The Smartest Apartments on the Block
Apartment operators stand out with home automation tech.
As Alexa, Siri and Google literally become household names, smart home technology is quickly emerging as a differentiator in today’s apartment market. Residents now expect to be able to interact with their apartments via their smart phone or smart speaker, whether it’s to accept a package, lower their thermostat or unlock the door.
“Tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Google have really increased consumer awareness of this technology, to the point that residents are beginning to expect a fully connected apartment,” says Mike Karol, Vice President of National Accounts at Houston-based Maintenance Supply Headquarters, which supplies building and maintenance materials to the apartment industry. “Controlling lights and thermostats, locking doors and turning security systems on and off are uses we’re seeing more and more.”
Indeed, apartment operators say smart features are a differentiator in today’s market. “We were looking for an amenity to set us apart, that would present a value to both our residents and us,” says Stephanie Graves, CEO of Houston-based Q10 Property Advisors, which manages 2,000 units. “We chose Schlage electronic key fob entry locks for the apartments. Our residents just love it.”
Beyond loving it, they’ll also pay for it—Q 10 sees ancillary income from selling the app to residents, while the electronic access makes logging access and maintenance visits a breeze. “It’s truly been win-win,” says Graves.
At HM Equity, an operator of 2,000 units across nine communities throughout Texas, adding smart home technology has also made a difference, both in ancillary income and the firm’s marketing advantage.
“People want their lives made easier, and if you can provide that, they will pay you for it,” says David Vasquez, Construction Director at HM Equity. “If you strive to be the first on the block to offer it, people will talk about it. Smart home technology is your best marketing friend.”