RentalsTechnology

RENTcafe has marketing down, but its mobile experience needs work

Owned by Yardi, website and mobile platform has its ups and downs

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Takeaways:

  • RENTcafe serves as a marketing and leasing solution for property managers.
  • Available with Android and iPhone, the RENTcafe app has caused issues with tenants, like not being able to log in and pay rent.
  • RENTcafe has a strong content marketing and social media presence.

RENTcafe is a Web-based and smartphone apartment search platform aiming to make the apartment hunt easy. It’s a lofty goal that companies all over are trying to achieve, and a streamlined and simple apartment search and management platform may be easier imagined than deployed.

The website is a search engine as well as a platform through which renters can submit rental applications and go through the process of securing an apartment from start to finish. Property managers and landlords who utilize the software can have renters pay directly in the application, and renters can view balances, submit maintenance requests and more.

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RENTcafe is a product of Yardi, an international software company with multiple property management platforms for various facets of the industry. The product therefore fully integrates with Yardi Voyager and Yardi Leasing Pad.

RENTcafe is free for property managers and landlords to use.

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The product offers reputation management and social media tools to its users, and it is very active on social media, posting information about local housing markets, listings and neighborhood guides.

But the listing portal is lacking in its mobile platforms, available for both iPhone and Android. In the Apple Store and Google Play store, the apps are rated two stars and three stars, respectively.

Users most notably complain about the rental payment functionality, reporting that it simply doesn’t work. Others can’t input maintenance requests or banking information, and some report not even being able to log in. These tools are promoted as part of its “full leasing solution.”

“We are aware of the issues expressed by just a few users of our RENTcafe mobile application, which has been downloaded thousands of times,” Esther Bonardi, industry principal, Yardi Marketing Solutions said in a statement. “These functionality concerns have been addressed directly by our developers in a recent update, and are not widespread. Our clients and their customers tell us that the easy mobility functionality of the RENTcafe platform is one of their favorite features of the product.”

The marketing and social interactions is really where RENTcafe sticks out from its competitors. The company focuses on content marketing in particular, posting regular stories about how cities have changed, the most expensive rentals in the country and the best views in a certain city.

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RENTcafe says it is expanding to new cities, but right now it has a big presence in Los Angeles, Austin and Las Vegas. Users can drill down on a neighborhood basis, ZIP code or by drawing out a polygon.

This article has been updated to include a company statement. 

Email Kimberly Manning.