Home Automation and How It Benefits Your Furnished Housing Options

Corporate housing

If you are the owner of furnished housing or you rent furnished apartments to corporate clients, you might already know that such clients need the best in terms of internet connectivity and modern innovations. They need high speed and high volume data options. They require consistent service and may even want a home office. But, is that all that your corporate or extended stay clients want and need?

Think of Home Automation as Added Value…and Revenue

In a CHBO article, we looked at the IoT or Internet of Things and how home automation can add value to a property – as long as you intend to leave it behind when you sell it, of course. In the article, the tech-loving author said, “From the iPad stations (there were three, one on each floor), you could control the Philips Hue lights in each room, adjust the Nest thermostats to the perfect temperature, view footage of the Dropcam at the front door and many other incredibly cool and useful features. You could also do all of this on your smartphone or from your computer. In the end, we chose another house… because the realtor told us that the owner planned to take it all with him.”

So, if the tech friendly buyers want homes because of automation, you can easily see that your furnished housing clients might want it too.

That means we need to review the basic idea of automation before moving forward. It is not a complex term to define and is currently the “ability to control lighting, shading, heating, cooling and security from a smartphone or computer”. Naturally, it requires that you have the different components that cooperate with one another to enable such controls, and the good news is that the technologies associated with automation are dropping in price even s you read this.

And while you might believe it may not offer great returns to those who rent furnished apartments to corporate clients, think again. After all, home sales have already started to reflect the interest and even the standardization of automation. As we mentioned in an earlier article about the emergence of automation, “sales figures show a growth projection of around $9.5 billion by 2015, and $44 billion by 2017 according to wireless industry group GSMA. That’s a clear sign that more and more people will be adopting home automation into their lifestyles, and likely looking for it when they move into a new home.” And when they rent furnished housing for an extended stay.

What Sort of Automation Should Appear in Furnished Housing?

So, you want to rent furnished apartments and homes with automation. This is a wise move, but only if done in the right way. You want it to meet a few key criteria. This includes:

  • Being simple and user friendly to those who rent the furnished housing
  • You need it to be controllable at your end at all times, too (i.e. it has to be accessible from outside of the premises)
  • It needs to be expandable or adaptable to enable future improvements/additions such as appliances and other fixtures
  • It needs to be able to be shut down easily and also remotely
  • It should be a devoid of additional fees as possible
  • It should, ultimately save you money and allow those who rent furnished apartments and homes to enjoy optimal comfort and privacy

That seems like a lot to accomplish, but it is actually easier than ever and is actually an added value for those who are about to rent your furnished housing.

Furnished apartments

The Basics

When you rent furnished apartments or homes to corporate clients, you can assume that they already have a measure of comfort and skill with technology. Yet, you still need to make the automation as simple and appealing as possible. You can do that by:

  • Using dedicated touch screens on each level, this could be via an iPad or other tablet, but many systems now include dashboards for easy use. Be sure that your systems are also entirely compatible with smartphones and feature apps that renters of your furnished housing can use
  • Focus your choices on cost-cutting items first. If you rent furnished apartments or homes, consider things like smart thermostats, automatic window dressings or blinds, and appliances and lights that can be activated via the dashboards and the mobile devices. For example, hot water heaters that you can turn on and off when the properties are vacant, coffee makers that can be controlled via mobile device, and so on.
  • Use privately owned and dedicated systems for your automation. Though it can be tempting to invest in systems that have monthly fees for management, you can easily invest in a home “hub” and manually add and control almost every feature, function and element. This can even include security cameras and other unique items. The only exception is home security, which can still be done affordably by purchasing components up front but then paying the monitoring firm an affordable monthly rate.
  • Ensure easy troubleshooting – Let’s say there is a problem with automation in your furnished housing unit. It should be simple for the renter to disable the system or a segment of it without a lot of difficulty or relying on you to do so. If you rent furnished apartments or homes and have someone handling day to day operations, your renters may still have to wait for support if an automation issue occurs. To avoid any major problems, just allow user-end disconnection to enable your furnished housing to remain functional with or without automation active.

Book Furnished Rental from CHBO

Whether you rent furnished apartments or single-family furnished housing, the issue of automation is likely to crop up more and more often. People have started to expect a certain level of modernization. That could be due to the rise of sites like Airbnb in which many steps are automated, particularly key exchanges and communications. That is all well and fine, but your furnished housing clients will greatly appreciate automation that makes their lives more convenient, and not just yours. Consider the suggestions here and start to rent furnished apartments and homes that are the most advanced on the market.

Virtual Tours and Your Corporate Rental

virtual tour

Do you know how to properly photograph your fully furnished rentals to their best advantage? Most property owners are unfamiliar with the long list of tips and tricks that can make even a small room look amazing. While we don’t recommend that you ever try to use a bit of visual trickery to enhance the appearance of a corporate rental (as this could lead to a negative review), we strongly urge anyone with fully furnished rentals to do their best to photograph them effectively.

It is why CHBO offers clients access to professional photographers for their corporate rental listings, and why virtual tours are also strongly recommended. In fact, you can use the site as your one-stop resource for the best photos and YouTube and online videos that give website visitors a virtual tour of the entire property.

Is it worth the effort? In an article from a few years ago, we mentioned that “81% of U.S. tenants use Virtual Tours as a resource when they are considering a rental property. And that only 15% tour the property in-person.” In that same article, we went over the reasons that your property listings for fully furnished rentals shouldn’t really be considered complete without that sort of enhanced view of the property.

Online Open House

As we pointed out, not all potential renters have the ability to pay a real world visit. In fact, since you are offering a corporate rental, the renter may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The use of the virtual tour gives them a very realistic experience of a walk through, and allows them to get an accurate feel of the entire space.

This could be the key to having your fully furnished rentals booked more regularly than listings with only a few static, still shots. In the article on virtual tours, we explained that you could use a smartphone or video device to do your own walk through and then just use the YouTube site to create a link to your tour. You can also use dedicated apps that offer panoramic views.

virtual tour

The point here is that whether you choose the DIY options with apps or rely on the full services of a firm like CHBO, it is important to use virtual tours for any corporate rental. Give yourself a bit of an advantage, let your clients get a more accurate experience of the property, and see how just that little bit of time and effort can really pay off with more frequent rentals.

How to Avoid Rental Scams in Your Furnished Housing Properties

corporate housing scams

No one likes admitting when they have been scammed, and even more so when that scam has led to serious financial losses. Rental scams are the worst of these scenarios because there are so many ways that you might avoid them. Yet, when an individual or even an organization does manage to obtain furnished housing rentals from you, and then proves to be a scam, you might wish to pretend it never happened and move on. Is that a good idea? In a word: No. Instead, it’s a great idea to share details about any rental scams with others, and help improve the whole furnished housing industry for the many investors out there.

Below are some of our biggest tips for identifying rental scams and avoiding the culprits. We share them because we have experienced many ourselves, as you can read about in this previous article, and others.

Corporate Housing Scams

Red Flags

Here are the biggest and easiest to spot of the proverbial “red flags” that indicate your furnished housing is being targeted by a scammer:

They don’t complete the rental application – No blanks allowed should be your new motto. And even if the “name” given is a corporation, don’t just accept it. Do the research and find out all that you can, including full details about the individual actually seeking their “corporate” housing. This also applies if someone refuses to submit the rental credit application. It could be that they have a history of scams, really horrible credit or are unable to actually afford the rental. If someone refuses the credit check…refuse the application.

Incomplete data – The forms may seem to be complete, but don’t overlook a very common scam, which is to leave numbers (social security, credit card and phone numbers to be precise) incomplete. You can also ask for copies of documents like a driver’s license if you fear that an identity might not be all that authentic.

They’re in a hurry – They want that property of yours and they want it yesterday! This is one of the best types of rental scams because it forces you to rush into the deal, and these are often deals that end up costing you. Take your time, no matter what amount is at stake.

Differing stories – Have you gotten mixed messages from someone or some firm seeking your furnished housing? Maybe one person has spoken with you and someone who helps you at your business? Maybe you’ve gotten someone who wants nothing on paper or written down (i.e. all kinds of verbal agreements)? Maybe they tell you one thing during their first call and something else during another? If a story changes, even a little, it is probably scam related.

Cash offers – Finally, we once covered the issue of cash offers as rental scams. This too is a major red flag to be avoided.

Now you have some of our most recognizable scams and can dodge the worst offenders out there.