With a tap on a smartphone, more and more apartment renters are getting a taste of some of the conveniences once reserved for luxury homeowners. Home automation systems can remotely control temperature, lights, shades, and music; turn security systems on and off; open and close garage doors; and lock and unlock doors.
“It can even flush your toilets if you want. It can expand to that level,” said Noah Ostroff, a developer, operator of the Keller Williams Philly brokerage, and board member of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.
It used to be that smart-home technology a la The Jetsons was just for tech-savvy early adopters looking for convenience by using gadgets in their single-family houses. But as the technology has gotten cheaper and easier to use, more property owners and developers are putting it in apartments and condos to attract and retain residents.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve talked about the amenities arms race in multi-unit development,” said George Hayward, a senior director of development for South Carolina-based Greystar, a global owner, operator, and developer of rental housing. “That competition has transitioned from a cool club room or great pool to much more technology-focused.”
Because technology evolves quickly, Greystar focuses on its ability to be flexible with whatever comes next, which means being in tune with what matters most to residents and not basing construction or design on specific technology, Hayward said.