Just about everybody has been through the awful process of hunting for a new apartment. On the surface everything looks great, but after you sign the lease you begin to realize the place wasn't really what it seems. Renters don't get the luxury of home inspections prior to signing on the dotted line. Fortunately, the good folks at Landlord Advisor LLC decided to change that.
Landlord Advisor, LLC announced an early November beta launch of its new free mobile web app RentSpek for iPhone and Android. The app allows renters to conduct a thorough inspection of homes and apartments for rent to help streamline their search. The system is designed to increase transparency in the rental process and help tenants rent with confidence.
"After doing extensive amounts of research on everything from the life of appliances to the cost & down-time of common repairs found in homes, condos and apartments we developed an algorithm to grade a property based on your findings during your visit," said Phil Castello, founder of Landlord Advisor, LLC. "We're designing this as a free app for anyone to use."
The app will walk users through the property and ask them a series of questions about different aspects of the unit. Each answer is scored and used to determine a letter grade of A through F. The grade RentSpek developed is based on the same home inspections homebuyers would purchase before buying a home. Landlord Advisor dissected those and developed a unique scoring system based on issues that could arise during a short term living situation.
Renters will be able to take photos to accompany each question and save that information to look at later when assessing their apartment choices. RentSpek users can then revisit the RentSpek reports to compare the properties they’ve toured.
“I think the simplicity of the app is what will make it useful. The app walks the user through the property and has them check things they may never have looked at during a walk though before,” said Castello. “Because renters have an endless list of sites and services to search for a place, we think RentSpek will be the prefect tool to help choose their apartment.”
Castello said the longer term plan for RentSpek is to provide crowd sourced information for rental listings on its Parent site Landlord Advisor and a feature certification feature allowing Landlords to show that their property is RentSpek Certified.
“As the RentSpek system gets more home data, I don’t see any reason that this system couldn’t replace the traditional home inspection all together.”
The web aspect of RentSpek is already being developed and should begin initial testing by the end of October. The mobile web version of the RentSpek app will launch in early November. A crowd funding campaign has been set up on IndieGoGo.com to raise the $55,000 to build a native mobile app.
"Because we're a small operation, we don't have the resources to build the app in house. About a month ago, we began soliciting quotes from app developers large and small to see who would be the best fit for this project." Castillo said. "The average quote for building a dynamic app like this was in the $50,000 range, which is where we got our goal number from. That is an enormous amount of money for us, considering we bootstrapped pretty hard to get where we are with LandlordAdvisor.co. "
Landlord Advisor (landlord-advisor.com) was founded by Phil Castello in 2012. With the development of RentSpek Paul Zimmerman has joined Landlord Advisor LLC as a Limited Partner.