Smart Homes: The Real Deal for Outer Banks Vacation Rentals

OBX Smart Home Technology

The Internet of Things (IOT) has been discussed for years; the connection and control of all kinds of devices through the internet.  It is now easier than ever to employ home automation in your Outer Banks home using a smart phone or tablet.

Vacation rental properties are an ideal application for home automation.  Precisely due to the distance most owners are from their property, the Internet of Things provides peace of mind that the property is safe and secure by being able to monitor the property remotely. 

Now, more than ever, technology can help remote owners’ manager their vacation rental as a VRBO without the use of a dedicated Property Manager.  As a home owner, there are many systems and platforms available to use to manage and monitor your home systems.  

OBX Smart Home Features

If your home is professionally managed by a Property Management Company, you will typically have to use most, if not all of the systems they use to allow them to manage all the properties from a central console.  If you do not use a Property Management Company then you have more home automation devices to choose from. Nevertheless, even if your property is actively managed by a company, they can’t be everywhere all the time.  Security and remote monitoring of your vacation property is a key benefit of these systems.  If you use VRBO, Airbnb or other vacation hosting services to rent to guests, being able to control the home remotely provides a key advantage.  You can adjust the thermostat right before the guests’ arrival, welcoming them to a warm or cool home while also saving energy.

Home automation can help your vacation rental stand out among the competition.  Guests that don’t have automated devices in their home are curious to try out the technology and are likely to choose your home over an unconnected alternative. 

There are several categories of home automation useful to the owner who manages their own property.  Many of these are also useful to an owner occupied home.  If you plan to automate several areas then you must select devices compatible with each other and connected to a hub, like Wink Hub2 or Apple’s HomeKit platform that provides voice control through Siri.

Keyless Entry – Smart Locks

A keyless entry system is essential.  Your guests will appreciate not having to stop and pick up keys.  You will appreciate the simplicity of generating a code rather than arranging delivery of keys for an afterhours check-in.  Many of these systems work with wifi, so you should have reliable internet to avoid any Snafus (or a backup key for emergencies).  A keyless entry system also allows you to control entry for cleaners, maintenance technicians and any other service personnel.  Many will also create a log showing entry and exits.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats will save you money.  One of the leading products available at big box stores is Nest.  These systems are designed to achieve the preferred temperature in the most efficient manner.  You can set a range of values allowed to provide comfort to guests without exceeded a reasonable temperature.  These systems allow you to turn down the setting when the home is not occupied and turn it up to welcome guests before their arrival.  Many systems will monitor the humidity levels and allow you to check the status of the system remotely.  No longer will you wonder if the cleaner remembered to re-set the thermostat once they finished cleaning.  They can also prompt you to perform maintenance like changing filters. 

Sensors

Sensors are used to monitor a range of conditions.  For example, a sensor on a doors or windows can trigger when left open to turn off the HVAC for heating or cooling.  How often do renters leave the door open with the A/C running full blast?  Often enough that installing a sensor to tell the thermostat to turn off after x minutes of the door being left open can save a significant amount of money.

Sensors can also be used to detect flooding or freezing conditions and will then alert you to the condition of the home after a storm or other event.

Some of these devices will also allow you to monitor noise levels, air quality and listen for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.  This could alert homeowners that guests were smoking in the home or having a loud party.

OBX Smart Home Features

Smart Lighting

One advantage to smart lighting is being able to turn the lights on for guests who are arriving late.  These systems also allow guests to control the intensity, direction, pattern and color of the lighting.  One “gee wiz” feature is the ability to sync lighting to music. 

Home Security

Home security systems allow you to protect your home while it is vacant.  Crime and break-ins are more likely to happen during the off-season and having a security system can provide tremendous peace of mind to homeowners.  These systems usually require a hub and can also notify you when there is a fire, carbon monoxide leak, flood and other issues.

Video

Vacation home owners who rent their property should use caution when implementing video.  Many guests would object to being videoed while using the pool and other spaces.  Front-entry cameras are best for playing it safe.  State laws vary, but most have some type of “video voyeurism” laws ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. One option is to remove the cameras during the rental season and re-install during the off season.  In most instances, you won’t have to deal with any trouble over a Front-Entry IP Camera.

More Devices

The smart home or home automation trend is quickly gaining traction.  New devices are coming to market every day with no end in sight.  Chances are, there is already a device out there to meet your need.

Smart switches can allow you to turn just about anything you plug into them to be “smart”.  You will have to use IFTTT (If this, then that) to create the automation script for items plugged in.

There are smart devices for cooking, like the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker or the Char-broil digital electric smoker to the Perfect Bake Pro.

There are devices for cleaning.  Robot vacuums have been around for a while but now provide prospects with quite the selection, including some that will even mop your floor. There are sprinkler controllers, even lawn mowers.

Increasingly, when shopping for replacement items for your home like garage doors, smoke detectors, or flood lights, you will be confronted with smart home options at almost the same price point as their non-smart counterparts.  As the technology advances and artificial intelligence is integrated, our devices will learn to adapt to our needs and learn about their environment for even more efficient operation.

Interested in a smart home but don’t know how to get started?  Don’t hesitate to contact your Outer Banks Boutique Real Estate Team at Eillu to discuss your needs and explore your alternatives.  All Homes by Eillu are built with the latest Smart Home Technology. We incorporate energy efficiency and smart home technology with timeless style for a home that will remain comfortable and elegant for decades to come. With the help of accomplished designers, engineers and an experienced construction team, we continue to develop and build the most desired homes in the Outer Banks. Exquisite style and taste are apparent in each home, distinctively designed and built with the care our clients deserve. All our homes are provided with construction warranties to give our customer “peace of mind” with their most important investment.

Yes, You Can Expect More With Eillu!