Making Rental Property a Smart Home
Kwikset locks bring smart technology to rental property touring innovator
- By Erik Glassen
- Mar 10, 2023
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but Rently is the mother of inventing self-guided touring for rental properties.
Founded in 2011, Rently has helped transform the way rental property owners conduct business with their self-guided touring and smart home hardware and software. This company’s all-in-one solutions allows real estate operators to provide best-in-class touring and living experiences for their current and future residents while optimizing their leasing efficiency and expanding revenue. The company describes the solutions they offer as being “street-to-suite,” and talks about Kwikset smart locks as playing a central role in both halves of their offering.
Kwikset Helps Rently Secure Business, “Street-to-Suite.”
Andre Sanchez, Rently’s COO, explained the two sides of Rently’s unique rental property service.
He said, “‘Street-to-suite’ describes our ability to power both the vacancy and occupancy periods. “‘Street’ references our patented, self-guided touring of available properties. We were the first company to give prospective renters the ability to check into a property from the street, using their mobile phone or tablet, and then self-tour the vacant property on their own schedules without the presence of leasing staff.”
With Rently’s self-guided touring, prospective renters find and “check into” the property online. Once approved, the prospect will receive a one-time entry code and use a Kwikset smart lock or other smart lock (instead of a lock box and key) to gain access to the property.
“Our self-guided touring solution immediately drew a positive reception,” Sanchez said. “In fact, millions of renters access our self-guided tour and access control platform every year.”
The “Suite” part of Rently’s formula for success refers to the smart home solutions like smart locks, smart thermostats, sensors and other connected devices that empower the renter and allow Rently to continue to positively impact their rental property customers -- even after rental agreements have been signed.
Since 2015, Kwikset smart locks have been integrated into the Rently platform. Sanchez describes how the company’s interest in smart locks like those from Kwikset went beyond the use of keyless, code-powered access during the vacancy period.
“We thought, why can’t devices like smart locks continue to deliver benefits after the renter moves in?” Sanchez said. “Why can’t the resident use smart lock technology to continue to use a keyless entry code, to monitor the property, and to eliminate ever having to worry about losing keys? And, why can’t the rental property owner reduce resident churn by offering added value in the form of home automation technology that’s ready to use on the move-in date?”
For Rently, the introduction of a suite of smart home devices like Kwikset smart locks was a smart decision, and a game changer.
A History with Rently’s Hub
The Rently Smart Hub plays the central role in connecting all the smart devices on the property and allowing remote management to for property owners to manage their entire portfolio. With smart locks connected to Rently’s Smart Hub, rental property owners have an information trail readily available.
“With a smart lock connected to our ecosystem through our Smart Hub, real estate operators can see in real time when the devices like smart locks are being interfaced with -- so our customers know who is looking at a property, and when.” Sanchez said. “They can also see what listing service or resource drove the sale, which is invaluable when it comes to determining where to focus future budgets.”
Manufactured exclusively by Rently and for their customers, the Rently Smart Hub communicates with and monitors devices as Kwikset locks using Z-Wave wireless technology.
“It is essential that all the devices we incorporate into our smart home offering actually work with our system,” Sanchez said. “We are grateful that there is a wide array of Kwikset smart locks that connect to our Smart Hub and other devices using the Z-Wave protocol. Over the years, we have used the whole gamut of Kwikset smart lock offerings, with the choice usually coming down to the specific needs of our rental customers.
“If quality and value are of primary importance, the Kwikset Home Connect 620 with the enhanced security of the Z-Wave 700 Series chip and the lock’s increased code capacity usually fits the bill. When our customers have prioritized security and convenience in combination with modern design, we have used Kwikset’s Obsidian smart lock. Kwikset’s SmartCode 916 touchscreen has also been an extremely popular solution for our customers – great-looking, easy to install, and with a small footprint that suits any interior design.”
Kwikset Smartly Meets Demand
In manufacturing its own smart hub, Rently’s business has not been hindered by many of the supply chain issues that have disrupted business for many other technology providers in recent years. Sanchez said that Rently has derived the same important benefit from their relationship with Kwikset.
“Kudos to Kwikset,” he said, “for making sure they have large quantities of product available and being able to meet our largest orders. We can call and say that we need 5,000 locks next week, and their ability to scale rapidly has always been phenomenal.”
Quality is Key to Rental Touring
Sanchez points to the quality and reliability of Kwikset hardware as being perhaps the most important benefits of the Kwikset products and the partnership. Rently offers a portfolio of hundreds of devices, so according to Sanchez, “We have to maintain a sharp focus on quality assurance when considering which devices can come into our ecosystem – especially when it comes to access control.”
He continued, “The last thing a real estate operator wants is an access control point failing. The bells and whistles do not matter unless the lock works, and over the years we have learned that we can count on the quality of Kwikset hardware. Even in high-traffic markets, including some areas that may not have the best security reputation, Kwikset smart locks have proven to be reliable, during the vacancy period and throughout the ensuing time of occupancy.
Rently’s Future is Looking Even Smarter
Sanchez recognizes that “consciousness of the smart home has grown a great deal over the last five years.”
He said, “I used to call real estate operators and they didn’t know what a smart home was. Now they are asking their properties to be transformed into smart homes. Renters are driving the sales, and looking for new devices.”
“Along those lines, we are also always looking at new technology to add to our suite of smart products. We are excited to see new protocols like Matter integrating with smart devices in the coming months. And if the past is prologue to the future, we’re looking forward to seeing to the innovations and upgrades that partners like Kwikset will introduce.”
Rently’s expectations for the future with Kwikset?
“Smart locks have been not only the highest magnitude product that people order, but also the core product in our self-guided touring,” Sanchez noted. “We certainly expect that to continue.”