The Future of Smart Homes for Single Family Rentals and Short Term Vacation Rentals

The people at Zillow are at the top of the game in regards to data-driven insights regarding the residential leasing and property markets. The good people doing the data crunching see a J-curve trend of rental properties getting on board using the Web of Things and providing Internet connectivity among devices within a house.

The Internet of Things is constituted of appliances and devices with on-board detectors that link them to smartphones, computers, the world wide web, and every other device that can connect.

It means that using a few swipes of their smartphone homeowners and apartment dwellers can perform everything from brewing an espresso to tracking pets to getting alerts from the refrigerator when it is running low on eggs. And of course, as a property manager, you may be thinking about phone alerts for leak detection, preventative maintenance, hvac filter replacements, etc.

To put it differently, some IoT (Internet of Things) devices are for convenience, but many provide practical application to rental properties as well..

Connected Homes Come Into Their Own

Do you remember watching “The Jetsons?” They had a smart home. In many ways, the smart homes of today aren’t so different.

For property managers and landlords seeking to entice tenants that are gadget-hungry, convenience-minded -- and willing to pay for a premium lease -- converting components into smart devices is a no-brainer. There is value in the convenience and equipping a home with IoT devices isn’t cost restrictive. In fact, you’re likely to break even on a full outfit of IoT devices within your first couple months of adding a rent premium. The premium itself covers the added cost.

Is 2019 the ideal time to purchase smart home devices for your units?

At CES, electronics firms unveiled tens of thousands of futuristic gadgets which set technician junkies buzzing, and at the days leading up to the series, journalists weighing with their own favorites. Aaron Soupporiss reported that the newest products on display at CES "...were off-the-shelf products that you could plug and play," getting immediate value. His top selections include:

  1. Parrot Pot -- Flower Power soil detector technologies enables users to water their crops and keep them alive when away from home.

  2. MisFit Bolt -- This wise lightbulb conserves energy, can resemble a house that is inhabited when it is not, and corrects colors in reaction to occupants' sleep cycles.

  3. WattUp -- Control any electronic gadget in the room inside a 15-foot radius with your smartphone.

Kirsner forecasts that as linked electronics become more useful, instead of simply book (the Egg Minder) or amusing (wireless sound and video programs ), customer demand will truly catch fire. On Kirsner's listing are a couple of products that enhance home security and reassurance, for example:

  1. Kwikset Kevo -- Using this specific deadbolt and smartphone program, users may provide digital home keys to household members, the cleaning service, along with the dog walker.

  2. SkyBell -- This digital doorbell features motion sensors that indicate when someone reaches the front door and allows the occupant to see who it is.

  3. Water Hero -- This method alarms homeowners if a pipe leaks or bursts so that they can repair the issue before it turns into a catastrophe.

Internet connectivity allows users to control the apparatus from nearly anywhere using smartphone apps. Most smartphone owners utilize every one of the programs for a specific function (believe Google Maps, Kindle scanning program, or even Spotify). Extending this analogy into a house filled with smart appliances and gadgets, the amount of different programs and hubs a customer would have to control everything becomes overwhelming.

Imagine starting one iPhone or Android program to heat the bed up, yet another to lock the front door, another to begin the security system, etc. And when every one of those home apparatus needs its hub, expect the house to be crawling with cables, wires, and power strips. These devices and hubs may create a troubleshooting mess.

The ultimate in convenience, however, is exactly what the IoT home is about, so retailers and manufacturers are working together to decrease the amount of programs and hubs required to restrain smart home devices. Their answer: growing communications standards that allow products from various manufacturers to speak with one another within a frequent network.

  • Staples -- The workplace mega-store advised Kirsner that its $79 Link hub joins 150 apparatus from a range of manufacturers to one network. A few of the items users may control would be the Nest thermostat and lighting bulbs and door locks from many businesses. To easily determine which devices utilize Connect, each of a customer needs is one program from Staples.

  • WeMo out of Belkin -- Based on technology website VentureBeat, the WeMo connected house system can restrain 25 apparatus produced by the likes of Mr. Coffee and Crock-Pot. In CES, Belkin introduced its own communications regular, Zigbee, which joins the hottest smart devices, such as "key fobs, lighting bulbs, door detectors..."

  • HomeKit out of Apple -- USA TODAY noted that HomeKit "allows iOS customers to safely control lights, locks, video cameras, video cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and buttons using their iPhones."

IoT is Taking Over

The area is ultra-competitive and getting more crowded daily. With all these alternatives, which linked house platform will homeowners and property managers invest in -- and how do we know which platforms and products will last in the long run?

These businesses are also scooping up apparatus manufacturers as partners in a struggle to become the best dog in the smart home area. The stakes are enormous: the winners aspire to obtain a foothold into customers' homes to market more of their own and their partners' products.

With numerous new devices offered and many significant firms connecting the associated home system fray, customers have a lot of options, but the abundance of choices has a drawback.

Battle of the SmartHome Network Criteria

Selecting a smart home system to invest in is a challenge since every network speaks its own terminology and needs its own hardware and smartphone app. When consumers hear a brand new, must-have or appliance, even before purchasing it, they will need to check whether it could connect to their preferred smart home system.

If the unit is not supported, the user might need to purchase another hub and download its companion program. This means more gear and wires to clutter the house and much more programs to manage. Because of this, selecting the"right" smart house network stays a small bet until a worldwide network standard appears that allows most devices and programs available on the industry talk with one another.

Just take this case, where a network supplier like Staples and also a spouse which produces devices like Logitech possess a tiff and split up. The outcomes? Consumers may be locked from using their beloved Logitech devices in their network, which makes them not just less suitable but maybe obsolete.

"It is not tough to envision a future in which an Apple or a Microsoft pushes a house OS update and all a sudden your kitchen no more supports your older smart refrigerator," tech journalist Matt Honan stated on

It required approximately 14 years before many producers embraced WiFi, the norm for connecting computers and printers to wireless home networks, therefore the odds of a open standard emerging in 2015 are slender.

Evil refrigerators and safety Issues

Back in Washington, Congress has been training its sights on safety breaches of networked devices. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is pushing automakers to embrace a safety and safety evaluation system to safeguard consumers from hackers seeking to steal their private information or seize control of their automobiles.

Congress also is exploring devices such as Google's Nest thermostat which"learn" how to best serve house dwellers by amassing data in their tastes and customs. Criminals may hack smart door locks or determine when residents are off by assessing the patterns of the smart lighting methods.

Together with the absence of a worldwide standard for smart house networks and devices, in addition to potential safety problems, it might pay to see the dust settle before going all-in with linked house systems as conveniences to entice tenants.

But if you are an early adopter or have the funds to push the envelope with new advertising strategies, here are a Couple of hints:

Have a look at a system platform such as Staples Connect. Using its smartphone program, Connect enables you to look up the over 150 devices it supports. You might discover that Staples Connect or a different system provides more than sufficient utility and advantage to audition it in your home or workplace.

Try it out using a single unit -- Should you lease luxury apartments or houses, install Staples' or a different organization's network at a unit or 2, promote its availability, and check out the answer. Moreover, you could decrease the expense of the system and apparatus you pass along to tenants in exchange for their opinions, which might assist in choosing whether to install linked home technician in more components.

Start only -- Try a few of the less costly approaches of additional home managers, who've slipped into smart house technology by providing single-purpose networks, such as SONOS wireless sound programs, which cost a few hundred dollars. Or provide free WiFi in ordinary regions of your possessions or even a keyless system such as Okidokeys to make sure tenants do not get locked out at 3% (and call you for assistance ).

Attract families -- Attempt targeting households with children, whose lives are all about being joined. Mike Harris, creator of Zonoff, making the system software and program to get Staples Connect, stated,"Our demographics is not selling into a lot of 22-year-olds that reside in flats. We are selling to ordinary people with children and regular homes."

Are you currently using smart house technology to draw tenants? What exactly are your residents' favourite gadgets?

Timing a Buy or Sell of Your Short Term Airbnb Rental

Timing a Buy or Sell of Your Short Term Airbnb Rental

Whether you are purchasing or selling short term or Airbnb rental property, success often boils down to great seasonal timing. There are advantages to purchasing and selling throughout all times of the year.

Understanding When the Economy's Right

Determining the ideal economic conditions to get or sell an Airbnb or VRBO rental is dependent upon your motivations. As a property manager of a short term rental, you have a fantastic opportunity to beat the market average in a residential buyer's marketplace --particularly in the event that you advertise your house's cap rate and earnings potential.

Financial institutions trying to balance a dip in mortgages may opt to provide far better HELOC and house refinancing alternatives to expand their client base. Familiarizing yourself with vacation rental-specific market tendencies can help you determine whether the timing is right to purchase or sell.

4 Ways to Leverage Customer Feedback

4 Ways to Leverage Customer Feedback

If you have been putting off implementing a client feedback management policy, this is the perfect time to shift your attention away from new customers to enhancing existing customer experiences. Property management is one of the few industries that does best through referrals and word of mouth growth. Making sure your customers are happy puts you in the best position to grow. Some of the suggestions below are exactly how we do customer feedback at Latchel. The real important part is that you have some type of process implemented to act on customer feedback and continuously improve.

Online reviews and social recommendations frequently differentiate which brands grow and which ones languish and die. How do you get started? Start by requesting testimonials, and carefully tracking social media mentions and examine external sites.

It is easier than you might think. Did you know that asking someone if they believe they're a useful person, prior to asking them for a favor, boosts your chances of gathering survey data by more than 75%?

Why Property Management is Immune to Social Media

Why Property Management is Immune to Social Media

I recently read an article from Cal Newport on the pitfalls of social media. It is an interesting read that I summarize here in this article, but I think it is instructive to pair his thoughts on social media with the property management industry. Property management, unlike most other businesses, has remained a belly to belly business in every way.

Many of our customers at Latchel do most of their business at networking events, through referral partners, or through word of mouth referrals. Happy customers standing belly to belly, talking to other happy customers. The majority of Latchel’s business comes from referrals. Make customer’s happy, and the benefits will be huge.

Finding the Right Investment Partner

Finding the Right Investment Partner

Whether it's partnering for a single deal, a lot of deals, or an entire business, partnerships may provide immense gains -- but they can also pose substantial risk. In fact, the biggest reason most startups fail is… can you guess it? Founder’s quarrels.

I've seen partnerships that have enabled the individual partners to garner greater success than either of these might have attained individually. And I've seen partnerships that have blossomed into powerful long-term ventures that have lasted decades and made the partners both very wealthy. Personally, I’ve had a trusted partner in every business I’ve started. Some of you already know this about me, but Latchel is actually my 3rd business venture. In my first business, I launched a mobile ordering application with a friend from college. (We started as roommates and became best friends. The same way that I met my 3rd business partner Will Gordon, COO at Latchel.) In my 2nd business, I launched an e-commerce company that used Amazon FBA for fulfillment. We sold photography accessory products for smartphones. I launched that business with a co-worker turned best friend and we built that company to over $1MM in revenues in our first year.

10 Retail Predictions for 2019

10 Retail Predictions for 2019

1. Omni-Channel Plans Will Continue

2. Physical Store Resurgence

3. Bankruptcies Will Slow Down

4. The Big Challenges will be Structural

5. Consumer Preferences Will Change More Rapidly

6. Online Retailers Invest in Real Estate

7. Revamp of the Toy Market

8. Advantages in Big-Box Vacancies

9. Retailers Reduce Physical Footprint

10. The Grocery Sector Rapidly Change

Best Practices for Inheriting Tenants: Rent, Leasing, etc.

Best Practices for Inheriting Tenants: Rent, Leasing, etc.

When you buy a rental house, it might include tenants in place, and these renters will suddenly turn into YOUR tenants. These tenants are called "inherited tenants.” Inherited tenants may be valuable, as you won't have to immediately spend some time filling the empty unit, and you are going to be getting income from day one. But inherited tenants may also be insecure, since they weren't set in place by you personally, and you do not have a very clear sign of just how well they have been screened or which kind of tenant they are.

What's more, they could have been badly trained by the previous landlord and will have to get re-trained to follow your principles. The exception to the rule is that those renters will be totally perfect, and you will be grateful to have them.

How to Move Quickly to Sell Real Estate Investments?

How to Move Quickly to Sell Real Estate Investments?

Projected increasing interest rates have caused buyers to become more cautious in their purchasing choices, and, in many cases, sale cycles are taking more than in previous decades. For that reason, it's important to be tactical in correctly pricing assets for sale to appropriately engage prospective client interest.

The single-tenant net rental category continues to possess the largest transaction velocity and the maximum number of possible buyers looking for a trip to quality. These buyers especially want properties with new building, long-term corporate ensured leases, and internet-resistant tenants in great locations. They're also showing more willingness to get new investments nationally rather than in their local market.

Tax Strategies for Property Investors

Tax Strategies for Property Investors

As a property investor, there are loads of tax strategies available. Oftentimes, an investor can place themselves in such a manner that they don't pay any tax whatsoever on their current year earnings.

All of the below strategies are taken from a blog that I recently read from a CPA firm on real estate tax. They create tax strategies based on flexibility. Use flexibility to develop a simple tax plan that will save you money.

The general rule for implementing flexibility in your business or portfolio is that: the more information the better, and that information should be up-to-date.

9 Maintenance Issues that Tenant's Are Responsible For

9 Maintenance Issues that Tenant's Are Responsible For

Landlords cannot control how tenants live their lives, but they've the right to expect appropriate use of the possessions and care of the rental unit. Tenant’s must share some responsibility of maintenance problems. As a landlord or property manager, you should be clearly laying out what items a tenant is responsible for maintaining, so that when contractors must be sent out you have a clear way to bill tenant for misuse or neglect. Below are the 9 things that tenants should be responsible for in any well written lease:

Rental Agreements on Pets: Best Practices

Rental Agreements on Pets: Best Practices

Some landlords think that one pet is one too many in their rental home. If that is your policy, then that is that. But if you allow pets, then you need to have a strategy around how many to let in.

It would be obvious to say that two dogs and three cats, as an example, are a lot of pets to place on a lease. Not to mention the expense of the pet rent to the tenant. But unfortunately, there is not one simple answer for all scenarios. You have to choose how many pets that you will permit, along with guiding lines for how those pets should behave and interact with the lease agreement. You are in luck--here are six tips that will assist you determine the number of pets to let.

Your 6 Item To-Do List After Accepting or Denying a Tenant

Your 6 Item To-Do List After Accepting or Denying a Tenant

You'll have a 90% confidence of whether your prospective renter is deserving of your property after performing a background check and confirming the information listed on their rental application. On some occasions, you will get applications from several parties that qualify. You’re probably already using a tenant screening service like FinRet, but this article is about follow-up steps.

Tactics to Accomplish Your Big Goals Next Year

Tactics to Accomplish Your Big Goals Next Year

Accomplishment comes from action, not thought or talk. Nor can it be attained by wanting, hoping, or even just strategizing. Accomplishment is tactical. Dreaming of a goal is important, but in the end, accomplishment requires focused action. Fix, review, learn from previous errors, then take huge big actions again.

I'm so frequently astonished at the amount of folks who speak about ideas, but they truly translate into nothing. Saying something does not make it real unless you’re backing it with action, focus, and maybe most importantly time. Take new years goals, for example.

4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

You may not have your rental properties rented 100 percent of the time, but you ought to be looking to occupy them as fast as possible -- and for more reasons than simply losing out on lease income.

An abandoned property fast becomes an eyesore from negligence and is terrible for the rest of the neighborhood values, while a vacant property could be well preserved by the owner or manager.

However, even in the event that you decide to keep your house vacant, it is not ideal for maintenance and upkeep. This may sound counter intuitive, since tenants often cause different forms of wear and tear. However, the risks of a vacant property far outweigh the benefits as we’ll show below.

10 Tenant Red Flags to Keep an Eye Out For

10 Tenant Red Flags to Keep an Eye Out For

Want to avoid renter issues? Keep an eye out for these 10 tenant red flags and reduce your risk of choosing bad tenants.

Tenants who pay their rent on time and look after your investment property are gold. But you might have to sift through a lot of rubble first before you find them. It’s a good idea to have rigorous screening techniques in place, and look out for these tenant red flags to reduce the risk of choosing a bad tenant.

Keep in mind that not every red flag is obvious, so you’ll have to use your common sense and instincts. If you sense there are tenant warning signs, it’s best not to go there.

Creating Passive Rental Income Streams That Enhance Your Lifestyle

Creating Passive Rental Income Streams That Enhance Your Lifestyle

A couple years back, I had a fascinating conversation with a friend looking at property management. She was just getting started building a property portfolio to make a passive revenue stream. Before starting Latchel, I had build passive income businesses on Amazon’s platform, a little bit different than property investing, but we talked back and forth about how to start a passive income business. She wanted to know what milestones she should set for her own business for 5 years and 10 years down the road.

My response was not exactly what she anticipated.

She was approaching her business from the wrong mindset. When building a passive income business, I would not build my personal life around the businesses goals. Rather, I want to form my passive income streams around the life that I want to live.

A Letter to Your Tenants: 13 Things to Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

A Letter to Your Tenants: 13 Things to Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

The modern garbage disposal has been a tremendous boon for homeowners and renters worldwide. It provides a quick and sanitary way to dispose of food waste, keeping trash bags lighter and landfills from overflowing. Because of their simplicity and solid construction, disposals are workhorses, potentially grinding away year after year. But even this venerable appliance can choke on certain items. Here are 13 things to never put in your disposal if you want to keep it running smooth and your drains clog-free.

Reasons for a Down Housing Market by 2020

Reasons for a Down Housing Market by 2020

These should be happy times for the housing industry. The market is booming, with more people working at higher pay, and with the large millennial generation reaching prime home buying age.

Home prices haven't declined nationally, at least based on the most commonly followed indexes. However, their rate of growth has declined, and more and more home sellers are finding they need to reduce asking prices to discover a buyer.

Given how fundamental housing is to the wider economy -- it is the largest driver of both wealth and indebtedness for the majority of households, and its changes have regularly been significant factors in past booms and busts -- this recession is not something to be taken lightly for anybody hoping the good times will last.

When a Techie Invests in Real Estate... This Happens!

When a Techie Invests in Real Estate... This Happens!

Too much real estate advice is geared to the full time investor. How about the full time software engineer looking to make passive income? Ok, you don’t have to be a software engineer, but the point is, you have a full time job, you understand technology, and you want to create passive income streams in real estate. Here’s how you do it.

Do yourself a favor and bookmark this post because the manual is long--but it is definitely worth your time.

3 Ways To Succeed as a First Time Property Investor

3 Ways To Succeed as a First Time Property Investor

My family has been investing in real estate for several decades. My father made money and he lost money. I’ve put most of my investments into the software space, but vis-a-vis family, I've been really fortunate to get an inside look at what it takes to succeed as a property investor. All that experience has made me realize that you want to begin slow, small, and economical. The same way you’d build a software company.

Every first time property investor gets enthusiastic about investing and watching their capital grow. So they go and invest a whole great deal of money, they request their family and friends to provide them money, or they refinance the home in which they reside. They go out and buy a low quality, broken property attempting to replicate the TV shows they see on HGTV. Don’t be that person. Bad move, bad idea. So here are 3 ways to find success as a first time property investor.


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