Video contribution Xavier Smith
It’s time to move and the clock is ticking. You’ve put in your application for a rental home a week ago and you’re still playing phone tag with the landlord, and trying to match up schedules for a tour has been a logistical nightmare.
To eliminate the wait and worry of getting into a rental home, San Francisco-based RentZap a service that connects professional agents with renters to view rental properties on-demand and get people into homes faster, expanded to Phoenix.
Interview with co-founder RentZap Brian Coughlin
The company chose the Valley as their first expansion market because of the growing demand for rental properties from young professionals and families.
Through their experience in real estate and as property owners, co-founders and Arizona natives Brain Coughlin and Lou Osborn Jr., set out to break through the bottlenecks of the rental process by streamlining the paperwork, speeding up the timeline to tour a property and increasing agent/owner engagement and response time.
“Right now there is a huge roadblock just getting people into the house,” Coughlin said.
How it works
Through the homepage, renters can view active properties that match their needs, review rental fees and move-in dates and request a showing.
Renters are then sent through the prequalifying process to complete an online application with information such as monthly income, criminal and credit items and pets.
RentZap instantly sends the application to the listing agent who can decide to accept or deny the application. Upon approval, the agent can continue with the request and authorize a RentZap neighborhood agent to show the property.
“If you have that snapshot of somebody you can pretty much decide if they are going to be accepted or declined for the homes off that qualifying [form],” Obsorn said. RentZap does not complete credit or background checks on renters, that process is still up to the listing agent or owner.
Once approved, renters are given access to the “text to show” number where they can text a RentZap operator who will find a neighboring agent to meetup for a tour.
On the other side, if a renter is rejected, the agent can provide feedback from a list of preselected reasons as well as offer comments and respond within minutes.
Agents are given 24 hours to accept or reject a request to view a property, Coughlin said.
RentZap is a great way for part-time realtors to pick up some business and can provide local knowledge of the area to the customer, Osborn said.
“We want the agent to show up and be familiar with the process,” Osborn said.
To avoid scams commonly found on Craig’s List, each listing agent is RentZap certified and checked for proper licensing and a clean transaction record.
Coughlin said with 35 percent of the rental units being single family homes* and growing, the company will initially focus on this market.
Eventually, RentZap will be a “fully robust home seeker profile,” Coughlin said. For now, they are focused on growing the number of listings and users in Arizona. Initial success of the platform is showing “well over 20 percent are renting on the spot after showing,” he said.
“Our end goal is to get people in a house as fast as possible,” Coughlin said.
Read more about tech companies expanding to Arizona here.
Graphics provided by RentZap