Let’s face it: Trying to find an apartment online is a nightmare. Not only are you forced to filter through hundreds of listings from various sites — none of which seem that credible — but when you do finally settle on a place to live, you call to find out the apartment’s already been rented. What if you could go through a company that did all the legwork for you? One that scheduled your appointments, and saved you those arduous hours of scanning Craigslist? Enter SocialRent.
Started by five Boston University students, SocialRent is an online, Facebook-based platform that allows renters to find the perfect place to live without ever having to leave their couch. After choosing who they’d like to live with, all they need to do is enter their price range, decide on a location and configure their ideal layout, and the SocialRent crew does the rest.
“There hasn’t been much innovation in the real estate market since people started putting their listings online,” said James Zar, CEO of SocialRent, who began developing the product with his team just four short weeks ago, fueled by pizza and corn dogs in a dark Brighton basement.
Their investor, Jamie Lebowitz, is active in Boston’s real estate market. Through his prior relationships with realtors already focused on each specialized campus, SocialRent was able to connect with agents and pool together their listings. Much like any rental service, users still need to pay a finder’s fee. That finder’s fee, however, comes with an added level of convenience and additional tools at no cost to the consumer.
After logging in through Facebook, users can choose the friends they’d like to live with. From there, they use Google Maps to highlight which areas they’d like to live in, and can build their dream apartment using a blueprint. After selecting their price range and entering any additional notes to the SocialRent team, the process is taken out of their hands and placed into SocialRent’s, who does all of the hunting from there. The extra bonus? Roommates are able to live-chat through the entire process, and are able to see changes made to the layout and location in real-time.
Soon, Zar said they hope to create a social pairing system, as well as a note-taking application that would allow renters to document their viewings right from their potential living rooms. They also hope to develop an online deposit tool and rent payment system, as the business continues to grow.
For any readers interested in using SocialRent, Zar and his crew have offered a discount. With the referral code “BOSTINNO,” users can receive $25 off their first month’s rent, and the team will also donate $25 to help fight homelessness. Now what kind of rental deal is better than that?