Today’s rental application could use more transparency, according Alex Lubinsky, CEO of Rentberry.

  • Rentberry lets the open market set the price of your rental based on demand.
  • The platform is free to property owners for listing.
  • Applicants need only pay $25 if their application is accepted by property owner.

Today’s rental application could use more transparency, according Alex Lubinsky, CEO of Rentberry.

“In most of the cases, you go to the open house, you like the place, you submit the application and paperwork — which is not up to the standards of the 21st century — then, in a couple days, you find out you lost,” he said. “You lost to a person who offered $50 more. ‘Why didn’t you call me and tell me they offered $50 more? I could offer $75 more!'”

Rentberry is a platform for auctioning rental properties on the open market. Homeowners and property managers can list their properties, and potential tenants can bid on the residence. The winning bid is accepted and the tenant moves in. It’s that simple.

Lubinksy said his team’s goal was develop a more efficient and transparent application process in a closed-loop system.

How it works

The Rentberry website meets both demands in the rental market: Homeowners and property management companies can list properties for free, and potential tenants can search properties for free. Once the searcher has found a property, they are able to bid on it and see bids from other applicants.

“What we developed is the open-market solution to the longterm rental space,” Lubinsky said.

Applicants enter their key information during the bidding process. To start, the applicant can view the property’s details, such as amenities and the basic description, then move onto the application process. The first landing page shows the current high bid and offers a suggestion for a winning big price. This is also possible for the security deposit. The next prompt asks your employment status, student status and current income. The application is finalized with an agreement for a credit check.

After that, you wait. The homeowner or property management company chooses from the bidders who to accept into the property. However, during the bidding process, you can be notified of other applicant’s offers and can then readjust your bid. If your bid is accepted, you pay the $25 fee to Rentberry and move into your new residence.

Rental agreements can be signed electronically via HelloSign, and all credit reports are run through Experian.

“For homeowners, the problem is, ‘How much do I need to price this property?'” Lubinsky said. “The market should dictate and price your property, and our technology allows the market to say how much people are willing to pay for properties.”

Applicants can bid on as many properties as they want for free, but the fee is incurred when the offer is accepted and the applicant moves forward with the rental.

Controversy

One problem Lubinsky addressed was the already high rent prices in hot markets like Los Angeles, New York, and Boston, which were the survey pools Rentberry conducted research.

“It’s controversial, for sure,” he said. “People might say the rates and apartment prices are already so high.” He deferred this controversy, though, by discussing the benefits of the Rentberry technology and how it can actually help the process.

In a slow market, Lubinsky said the average time of vacancy was around 30 days. That’s 30 days a homeowner or landlord is without a tenant. This is where applicants can submit a discounted offer to the landlord in either the rent price or the security deposit. For tenants, Rentberry offers applicants the opportunity to bid on multiple places without wasting money on multiple application fees, a commonly non-refundable fee.

How it started

The concept for RentBerry was founded in August of 2015 when Lubinsky found himself in a dilemma while searching for a rental property. For the four weeks he was looking for a place in the Bay Area, he kept running into the same problem: He would submit an application only to find out another applicant offered more than the asking price. He asked why he wasn’t contacted, saying he would gladly offer a higher bid to just finish the process — but like any good business person knows, time is money, and time spent contacting all applicants costs money.

RentBerry is expected to rollout on May 17 and will be available nationwide.

Email Britt Chester

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