Property Management Blog

The Role of Smart Home Technology in Modern Indianapolis Rentals

Michael Taylor - Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Role of Smart Home Technology in Modern Indianapolis Rentals - Article Banner

Successful Indianapolis investors are attuned to market shifts and trends in tenant behavior. If you’ve been paying attention at all over the last few years to what tenants want in a rental home, you have likely noticed that they’re prioritizing ease and convenience. They want smart home technology.

Smart home technology can increase your property value

It can increase your rental value, too. 

It can also make your Indianapolis rental home more attractive to high-quality tenants

Those are some very good reasons to provide smart home tech. 

You can quickly fall down a rabbit hole, however, trying to decide which tech features are essential and which are potentially unnecessary. There’s also an investment required; you’ll have to spend some money if you want to make your property tech-friendly and ready to sync with systems and platforms that tenants will bring into the home. 

Privacy concerns can be an issue, too. 

We’ll cover all of the advantages and potential challenges of smart home technology and talk about its role in modern Indianapolis rental homes. 

Smart Home Technology Means What, Exactly?

Maybe you’re an early adopter, or maybe you’re still using a Blackberry. 

Wherever you fall on the spectrum of technology comfort, you’re surely aware that smart home technology has arrived and many people are using it in their homes. You might be using it in your home without even realizing it. Do you have one of those robot vacuums that takes itself across your floors without being pushed? That’s pretty smart. 

The point is, that smart home technology covers a lot of systems, functions, and things. You want to balance actual value against simply trying to keep up with the neighbors. 

The smart in smart home technology is actually an acronym:






Even if you don’t realize you already have smart home technology in your own home, you have no doubt used GPS recently in order to get from one point to another. Are you looking something up on Google in that little device that you hold in your palm (it’s supposed to be a telephone, ha)? 

All of that is smart. 

When we are discussing smart home devices and technology, we’re talking about building maintenance systems that are automated. We mean adjustable thermostats, security cameras, door locks, digitally capable appliances, lighting, and music systems that sync to phones. 

When internet-enabled appliances and devices can be automatically controlled remotely using a networked device, you have smart home technology. 

More and more homeowners are using it to make their lives easier, more convenient, and even more comfortable

Now, Indianapolis tenants want the same luxury. 

And it’s not even about luxury, not really. These days, it’s about access. 

Exploring Different Types of Smart Home Technology

Smart Home Techonology

If you’re renting out a property in Indianapolis and you want to make sure it’s competitive on the market, think about installing some smart home tech to attract modern tenants and provide a high-tech space. You have options when it comes to how much smart home technology you make available to your tenants. 

Remember: This isn’t required. Smart home tech does not equal habitability.

But, if you want to be more competitive in the Indianapolis market, and if you want to attract great tenants and increase what you charge in rent, you’ll think about making at least some of this available in your rental home. 

Wondering what to install and how can you prioritize the different types of technology that are available? We’ve put together a quick guide that will show you some of the most common smart home devices found in rental properties: 

Smart Locks

Smart locks are an excellent idea, and not only do tenants love them, they’re also a benefit to you as an owner. When you don’t have to make multiple keys, you can grant immediate access to tenants remotely or with a code. You can change the code between tenants or when you have a vendor showing up to complete work. Forget the hassle of lost keys or rekeying the property between tenants. 

Smart locks can be especially valuable during the leasing and showing process. Self-showing technology is extremely beneficial to tenants and owners because it moves the leasing process along more efficiently. Look for a smart lock that includes a programmable keypad or a lockbox. You can also download an app to unlock doors.

Video Doorbells

Video doorbells have been around for a while, and they’re pretty much everywhere. Drive through any residential neighborhood in and around Indianapolis, and you’ll notice video doorbells on a large number of front doors. They’re showing up in multifamily properties as well. These can benefit tenants when it comes to safety, security, package tracking, and ease. 

With a video doorbell installed on the front door, tenants will be able to see who is outside of their house and who might be approaching the property. Exterior cameras like those on a doorbell can also help keep a home secure when it’s vacant. Video doorbells have been used to catch criminals and to avoid solicitors. Tenants appreciate the technology, and owners can benefit from this as well. When your property is vacant, you can keep eyes on the property. 

Smart Lighting

The benefits of smart lighting in your Indianapolis rental home are clear from the start. With this type of lighting, your tenants can personalize the lighting inside and outside of the home to fit any mood or activity. It also allows your tenants to set smart space automation schedules that synchronize with their daily routines. 

In addition to providing a personalized illumination experience, smart lighting can save money on electric bills. Energy efficiency is another priority of modern tenants, so conserving energy will be a huge benefit. Smart lighting also makes your home look better, and tenants will appreciate the aesthetics. 

Smart lighting will make better use of natural light, decrease energy usage, and provide a calmer, prettier environment for your residents.

Smart Thermostats

If a thermostat can connect to Wi-Fi (or Z-Wave, a smart-home-specific wireless standard), we consider it “smart.”

Like lighting, the smart thermostats you install can help tenants conserve energy, reduce their electric bills, and live greener. Smart thermostats can intuitively decide when to cool or heat a room, depending on its temperature and whether anyone is home. These can be programmed for time of day as well. Settings might change depending on the time of day, and whether it’s a Saturday or a Tuesday.

A variety of models are available, ranging from basic thermostats that simply let you adjust the temperature from an app through high-end models from the popular Google Nest and Ecobee lines that learn habits and routines to save money on energy while keeping homes at a desirable temperature for tenants.

Smart Security Systems

Security is important to you, your tenants, and the value of your property. Investing in smart home technology that makes your building or your property safer will really provide long-term benefits that go beyond the needs of your current tenants. 

Not only can you increase the rent you charge, you also have a chance to reduce your operating expenses. During vacancies, the security systems you’ve installed can ensure your property isn’t a target for criminals who sense an opportunity in an empty home. 

Security systems can also be great for a tenant’s sense of security. A lot of the available security systems are expensive to install and they often require long-term contracts. You may want to offer the system but require the tenants to pay the monthly charge or activation fees. Making the tech available is often the extent of a landlord’s responsibility. Tenants can take it as far as they want. They’ll appreciate having the option.

Syncing to Siri and Alexa

Voice-activated assistants have become completely normalized, whether we’re talking about homes, cars, phones, or even watches. No one thinks it’s strange to hear someone start a sentence with ‘Hey Siri…’ Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are features that many tenants are already using. Allowing those systems to sync with your smart home availability can help streamline and centralize all the other technology that may be available. 

Smart home technology can also extend to things that tenants might want to move in with. Consumers are buying smart vacuums, smart blenders, smart toasters, and other smart appliances that seem to think for themselves.

Each tenant might have their own preferences when it comes to smart home technology. If you provide a hub, or a central command center for all smart home devices, your tenants can bring their own. Voice commands and remote controls through phones and apps will sync the hub to the various speakers, tablets, televisions, and computers that the tenant moves into your rental home. 

How to Offer Customized Smart Home Tech to Your Indianapolis Tenants

Offer Customize Smart Home Tech

Not every system is going to work for every tenant. 

So, before you begin making investments in some of the things we’ve talked about, consider who you’ll be renting to and what they might want or not want. This is a good way to really stand out in the rental market. You’ll be providing a rental experience that’s customized to the tenants who are moving in. Smart home technology enhances tenant experience by providing greater customization of household systems. Tenants might want to adjust lighting to match their preferences in the day and the evening. They might want to play music in different rooms. Maybe they want extra hot or just lukewarm temperatures in certain tubs and showers, depending on who is bathing there.

Providing tenants with the option to customize their living space makes them feel more at home and encourages them to stay in place longer. Moreover, providing customization can help property owners differentiate their rental properties from the rest of the rental market, providing a competitive edge.

How to Install Smart Home Tech: What to Know

Before purchasing any smart devices for your Indianapolis investment property, you want to make sure that they will be compatible with each other. You also want to know that tenants can manage them from one central app or device. 

We always recommend that you aim for simplicity. Tenants want convenience, and you don’t want daily calls about the tech not working. Let’s not overcomplicate the user experience. Get something that’s reputable and affordable, but make sure it’s easy to understand, install, and manage. 

Professional installation can also be beneficial, especially for security-related devices. For simpler plug-and-play gadgets, you or a handy tenant may be able to handle the setup. But, if you are the sort who struggles to switch from Netflix to cable on your television set, a professional installation may be safer and more cost effective. 

Benefits: Smart Home Technology Can be Cost-Effective

We’re going to take a look at several of the benefits to having smart-home technology in your rental home, but what we want to point out first is something very important since we know that many real estate investors are rightfully focused on what they spend and earn. 

Implementing smart home technology is an excellent investment for rental property owners in Indianapolis because although the technology itself requires an investment, it’s actually cost-effective to install and maintain.

You will increase your property’s rental value, and you’ll also find yourself with a more valuable asset altogether. Additionally, the enhanced security and energy efficiency features of smart home technology can help to reduce maintenance and utility costs, making rental properties more profitable in the long run.

Additional Pros and Cons of Smart Home Technology in Indianapolis Rental Homes

Pros and Cons of Smart Home Technology

Smart Home technology will increase your rental value and the value of your investment, as we have already discussed. And, we’ve also told you that we believe, as Indianapolis property managers, that you’ll also attract some great tenants by providing features they’re looking for in a home. However, there are some unique challenges as well to rental homes that adopt this sort of technology. 

We have some additional benefits and challenges for you to consider before you make any decisions:

Smart Home Technology for Indianapolis Rental Homes

Pro List

Better security. Your investment property is better protected when you have smart home technology in place This is true whether the home is occupied or vacant. Unoccupied properties look like opportunities to thieves and troublemakers, leaving your investment vulnerable. But, when you have smart home systems installed to track and even record the people coming and going, you’ll have fewer risks while it’s vacant. It’s like having eyes on the property when you have a video camera or a video doorbell. Occupied properties are also safer, which is a huge benefit to tenants. Security systems often result in lower insurance costs for all parties.

Easier turnovers. You’ll find the turnover process moves more quickly when you have smart home technology installed, particularly with smart locks. There may be less deterioration and wear and tear to clean up too, thanks to certain smart home technology that allows for easier maintenance. Your own costs will decrease when lights and temperature are managed by these systems when no tenant is in place and you’re paying out-of-pocket for such things.

Energy costs may be lower. This is a benefit for both tenants and owners. If you pay for utilities, you’re saving money. If tenants pay for utilities, you’re making a good selling point during your marketing and your lease negotiations.

Smart Home Technology for Indianapolis Rental Homes

Con List

There’s a significant upfront cost. You’ll likely find that these systems, even the most affordable among them, cost some money to install. You don’t have to spend a lot; a good smart thermostat can be less than a hundred dollars. And while you don’t have to install all the smart home tech that’s available, even putting in a video doorbell will cost you money. Budget for this.

Wi-Fi will need to be enabled. These systems are smart because of the internet connection; it’s how the smart systems work. You’ll have to enable Wi-Fi at the rental property, which can be complicated if you expect tenants to set up their own internet accounts. 

Privacy concerns may be an issue. This isn’t terribly common because smart home tech is so popular and in high demand. But, you might come across a population of tenants who may not want these things installed in their home, for fear you’ll be watching or listening. 

Smart home technology can enhance tenant experience in Indianapolis rental homes. As property management experts, we like the automation of home systems, advanced security features, mobile control, and remote access. We’ve found it leads to a better rental experience with greater customization and cost-effectiveness. 

Now that you have a good amount of information, let’s decide what kind of upgrades and updates you want to make. Smart home technology needs to be a balancing act. If you’d like some help working through the particulars, contact us at Red Door Property Management. We’d be happy to discuss the pros and the cons further, as they pertain to your specific investment property.