Amazon already sells manufactured homes (or prefabs) from third-party vendors. With Amazon steadily expanding the line of “Amazon Basics” products it offers in other departments—like clothing and computer accessories—can an Amazon-branded dwelling be far behind?

Even if Amazon doesn’t own homes outright, it’s moving quickly to become the control center of our homes. Earlier this year, the online retailer partnered with Lennar, America’s largest homebuilding company, to equip all of Lennar’s 35,000 planned new houses in 2018 with smart devices controlled by Amazon’s voice-controlled artificial assistant, Alexa. There are already at least an additional 50 million Alexa devices out in the wild. Amazon has also recently acquired Ring, a doorbell and security-camera startup.

Apple and Google are well into this race, too. Google has its aptly named Google Home smart speakers and line of Nest smart appliances. The real goal likely isn’t profits, but to capture more and more data about what happens inside our residences so they can better sell us more highly targeted services and products.

If any of these tech giants decide to become landlords, it’ll be easy for them to let people come by for showings or engage in short-term rentals: Smart locks can open the door for anyone with the right app code or via facial recognition, and cameras can follow a prospective buyer or tenant’s every move.

As tech continues to become a bigger and bigger part of real estate—both in terms of the transaction and the living experience—the lines between renting and buying will likely blur. Think of it is as “housing as a service”: Finding a home, buying or renting it, moving into it, and decorating it to your liking will all get easier, thanks to the previously mentioned wellspring of services and devices that are now being piloted by startups and tech giants alike. You may one day even be able to “subscribe” to a home service that lets you move from a one-bedroom apartment to a single-family home right after you have a child, shifting in time with your needs as a growing young family.

But if you can just as easily buy and sell a home as you can apply to rent one online, who’s really in control of our homes—us, or the tech giants we’ve invited in?

This story is part of What Happens Next, our complete guide to understanding the future. Read more predictions about the Future of Home.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.