Property management from your phone? Smart-home tech can help with that.
Smart Home

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Property management from your phone? Smart-home tech can help with that. Radha Herring, broker in charge at Watermark Real Estate Group in Myrtle Beach, S.C., receives alerts on her phone to flag potential problems with the beachfront home she owns and manages.

For managers and owners of short-term rentals, “technology has made it so much easier to manage properties,” Herring says. “Even remotely, you can make sure that a property is maintained at a high level.”

Smart locks: Older models had pushbutton codes that couldn’t easily be changed. Newer models, such as Schlage Smart Locks and Yale Assure, allow you to provide a new code for each new guest or contractor.

Security system: Systems such as those from Ring Alarm or SimpliSafe allow for add-ons like outdoor cameras and sensors. Get an alert when people approach the property or try to sneak into the pool.

Smart thermostats: Reduce utility bills with remote control of temperature settings and schedules. Some models, such as those from Honeywell and Nest, can work in tandem with a security system to alert you to red flags, such as when the home’s temperature is too high.

Smart lights: Smart lightbulbs, including those from Philips Hue and C by GE, can help property managers control lights to prepare for guests’ arrival.

Water sensors: These sensors can be placed on a floor, under or near appliances like the sump pump, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and sinks. They can send alerts when they detect excess moisture, helping to avoid small leaks and broken pipes. Sample products include Alert Labs’ Floodie and Alloy Smart Home Leak Sensor.

Outdoor solutions: Pool sensors such as WaterGuru’s Sense monitor the acidity and chlorine levels of a pool. They can be used to track and, in some cases, adjust levels remotely. And with smart irrigation systems, such as those from Rachio and Netro, you can set schedules for lawn care, factoring in weather conditions or the moisture content of the soil.

A strong Wi-Fi connection is critical for both guest use and the smooth operation of the devices. Herring recommends 1GB of service. Also, it’s important to disclose all the monitoring technology in use—especially any video equipment—so guests are aware, she says.