RentHackr: Know Before you Rent

January 10, 2015

12:00 pm

As the first rental data platform to be powered by renters, RentHackr is quickly redefining the rental marketplace.  People share their address, rent amount, and what they intend to do when their lease is up. This information takes the guessing game out of finding your new apartment or room.  Since launching in March 2014 and their demo at the New York Tech Meetup, RentHackr has passed the 20,000-user mark, and is aiming to have 200,000 plus users heading into 2016.

Market Search Parameters

The platform utilizes citywide interactive maps with progressive search parameters to allow users to easily navigate through the sea of potential homes. The real advantage RentHackr provides is to give its users a reliable projection of what will be available on the market. Users can browse for their future home in a way that has never before been possible. Information such as past rent charged, dates a space will become available, and pictures of the space and neighborhood, are available thanks to their goldmine of user-supplied information.  The site allows its users to plan their move months in advance, eliminating the last minute scramble that is all too familiar to most city renters.

Crowdsourced Data

Users sign up with RentHackr, posting their apartment information and information they wish they had known about their apartment and neighborhood prior to renting it.  The information is then shared anonymously with other users.  Subscribers browse their options and are able to select favorite buildings and get notified when space in the building becomes available.  If you aren’t currently renting, no problem; you can share RentHackr on Twitter for access to the network.

RentHackr is currently in over 200 cities and 20 countries, but 90% of the users are in New York City.  “We wanted to start in NYC because we could see how desperate most of the renters here – myself included – are for a new solution,” said Zeb Dropkin, the company’s founder and CEO, “one that empowers renters to take charge and gives them new tools to inform themselves better.”

Plans for Future Growth

Although RentHackr’s main focus is currently New York City, the company has its eyes set on expanding its presence into other markets. RentHackr plans to target Boston next, due to the high concentration of colleges.  The constant influx of students provides a wealth of potential RentHackr members.

As the company expands its reach, the services provided will broaden.  At present, the network consists of renters connecting with other renters.  Moving forward, the network will not only connect renters with other renters, but also landlords, agents, and property managers.  As the network grows, so will the wealth of information it provides. Over time, their offerings will expand, including features such as comparing rent increases across buildings.

As urban areas become more densely populated, the rental marketplace is poised to become increasingly difficult to navigate.  By teaming with existing social media networks and emerging technologies, RentHackr is positioned to become the compass that leads renters to an efficient and fair rental marketplace.

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Biffrey is a real estate investor, development activist and founder of RE-Think!: The Real Estate Think Tank (formerly Real Cocktail) based in Baltimore. RE-Think! focuses on innovation around real estate and urban planning. Get tickets for the upcoming RE-Think! "Go Green" event, September 24th. Follow Biffrey @rethink00

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