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In the Midst of the Smart Home Craze, Don't Forget the Basics

By Jamie Richardson | November 26, 2019

Smart homes are all the rage these days. Buyers of all ages are looking for smart home technologies that make their properties more efficient, more comfortable, and safer. Even landlords are turning to technology to make their properties more attractive to the kind of tenants they hope to rent to. But is all of this attention on smart homes leading us to ignore other, more important things?

There are some basic elements separate from smart home technology that every property owner should pay attention to, whether a property is owned or leased. Moreover, many of the basics are not optional for landlords.

Do you own or rent a home for yourself? Are you a landlord that rents out residential properties to others? In either case, do yourself a favour and don't forget the basics even as you pursue the smart home craze. The basics are not negotiable while smart home technologies are.

Structural Integrity

The most fundamental aspect of any residential property is its structural integrity. Indeed, making a home smart is of very little value if its foundation is not sound. Smart lighting and appliances are all well and good until a leaky roof allows water in, water that damages the technology.

A home's structural engineering elements include its foundation, roof, doors, windows, and exterior walls. You might even include insulation depending on your perspective. These are the things that property owners should always put at the top of the priority list. Everything else follows structural integrity.

Property Mechanics

Second only to structural integrity is the condition of a property's mechanics. What are mechanics? They are things like plumbing, heating and cooling, and electric service. A property's mechanics are those internal components that make it liveable. Mechanics make a home both comfortable and safe.

Giving attention to mechanics is important because underlying problems can go unnoticed for lengthy periods of time. For example, there may be a leaky water pipe connected to the bathtub in the master bedroom. If the leak constitutes just a small drip, it could continue dipping for years before anyone notices. By that time the damage is done.

Whenever there is a change in tenancy, a thorough inspection is in order. In cases where tenants remain in the same space for years, inspections every year or two are still a good idea.

Overall Property Safety

Safety should always be a priority for property owners. From a personal standpoint, it is just not smart to compromise the safety of your family by not paying attention to simple things like exposed wires, peeling paint, cracked glass, etc. Safety is even more important when you are a landlord.

In some jurisdictions, rental properties are required by law to be equipped with things like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and even fire extinguishers. Such safety equipment can save lives whether a home is rented out or lived in by the owner.

This is a good point to mention that cost should have little bearing on a property owner's commitment to safety. Property owners can obtain good smoke and carbon monoxide detectors without spending a fortune.

Property Security

Hand-in-hand with overall safety is the concept of property security. Unfortunately, security is not something that can be ignored in the modern era. It is too easy for criminals to break into homes, go into unlocked cars, and so forth. Security has to be taken just as seriously as safety, mechanics, and structural integrity.

Where things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are effective solutions for safety issues, a wireless security system represents the most effective means of keeping a property secure. The most effective systems do more than just make noise, though.

Effective wireless security starts with sensors for doors and windows combined with 24-hour remote monitoring. From there, it's wise to add at least several video surveillance cameras as well. Finally, are smart devices like video doorbells and electronic door locks. A well-designed security system acts as a great deterrent against those who would seek to commit property crimes.

There is little doubt that smart homes are the wave of the future. Thanks to technology that seems to only get better, homes are becoming more efficient and secure with each passing day. If you own residential property, feel free to embrace the smart home movement. But do not forget that a smart home has its limits. No smart home is worth investing in without adequate structural integrity, sound mechanics, and a good selection of safety and security features.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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