Digital locks for self-management

6 Replies

I’m interested in creating a self-management model that cuts inefficiencies of normal property management services. I’ve spent a lot of money on mediocre service that provides marginal value. I know people say your property manager should make you money, but that is exceedingly rare in my opinion. Time to trim the fat and find ways to innovate.

I’m interested in digital door locks that are on the market (like these). If those were installed on out of state SFRs, one could control many aspects of a rental property that a property manager would normally steward. For example, one could work with a local Realtor to show a property to tenants and select to have the door open within certain time windows. There could also be certain windows of time open for contractors and cleaners to have entry. From what I can tell, a custom lock combo can be provided to anyone coming into the home and then deleted afterward (all via a phone app). This is pretty remarkable, albeit it’s been available for quite some time already...however, the prices seem to be dropping. Also, I see Amazon gives the option for on site installation (fee required - very convenient).

I’m curious if anyone has had success with this? I could see the benefit for reduced instances of changing locks during tenant turnovers or lost key instances, which could be a significant future cost saver and hassle-remover (equally important).

I’d value any thoughts and input tremendously. Thanks!

These locks are great but they are not perfect. You cannot remotely control these locks and you cannot set time schedules to allow acces. They allow you to set access codes but you have manually set and delete codes at the lock.

@Jonny R. Some of the higher level locks can be remotely controlled/programmed, but you would need internet and a home “hub” system. Those would allow total remote control if you were willing to have the required items.

I've used something similar for vacation rentals. It's a nice feature but there are limitations.

As @Jordan G. points out, you can find some that are remotely programmable, even with video, but that requires a wifi system and costs more money.

You could also use a system like Rently or ShowMojo. Someone would have to place the lock box on the property but then you could control who gets access by pre-screening them, requiring a driver's license and credit card, etc.

You're going to spend hundreds of dollars just to simply opening the door but you still have the cost of marketing, answering inquiries, screening applications, signing the lease, etc. You're only saving a small percentage of the work performed by a property manager.

Many property managers (myself included) will provide a "lease only" or "finder fee" service. For a fee, they will handle all the marketing, showings, and screenings. Once the tenant has paid and is under contract, the PM hands the property and paperwork over to you for management.

I don't know where your rentals are but surely you can locate a decent PM to provide these basic services for a reasonable fee.

Don't know but I think security on a cell connection for romote lock may be more sucure than WiFi which is easier to electronically hack. Also NathanG's suggestion is very good. Often the R E Agent will know of reliable, good P M personell. If the Agent doesn't know, their R E company would know. Let us know how you do on this Jonny R. We are ALL learning. I don't always have time to respond quickly since I consult a lot for Med Rehab Cos. 

Sincerely Tom, M, Key Investment Mngt.

@Jonny R. I am trying to setup a very similar system for my small multifamily in Cincinnati. I am sick of dealing with mediocre property mgmt companies and want to remotely self manage with a help of a local rep. Remotely controlled digital door locks help for new leasing and also for maintenance staff. I can't have a person present there to open the door for maintenance folks.

I am looking at z-wave based digital locks. Did you try any digital locks?