Smart Home Technology: Worth the Investment?

Smart home technology is convenient and undeniably cool – but is it worth the investment?

While for some, futuristic homes conjure images of George Jetson, for others integrating smart technology into the home just makes sense in light of current trends.

For owners of rental and/or resort properties, smart home technology offers some unique benefits. By and large, most property owners live an inconvenient distance away from their property location. Therefore, the ability to maintain hands-on control of access and other features make smart technology extremely attractive.  

Pros and Cons of Smart Home Technology

Home automation and smart technology contribute mightily to a home’s convenience, security, and comfort. Here are some positive and negative aspects of home automation and smart technology:


  • Save Money – Smart homes on average are 30% cheaper to operate than conventional homes. This is realized savings due to better water, temperature, and lighting management.
  • Easy to Use – Smart technology is designed with the end-user in mind. Systems are simple to understand and use. No special training or manuals are required.
  • Convenience – Self-managing appliances, automated lighting, and integrated sound help make life easy. Time saved from small things adds up and allows more time for more valuable pursuits or added relaxation.
  • Security – Door sensors can immediately inform you if a door is opened while no one is home. Keyless entry systems allow for greater security when properties are placed with vacation rental management companies. Some systems can alert you to visitors at the door and you can even speak with them remotely.


  • Expense – Smart technology is more expensive than conventional options, from replacement parts to installation costs.
  • Reliability – Electronic signals can sometimes confuse your smart home systems. Hardwired systems are more reliable, but they are very costly.
  • Online vulnerability –  Smart home technology is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Systems can be hacked, passwords stolen, and control lost.

What are the Costs of Smart Home Technology?

Most home automation experts estimate the cost of smart home technology to fall between 1-5% of the total price of the home. Obviously, systems can cost substantially more or quite less, depending on the options chosen. No two smart homes are alike. Different property owners have different needs and preferences.

While most homeowners and property owners can install plug-in systems, professional installations, as in the case of hard-wired systems, average $85 per hour. Hard-wired systems are more difficult to hack and are more reliable, but require a battery backup.Wireless systems are cheaper and easy to install, but if you lose network service, access is lost.

Here are some common costs associated with smart technology installation:

  • Lighting or door lock controls – $40-$500
  • Wireless network systems – $300-$500
  • Cloud automation – $150-$300
  • Monthly service fees – $35-$75 per month
  • Activation fees – $200-$500 (including equipment)
  • Hard-wired installation – $3000-$15,000 (depending on equipment)

Smart Home Technology and Property Management

For resort property owners, protecting your rental property with smart technology can be a wise investment. Existing properties can be upgraded with smart technology to add security and added amenities while new properties can feature smart systems integrated throughout. As with any investment, the benefits must be considered in light of the cost.  

Here are some suggested areas of focus to benefit rental properties:

  1. Smart Lighting – This is a more easily installed option, even on older properties, and provides added security and energy savings. Settings can be controlled wirelessly or by motion sensor, or a combination of both. Estimated cost: $50-$300.
  2. Smart Thermostats – Increase energy savings and comfort by keeping temperatures at an optimal, reasonable temperature, both when the property is occupied or unoccupied. Estimated cost: $50-$250.
  3. Smart Security Systems –  These systems can include everything from security cameras that can be viewed remotely to automated lighting, automated secure entry, and alarms. Some property management companies require a keyless entry system for each property they manage. It is seen as one of the biggest returns on investment based on your time and money. Estimated cost: $200-$600.
  4. Smart Tech – Smart TVs and integrated sound may not save money but the added amenities can help earn some. Also, smart appliances can save on water and electricity as well as adjust power levels to usage patterns or owner programming. Estimated cost: $500-$5000 (depending on appliance choices).