Recent figures released by the National Association of REALTORS® revealed that millennials made up approximately one-third of the U.S. housing market over the last 12 months, up 28 percent from just two years ago, overtaking Generation X as the largest segment of homebuyers today.
In fact, nearly 5.2 million millennial renters are expected to purchase a home this year alone.
Catering to the millennial mindset—one that’s defined by being tech-savvy and dependent on mobile devices for any and everything—the 2013 creation of RentalRoost Inc. changed the process of searching for a home across the board.
Nitin Shingate, RentalRoost’s CEO, explains that each property or home displayed on the site has scores associated with it based on a complex algorithm, allowing site visitors to find the perfect home that will fit their unique needs. From walkability to proximity to shopping areas, whether a home is kid-friendly or pet-friendly, and a host of other lifestyle issues that people care about, RentalRoost is changing the name of the game.
“Millennials are the ones renting today, and they’re the ones who will go on and buy houses,” says Shingate. “The way we target them is by understanding their desire for specific lifestyle preferences. This segment is more focused on a lifestyle compared to other generations, and our service helps them discover what’s best.”
For millennials who are concerned with laying down roots in an area that allows them to live, work and play without going too far, RentalRoost’s Transit Score, calculated based on how close the home is to public transportation and major freeways, is an important metric that can’t be overlooked. The higher the transit score, the easier it is to commute to various locations around the area.
“Prospective buyers are able to make decisions on our site as all the information is in one place, negating the need to use Google or any other site for property and surrounding information,” says Shingate. “In addition to providing a plethora of lifestyle information, the site even takes into account a user’s social networks to help them find the space that’s right for them.”
Cracking the House Hunting Code
RentalRoost isn’t only beneficial when it comes to those looking to buy, it’s also just as useful for those looking for a space to rent. In fact, when RentalRoost first began, it offered a small selection of rental properties in the San Francisco area. Today, the site lists more than 1.5 million properties for sale, in addition to 1.5 million properties for rent, all over the nation.
For Ganesh Iyer, a member of the millennial generation and senior business operations manager for Cisco Services, RentalRoost has been an instrumental piece of the puzzle when it comes to finding a place to live.
“I’ve been in the Bay Area for roughly 11 years and I used to move every year,” says Iyer. “And every time I moved, I would look for the same things—like-minded people and a place that felt comfortable.”
Iyer goes on to explain that he tried plenty of services and even scoured the Internet to help, but he could never find all the information that he felt he needed to make a proper decision.
Another challenge centered around the fact that the information was often misleading and attributes and amenities that were listed weren’t really part of the property.
“I found that I would need to talk to the people who lived there to really get a sense of the place, which was time-consuming,” says Iyer. “One day I heard about RentalRoost and what struck me was that they really made a commitment to working around someone’s lifestyle.”
Iyer eventually gave RentalRoost a try by signing up through his Facebook account, and through his profile, the site matched his likes and sentimental analysis to recommend the perfect place for him to rent.
“Based on the recommendation I received from RentalRoost, I chose a property and moved in. It was almost spot-on with what I would have learned from actually visiting the place, talking to the people who live there and making my own decision,” says Iyer. “It included all the aspects of lifestyle that were important to me.”
When Iyer got married and it was time to look for a home to buy, he again turned to RentalRoost and was able to purchase a townhome in San Jose that offered everything he and his wife were looking for—once more based on RentalRoost’s recommendation.
For property manager Jon Condrey, principal at Cap4Homes, RentalRoost provides a huge benefit when it comes to property advertisements.
“Millennials want instant access to information and curative results from websites and online services. RentalRoost provides this by matching profiles and housing requirements to produce ‘best fit’ options,” he says. “Having this information at their mobile fingertips is a must-have for Gen Y users.”
According to Condrey, the real estate industry is challenged in that supply and demand are so disconnected.
“Information is spread out all over the place so much so that it is nearly impossible to deliver on the promise of free Internet search,” he adds. “Users of RentalRoost benefit from its aggregated data model and intelligent algorithm to get more targeted and vetted search results. As a supplier of housing options, it is vital for me to reach a targeted group of qualified buyers quickly and to lease or sell my properties faster.”
More than Millennials
The great thing about RentalRoost, Shingate shares, is that it’s being used by all different generations—from baby boomers, Gen X and even seniors.
“It makes things easy enough so the older generations—who might not grasp the technology as well—can still understand. All the information is on one page and it’s not difficult to see,” says Shingate. “In fact, we’re seeing a lot more seniors using the site to find a place where they’ll enjoy their retirement years.”
RentalRoost has also launched a “Price My Home” feature on its site, which helps prospective sellers determine a home’s value, making predictions based on current demographics and what they expect in the years ahead. This has come in handy for many baby boomers who are looking to sell their home and move on with the next phase of their lives.
For more information, visit www.rentalroost.com.