In the summer of 2010, I was looking for a new house to rent. My place at the time was more suited for my college days as I had outgrown the weeknight partying lifestyle. In Baltimore county there were a ton of choices, from single family homes to 15th floor penthouses, and from city living to country living on windy roads. I did the normal searching on CraigsList and visited 6 houses, and eventually applied to 3 of those.
All were owned by private landlords who seemed to be pretty new to showing their places and accepting applications for prospective tenants. I remember writing my name, employer, income, and phone number on a cocktail napkin as an application for one guy!
It took forever for all of them to get back to me about whether I qualified to rent their place. The shortest was 2 weeks, and the longest was 5 weeks (of course, this was the house I wanted to rent the most!). In the end I qualified to rent all 3 places, but had to sign a lease before I had heard back from all of the landlords.
All in all, I got a great place but the whole process of searching, applying and waiting was a really frustrating process! In the 21st century, why is anyone still applying for a new place to live on paper?
So after a little bit of research, and talking with landlords I started to understand why it took so long. To compare all applicants, the landlord had to manually check each person’s credit, background, references, and employment info.
Their approximate process went something like this:
- I filled out a paper application and wrote a check for the background check
- Landlord cashed my check
- Landlord re-typed my information into a background check, and credit check service
- Landlord waited anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for the results
- Landlord made calls to my references, and employer
- Landlord had to repeat this process for all applicants, so he/she could compare them all and find the most qualified person
There has to be a better way, RIGHT!?
My partner Ashley felt this same pain, only from being a landlord herself. So, we started brainstorming about how we could engineer a solution for people like us. Eventually we distilled the best ideas, found some mentors, read some books, and pitched a bunch of friends and family.
These ideas are at the heart of our approach, in making renting easier for everyone. In the coming months we will be unveiling a B2B product for rental professionals, and then an inclusive B2C product. We really think it could be a game-changer
It will be everything that others in our space are NOT: user friendly, efficient, & beneficial for both landlords and renters!.
In the meantime, I’ll be blogging about life-hacks, rentals and real-estate, productivity, startups, tech and other things that I’m passionate about.
I’m a lean startup enthusiast, so I always like feedback. Drop me a line…