• Access to rental home information was the number one request from Homesnap users.
  • Upgrade to the app initially limited to Homesnap's Pro markets and some smaller locales.
  • Values for active rentals, open house rentals, pending rentals and recently-rented homes are all available through the app.

An upgrade to MLS data app Homesnap indicates that more agents and investors want access to single-family rental home information, specifically rental data focused on properties’ cash flow potential.

Agents that operate in Homesnap’s “Pro markets” can now search single-family rentals, along with townhouses and condos, and share that information with clients looking to purchase investment properties.

According to Gayle Weiswasser, VP of marketing for Bethesda, Maryland-based Homesnap, having access to rental home information that’s provided directly through MLSs and by agents was a top request of app users.

“In markets where rentals are strong agents want access to that info,” she said. “Consumers want to know the value of an investment property.”

The rental home search feature will first be available to agents operating in the Mid-Atlantic, Los Angeles, Arizona, the Silicon Valley, Massachusetts, Long Island, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Norfolk, Virginia.

When an agent uses the app to search for investment homes in an area, values for active rentals, open house rentals, pending rentals and recently-rented homes pop up on a map. When clicking on an individual property a “rent analysis” card can be viewed, which includes a rent estimate, rent history and an InvestorScore that indicates the potential cash flow of the home.

In short it answers the question “how much could I rent this home for?”

Buy-to-rent firms

Aside from agents and individual investors, larger buy-to-rent firms represent an additional party with an interest in rental home values.

According to a recent report from Freddie Mac, buy-to-rent firms are mainly active in a few Southeast metro areas, where they comprise a “significant share of purchases.”

A trio of southeastern cities, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Cape Coral, Fla., were recently cited by Forbes as top markets for housing investments this year. Other top markets for investment include Grand Rapids, Michigan, San Antonio, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Austin and Seattle.

Rental homes purchased by large buy-to-rent firms tend to be more tightly clustered than those acquired by individual investors. The homes also tend to be newer and larger.

Email Erik Pisor

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