As a short-term rental (STR) investor, your properties are your bread and butter. Anything that happens to them also happens to your income stream -- for better or for worse.
Naturally, you want to safeguard those STRs as much as possible. That means adequately securing the property, staying on top of maintenance and, most of all, steering clear of bad renters.
It sounds like a tall order, but thanks to the growing home technology sector, there are more tools to help than ever.
Want to protect your short-term rentals from bad guests, break-ins, water leaks, and even city noise violations? Here are seven technologies that can help you do it:
1. NoiseAware: For discouraging partying and keeping noise levels manageable
Don’t want wild parties destroying your property (or your reputation with the neighbors)? NoiseAware can help.
The system monitors noise in the home, looking specifically for high decibel levels, noise acceleration, and extended noise consistency. Some investors say they’ve used the tool -- which looks like a smoke detector -- to refute false noise complaints (and the associated fines) with the city.
Some cities, including New Orleans and Henderson, Nev., are even requiring the tech in all STRs.
2. Flo: For preventing plumbing leaks that can cost you big
Plumbing leaks -- even the smallest ones -- can equate to serious lost cash (not to mention property damage) over time. With Flo, you can kiss leaks goodbye.
Flo helps identify indoor and outdoor leaks across the entire property and offers proactive maintenance alerts to ensure your plumbing’s in tip-top shape at all times. In the event a pipe bursts or a leak occurs, you can use Flo to shut off your water remotely. An even better perk? Flo’s app lets you monitor your property’s water use down to the gallon so you can keep utility bills in check all year round.
3. Autohost: For pre-screening STR tenants
Bad renters threaten both your property and your reputation within the community -- so steering clear of them early on is critical. With Autohost, doing that is easy.
The tool pre-screens guests and analyzes overall risks within reservations. Its proprietary algorithm takes into account a whole slew of factors, including how likely the guest is to throw a party, take part in criminal activity, damage the property, and more. It can even help prevent credit card fraud and costly chargebacks.
4. Notion: For staving off snooping
Want to keep guests out of the garage, the liquor cabinet, or another off-limits part of the house? Notion can do that.
These tiny sensors help you keep tabs on what opens, what closes, and where activity’s happening within the home. It can also help with security by monitoring when windows and garage doors open, and it has built-in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to safeguard your guests from harm.
5. FreshAir: For discouraging smoking
The smell of smoke is nearly impossible to eradicate entirely, and no-smoking policies can only go so far. Enter FreshAir, a new tool that monitors for tobacco and marijuana smoke and alerts you before the problem worsens.
Just install the sensors behind an outlet plate -- if someone smokes on the property, you’ll be notified of when and where it’s happening. Alerts can come via email or a mobile push notification.
6. RemoteLock: For controlling access to your property
With RemoteLock, you can secure your properties while easing the check-in process (and eliminating tedious key exchanges).
Choose from several keypad-enabled locks and use a handy app to generate temporary access codes for any new guests. You can also monitor entries and exits and generate a report once a guest checks out. If you have multiple properties, you can manage multiple RemoteLocks from the same dashboard. It also integrates directly with the Airbnb platform.
7. Nest and Ecobee: For keeping heating and cooling costs in check
When they’re not footing the bill, renters can be tempted to crank up the A/C or keep it running even when they're away. Unfortunately, most property owners aren’t aware of the issue until the monthly bill comes (long after the guest has checked out).
With smart thermostats like Ecobee and Nest, you can monitor your properties’ temperatures in real-time. You can set temperature schedules, control the thermostat from your phone, and configure auto-adjustments when the property is unoccupied -- even just temporarily.
The bottom line
Keeping your properties safe, secure, and out of reach from bad renters is critical if you want success in the short-term rental game. Fortunately, technology is making this easier than ever.
Take time to research the many tech tools on the market and invest in ones that can help safeguard your properties (and your bottom line) for the long haul.