Yardi Launches RentCafe.com

rentvafeYardi, a software provider for the multi-family industry has launched a rental website for renters to find apartments nationally. The new service is called RentCafe and says renters can “search apartment listings, compare and apply to your favorite apartment communities, and pay your rent online, all from RENTCafé. We’re saving you time while making apartment renting easier.”

For apartment advertisers, the service seems to be a freemium model where apartments can post for free and then pay on a per lease basis but it is rather unclear from the website.

At first glance it looks like a majority of the listings are populated by ForRent.com. The user interface is very clean and it has a mynewplace like map on the left hand side.


Traffic to the site seems to be very low according to compete.com. Compete has unique visitors for October at around 1,000 and then goes to nothing for Dec.

Oodle’s Craig Donato on the emerging Social Marketplaces category

Oodle has had its sight set of leveraging the power of social networks to facilitate classified marketplace transactions for some time now. Here’s a short video clip from June 2010 positioning Oodle as a Social Classifieds provider for rental properties:

As the video explains, Oodle also powers Facebook Marketplace. Recently, Oodle announced that they had extended their reach on Facebook Marketplace by providing new features that further leverage the power of Facebook’s social graph, as explained in this TechCrunch article.

In addition, Oodle has recently acquired a social networking service through acquisition of Grouply with an eye towards moving the Social Graph beyond (just) friends. Facebook in turn has acquired Yardsellr – a social buying and selling platform – which TechCrunch describes as “an eBay for Facebook, except without the auctions”.

TechCrunch also had a blog post from November 2010 titled Will the Real “eBay of Social” Please Stand Up?, where they interviewed Oodle CEO Craig Donato about the emerging Social Marketplaces category. This video can be viewed below:

The Social Marketplaces space is really just a segment of the broader Social Commerce space. Look for a lot of innovation – and the consequent winners and losers – in these areas in 2011.

First Week Crucial for Listings

If you’re having trouble settling on a realistic price with sellers before their listing goes online, ask them to consider this: two popular real estate websites have now found that a property’s first week online can make or break the sale.

Online brokerage redfin.com, currently 15th on the Hitwise list of US real estate websites, was the first to come out with this finding, noting that more than half of all listings activated in 2009 failed to sell by August 2010.

“The week that a listing goes on the market, we estimate that it gets nearly four times more visits on real estate websites than it does a month later, which is the earliest that most sellers will consider a price reduction,” redfin.com writes.

redfin.com’s statistics on listing views show a steady decline after the first week, with small spikes in traffic seen after 30 and 60 days, when bargain hunters start scouring the website.

New Zealand market leader realestate.co.nz has a similar story to tell. Its statistics show that a quarter of listing views during a property’s first two months online take place in the first seven days. realestate.co.nz argues that this should prompt agents to include a strong lead photo, plenty of good back-up photos, great listing copy, and a realistic price in the first version of their listing.

“Get these four essentials right and you are ensuring that your property has the greatest chance of grabbing that viewing audience. Get it wrong or decide to change some details after a week and you could already have missed the boat,” realestate.co.nz says.


real estate and apartments for rent Rent vs. Buy


Trulia did not waste any time with its recent acquisition of the mapping startup Motivity.  Go to http://trulia.movity.com/ to check out "Rent" vs. "Sale" costs, mapped by major U.S. cities, pulling from sources, "Trulia.com, Census.gov, RealtyTrac.com, BLS.gov and Moody's Economy.com." I am guessing that Trulia will be using the new data mapping capabilities on a variety of interactive reports in the future.

"Trulia's Q1 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index provides guidance to help you make a smart decision on whether it is better to rent or buy in each of America's 50 largest cities by population."

Other metrics availble are:

U.S. Cities Rent:Buy Ratio Rent:Buy Ratio Rent Price, List Price, Unemployment Foreclosures Job Growth

differentiation through great UX - Tigho

This is a great slide show about the future of real estate tech that I had the privilege to see Brian Boyero and Joel Burlem of 1000Watt Consulting present at Classified AdVentures’ Property Portal Watch Workshop last week.

They are insistent up on UX and design becoming more integral to the future of the web, and I agree that search will (and needs to) become more intuitive, taking "the search out of search" as they say.

I might be a bit of a techno-utopian marketer to expect to eventually be served everything that I want immediately from the web, rather than to slog through pages of bundled media and ads, but I don't see the days of the vertical content provider (like AOL or Yahoo) being reincarnated as a cultural norm. Everything is trending in the opposite direction.

Ads are now targeted upon ever-more granular (albeit sometimes invasive) criteria. Social and hyperlocal filtering provide additional credibility to information. And industries will need to build smarter platforms that deliver relevant results to consumers, relieving us from the clutter and confusion that typifies a web search, from an MSN homepage to an apartment-search on Craigslist.

We have moved from the age of uniformity to the moment of the meta-niche and it's about finding yours, individuating your content, and doing it for the customer.

trulia.com Teams with ListGlobally



US real estate search engine trulia.com is moving into international real estate search through a new partnership with ListGlobally.
ListGlobally was created by propertyportalwatch.com publisher Classified Ad Ventures to allow agents and developers to market their listings to buyers around the world through a network of leading property portals. It involves no contracts or set-up fees, charging a flat fee for for each listing which is active for 90 days.

At the moment, the ListGlobally network includes rightmove.co.uk (UK), the iProperty.com network of portals (Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong), propertyfinder.ae (UAE), 99acres.com (India), immobilienscout24.de (Germany), privateproperty.co.za (South Africa), spiti24.gr (Greece), and domavin.com (Russia) amongst others.

trulia.com says it will be ListGlobally’s exclusive partner in the US and plans to launch the international search feature in the first half of 2011 to address increased consumer interest in the global property market.

“We live in a global marketplace and more and more Americans are expanding their home search beyond US borders,” says Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of trulia.com. “Our users are moving overseas for jobs or they may be interested in second homes and places to retire. We are excited to launch global search capabilities because it is important for us to establish trulia.com as the one-stop shop for the real estate needs of all of our users.”

Portals soon to be added to the ListGlobally network include seloger.com (France), idealista.com (Spain), immobiliare.it (Italy), oferty.net (Poland) and homein.com (Global). The company says it plans to rapidly expand its listings throughout the year.

If any property portal, MLS or software provider is interested in partnering with ListGlobally, please send an email to info@listglobally.com.


January 14, 2011 by Alice Allan

Will Listing Syndicators Adopt Google’s New Original-Source and Syndication-Source Tags? How About IDX Vendors? « FBS Blog

Read/Write Web today reports on an effort by Google to encourage web publishers to specify whether their content is original or syndicated. The problem focused on by Read/Write Web is that of Google News and how Google attributes the author of a story when it crawls the many syndicated copies out there:

The two new tags that Google introduced today are syndication-source and original-source. The syndication-source tag can be used to indicate the location of the original story. The original-source tag should be used to highlight the URL of “the first article to report a story.” A story that uses material from a variety of original sources can include more than one original-source tags to point to these. Both of these tags can also point to the current page URL, so publishers can call attention to their own original reporting. You can find more details for how to implement these tags on your site here.

For now, Google still calls this an experiment is only using the syndication-source tag in its rankings to distinguish among groups of duplicate articles. The original-source is “only being studied” and doesn’t factor into Google’s rankings yet.

Of course, duplicate listing content is a problem in the real estate space as well.  Here are several questions:

  • Should listing syndicators like ThreeWide (now owned Move, Inc.) and Point2 specify the original-source?
  • What should be the original source?
  • Does this also apply to IDX offerings?
  • If IDX listings contain the original-source tag and point it back to the listing broker, should this reduce the need to disclose the broker name on summary reports as apparently is the case now for franchise sites using IDX listings?
  • What other implications or uses do you see for these tags?


RentJunge is Apartment Search Engine with Facebook App


RentJungle is new real estate rental search site.

According to their press release:

Rentjungle.com works much like Google in that it scours the Internet and pulls together apartment listings from a variety of sites. It one ups Google by focusing solely on apartment searches and displaying results either on a simple, interactive map or as a listing with links to Google street views. So you can get an idea of what awaits outside your front window without having to physically visit the place—especially useful if you’re moving to a new city or want to apartment hunt at 2am. (emphasis added)

Here's how easy it is to search on the website. Enter address, city or zip.  Interestingly, you can search for rentals near colleges.  It searches many websites, including Craigslist, Sublet.com,  and Apartments.com.
rent jungle search

Or, you can search it out on Facebook and share it with a friend:

rent jungle

Besides being able to search for apartments in a city, including neighborhoods, it has a Facebook application you can add to your Facebook page.   It lets you search on Facebook for apartments and share the results with your friends.

Rent Jungle has launched an apartment search and sharing application that is first of its kind in the apartment industry. You can  search for apartments using our Facebook Apartment App without even leaving the Facebook site. You can share apartments and invite your friends to comment. Best of all, it is free! Try it! (emphasis added)

It also has a rent comparison tool to see if you are paying too much for rent.  Interesing.

rent comparison

Who's the guy in the Jungle?

Behind the site is Rick Ferris, a real estate broker with over 30 years experience in residential and commercial realty.  He’s sold or leased over $400 million in commercial property and has earned the CoStar Power Broker Award every year since 2002.

I'm going to have to pass Rent Jungle to my son, who's looking for an apartment in Manhattan.