It’s easy to view smart home devices as unnecessary and expensive—especially if you’re a landlord. But connecting your rental properties with smart technologies can save you time and money, and attract new renters.

Follow these four steps to successfully add home automation to your rentals, so you can save time and money, and attract new renters.

Step 1: Specify how you want smart home devices to improve your rental

Before you start buying gadgets, think about how you want smart home devices to benefit you and your tenants.

Smart technology can make things more convenient for your tenants, so they’ll stay longer. Tenants can do things like unlock the doors, control music and lights, and set the temperature with mobile devices and voice control, which hopefully will keep them happy and renting from you for a long time.

Maybe you want to help your tenants personalize their spaces. Color-changing smart light bulbs can set the mood and even do tasks, such as turning on as an alarm. These touches can help your tenants create an environment that is uniquely their own, which means they’ll be less likely to make drastic physical changes to the property.

Or your goal could be keeping tabs on your properties from a distance, if you don’t live nearby or don’t have time to make onsite visits. Things like sensors that detect leaks and security cameras can provide peace of mind and a layer of security.

No matter why you ultimately choose to install these types of devices, once you know your goal in building a connected environment, you’ll be able to choose the pieces that will help you meet your goals.

Step 2: Choose the right devices

After you’ve established why you’re connecting your property, choose the right devices. Do a some research from the start.

Take your budget into account. Smart homes don’t have to be expensive. With a few key devices, you’ll still be able to get the convenience of a full-fledged smart home without a high price tag. If you stick to a budget, the investment in smart home devices will pay off faster. You don’t have to go all in at once. Start with something simple, like a single smart bulb, and add devices as your budget allows.

If you want to use smart devices to keep an eye on your properties from a distance, consider leak sensors, smart smoke alarms, smart thermostats, and home security systems. All-in-one security systems like SimpliSafe include motion sensors and ways to detect glass breaks.

To create a modern feel, consider a smart tech entertainment system. Smart speakers allow renters control sound with voice control. Smart plugs let you control anything you plug into the wall with your phone.

Some devices are more aesthetically pleasing than others, and some even have swappable exteriors to match your design. When choosing, try to picture how the devices will look in your space and position them in a way that blends with the decor, instead of detracting from it.

Step 3: Decide how tenants will control devices

Most smart devices are compatible with a few different types of controllers, so you can choose the right ones for your tenants.

Many smart devices connect to mobile apps, so tenants can use their phones to control them. In most cases, each device company has its own app, so if you’ve installed, for example, a Roost product and an iHome product, your tenant will need separate apps for each one.

To streamline, buy most, or all, the devices from the same company. If multiple apps are required, let tenants know they can set up a folder on their phones to keep all the device apps in one place.

Some devices work with voice control, a good hands-free option. Others connect to a hub or a smart speaker, while others have a voice receiver built in. Typically you’ll see a device with a smart assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant, providing the gateway to voice control.

When looking for devices, you should look for notes saying “compatible with Alexa” or “compatible with Google Assistant” to make sure the device will connect to your smart assistant. Many people opt for a smart speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, to connect all their devices. This simplifies the connectivity process. If all your devices are compatible with Alexa, tenants will be able to control them with their voices from the same smart speaker.

Step 4: Know how you’ll connect to your properties

If you’re looking to use smart tech to keep tabs on your property, you’ll need to be able to connect from wherever you are. Just like tenant-controlled devices, you’ll usually download an app. Then you can check in anytime, from anywhere, to see alerts, outdoor security footage, and device statuses.

Benefits of smart rental homes

Whether these devices make it easier for you to manage rentals from anywhere, more attractive to potential tenants, or more fun and convenient for those tenants you want to keep, smart home systems are a great investment in some of your best investments.