Apartment search site Zumper has gone national, expanding its quality-focused rental listing site and iPhone app’s footprint to serve more cities around the country, and upping the ante of a battle among rental startups that continues to heat up.
The site’s backers say they’re out to bring order to the chaotic world of rental listings — one plagued by masses of duplicated and out-of-date listings. Zumper accepts only listings that are posted directly to its site by verified landlords, brokers and property managers, and doesn’t “scrape” listings from other sites.
It ranks among a host of other young companies that are attempting to impose stricter quality control on rental listings.
One New York City rental site, RentHop, approaches the task by charging landlords, brokers and property managers to post listings, and scoring them on how quickly they respond to consumer inquiries on its platform.
To lure users, these sites are increasingly harvesting open-source data to bring detailed information on neighborhoods and buildings to consumers. Apartable, for example, boasts a feature that offers records-based profiles of apartment buildings across New York City.
With tight credit and home supply locking many consumers out of the housing market, competition is fierce among these sites. And more and more agents are entering the rental fray as well.
In the National Association of Realtors’ 2013 member survey, 6 percent of respondents reported that their primary business specialty was property management, the highest percentage since 2007. In 2012 it was 5 percent; in 2011 it was 4 percent.
In what Zumper said is a testament to its superior user experience, an internal survey of its first 100,000 users showed that renters using Zumper enjoyed a much higher response rate on inquiries than rates associated with other sites.
Zumper’s customizable Listing Feed and neighborhood search feature are at the heart of its top-notch customer experience, the company said.
Zumper says that its iPhone app is another offering that sets it apart from other rental sites. The app enables users to enter listing details and photos and publish listings on Zumper.com in minutes, and also create fliers to post to Craigslist.