living in the space. A well-staged smart rental can significantly increase its appeal and marketability. In fact, staged homes rent 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged properties.

When staging your smart rental, pay attention to furniture placement, color schemes, and overall design aesthetics. It is not necessary to buy all the furniture, as you can rent furniture and achieve a good style with minimum effort.

Incorporate modern and tech-forward elements that complement the smart features of the property. Use the smart devices to your advantage during staging, such as setting the smart lights to create a warm and inviting ambiance or programming the smart thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature during property tours.

 

Financial Considerations and Return on Investment

When investing in smart home features for rental properties, landlords must consider the financial implications and potential return on investment (ROI).

Here are 5 key points directly linked to high ROI of smart home technology in rental properties:

Increased rent: Properties with smart home features can charge slightly higher rent (around 5-20%) for apartments equipped with smart home features. Tenants, especially tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z renters, are often willing to pay a premium for the convenience, safety, and energy efficiency provided by smart devices.

Attracting quality tenants: Smart home features can help attract high-quality, responsible tenants who are looking for modern, secure, and efficient living spaces. This can lead to lower vacancy rates and more stable rental income.

Preventive maintenance and damage prevention: Smart devices like water leak sensors, smart thermostats, and smart smoke detectors can alert landlords to potential issues early on, allowing for quick repairs and preventing costly damage. This can result in significant savings on maintenance and repair costs.

Energy efficiency and cost savings: Smart thermostats, smart plugs, and smart lighting systems can help reduce energy consumption and utility bills for tenants, making the property more attractive and potentially allowing for slightly higher rent prices.

Remote property management: Smart home technology enables landlords to monitor and manage their properties remotely, saving time and money on property management tasks and allowing for efficient management of multiple properties.

What affects the rental ROI?

Type of Smart Features: High-value upgrades like smart thermostats and security systems often have a better ROI than simple smart plugs.

Location: In tech-forward areas, tenants may be more willing to pay a premium for smart features.

Market Conditions: Your overall rental market and demand play a role in how much more rent you can realistically charge for smart home upgrades.

The Quality of the Apartment: A rundown apartment won’t suddenly command high rent just because it has smart tech. It still needs to be in overall good condition.

Tips for Maximizing ROI:

Prioritize: Focus on features that provide both convenience and tangible benefits (security, energy savings).

Seek professional installation: Ensure your smart devices are correctly installed to function reliably.

Market it well: Emphasize the smart features in your rental listing and highlight their advantages to potential tenants.

 

Final Veredict

Smart home technology has become an indispensable asset for both renters and landlords seeking to modernize their living spaces. Embracing smart home devices is more than a trend; it’s a forward-thinking decision that adds compelling value to rental properties.

For Renters:

  • Enhanced Convenience: From smart thermostats to intelligent lighting systems, renters enjoy unparalleled ease and comfort.
  • Customization: Smart devices offer personalization of living spaces, allowing temperature and lighting to be adjusted to individual preferences.

For Landlords:

  • Property Appeal: Offering smart home features can distinguish properties from competition, attracting tech-savvy tenants.
  • Maintenance Efficiency: Smart sensors can preemptively notify landlords of potential issues, reducing the need for extensive repairs.

The integration of smart home devices ensures a seamless and futuristic living experience. However, to ensure privacy and security, the latest technologies from reputable manufacturers often involve advanced privacy features.