Elena Ashkinazy: Building And Selling A Smart Apartment
Published Nov. 2018
Time Equities Director of Sustainability, Elena Ashkinazy walks us through her smart apartment case study showcasing each component and sharing the amazing returns she garners.
Just imagine, thirty nine million people already have Amazon Alexa or Google Home in their apartments. Real estate companies can take advantage of it and start to create value for the customers of new generation who want to just move in to their apartment, plug in their Alexa and be able to control everything with their voice or with their phone. At Time Equities we always strive to be technologically up to date and innovative. So last year, we successfully completed the first smart apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. So we did it in pre-war apartment and when you think about pre-war buildings, a pre-war apartment you would probably never expect to see anything smart, but we did it. The project was so successful it was featured in The New York Times. This apartment was scheduled for renovation so we still have to buy switches, bulbs, kitchen appliances. Now we spent an extra $10,000, however we were able to sell this apartment for $120,000 above similar apartments just one flight down. So in this slide you can see green screen from Zillow.com two apartments, one is in the second floor and smart apartment on the third floor. And the difference in the prices was about 10 percent and the first apartment was on the market a couple of months before our smart apartment. So we sell it quicker and for a higher price. And today I'm going to tell you about all devices we installed and their features and benefits for residents.
One of the main challenge and actually it's become our value proposition for the customers was that old devices can be controlled through one application so the customers don't have to hassle between different apps. Of course we'll also estimated that the smart apartments can be super Energy-Efficient so customers can save up to 20-30 percent on their electric bills. And of course it's all about convenience. You can control everything with your voice. You can say what you want and you get it. And all with your phone. The first thing we installed was smart door lock. So you still can use your traditional keys, however, you don't need to. You can open and close your door from anywhere anytime. So imagine you're standing in a traffic and your guest came early. So now you can just open the door from anywhere. You can see when the door was opened, was closed and you can give access to your housekeeper, dog walker. So people love it, it's so convenient. We’ll also install smart lighting systems throughout the apartment. And before I started to work on this project I actually bought a lot of stuff for my place and I have to tell you it's amazing. I don't touch my switch anymore. Especially when you're tired. You lay down in bed and before my husband told me, “Elena, can you go around and turn off the lights?” And now I just said Alexa turn off all lights and she's like OK your wish is my command. So people definitely love this convenience.
We also install smart color lighting so you can pick any color you want. So for example we have open house for this apartment and a couple came and the lady was pregnant. So we ask, “do you know what's going to be, boy or girl? She's like it's going to be a girl. And we like Alexa make all lights pink, and of course she did it. And that just create this wow factor that you can also use even when you just show an apartment to potential clients. We also install smart shades in the bedroom so first you can open and close them with your voice but you also can schedule and automate them. So if you want, for example, you wanted them to be open Monday through Friday at 6:00 a.m. when you wake up and on the weekend youu want them to stay close until 12:00 p.m..
We also install smart kitchen appliances. So this is a smart refrigerator. This is what a game changer for the customers. First you can see what is inside of your refrigerator while you do shopping. Also your refrigerator will start to track expiration dates. You know we all have some stuff in our refrigerator. We have no idea how long it was there. So now your refrigerator will take care of it and will send you a notification when the milk is about to expire. Also it has a big screen on the door. So instead of putting stickers like we used to, now you can send pictures, voice messages, just messages to your family straight on the fridge door. You also can mirror a TV, play music and even do food shopping from your door. Other kitchen appliances are smart too.
So we have smart range. It's a gas range. So for safety reasons you have to start to cook while you in an apartment and set up a timer. But then again control it remotely. So you can change the temperature where you can turn off range completely. Also you can check the status so if you're worried that you forgot to turn out the gas you always can go on the app and check of that everything is OK. And we have smart dishwasher that sends you a notification when the cycle is over or when there's not enough dish soap. We installed smart outlet. So any appliance you plug into that outlet becomes smart automatically. So in this apartment we know we bought kettle and we teach Alexa when we say Alexa good morning, she started to boil your water tells you the latest news, the weather outside, the traffic situation on your way to work.
We also put that motion sensors in this apartment. So motion sensors can help you to create different scenarios. So for example, you have a scenario like the late snack time at night. So if you want to go after 12 p.m. to get a snack, you don't want to be blind with all these bright lights so you can schedule if some someone enters the room after 12:00 p.m. the lights will be dimmed maybe blue. We also brought some technologies to the bathroom. So we have this shower head with LED lights . So now you don't have to wait to try water and see if it's hot, you just can see if the water is hot, it becomes red, if it's cold, it becomes blue. And especially it's nice when it's a hot summer, you can get blue shower and when it's cold winter you can get a warm red shower. Also kids will appreciate it and love it.
Of course people love to control climate. So this is must have to have a smart thermostat and smart AC. Of course we will see a lot of benefits and opportunities to incorporate smart technologies in multi-family sector. First, it's a great competitive advantage. It's a great marketing tool for you. Also statistics show that you can increase either its rent price or sales price on average by 5 percent. And it's also energy efficient. So if you’re a building owner who’s paying for heating costs you will benefit from this as well. So what I want you to do, what I recommend you to do think where you can start. So for example, renovation is the best time to incorporate smart technologies or if you have a vacant unit so you can pilot. You can see feedback and then scale and roll out across your portfolio. Thank you so much. It was great to speak to this audience and if you have any questions I'm always open. Thank you.