The housing market keeps breaking records.
Normally, society celebrates shattered milestones and blistering growth. But when it comes to the housing market, this “up and to the right” trajectory represents a major pain point for apartment renters.
According to data from Pew Research Center, 49% of Americans say the availability of affordable housing in their community is a major problem – up 10% from four years ago. In the face of an historic shortage of reasonably-priced rentals, the old way of renting apartments won’t work.
The market needs an apartment rental platform for the next generation. That was our motivation behind starting SplitSpot, the flexible room rental network designed to take the pain out of the rental process. Long term, we envision SplitSpot as a major provider of flexible, affordable apartment leases for renters everywhere.
We don’t claim to be the single solution for every existing problem with housing access and housing density. However, we’ve already proven ourselves as part of the solution. Here are some of the ways we’re providing options for renters amidst an unprecedented rental market:
Removing the financial barriers to entry for renters
Apartment living is generally thought to require less up-front money than homeownership. Securing an affordable apartment isn’t easy financially either, though! In cities like Boston, renters sometimes need to provide the equivalent of four months’ rent just to sign their lease: a month each for security deposit, broker fee, and first/last month’s rent.
A group of four roommates moving into a relatively modest $1,000/room apartment need to scratch together an astounding $16,000 before they can sign on the dotted line. That’s not fair.
We believe it shouldn’t take so much cash to move into a new place. At SplitSpot, we’ve aimed to create a more realistic model, with fewer bells and whistles that drive up initial costs. Most of our units require only the first month’s rent and a low $400 security deposit upfront.
Making it easier to rent apartments off-cycle
Many cities have a typical cycle, or schedule, for their apartment leases. In Boston, for instance, most leases begin on September 1 and end on August 31 of the following year.
There are certain circumstances when apartments become “off-cycle.” Perhaps a renovation got delayed, or a tenant broke their lease, leaving the unit vacant beyond September 1st. These off-cycle units can be a pain for landlords, because the majority of renters have already found a rental property.
SplitSpot specializes in filling these misfit rooms. Our marketing engine reaches renters through 20+ channels, taking the strain off landlords. Features like 4-month leases and roommate screening make these rooms attractive for off-cycle searchers. Instead of packing into yet another studio apartment in a large downtown apartment building, SplitSpot renters are exposed to more options in different areas of each city, on timelines that actually work for them.
Maximizing housing access and reducing vacancies
In 2021, SplitSpot matched over 1,000 roommates. In many of those cases, we were able to fill a vacant room in a multi-bedroom apartment with a new roommate. Instead of taking up a spot in a different studio apartment, that new tenant instead fits seamlessly into an existing occupied unit.
Additionally, SplitSpot’s speedy team helps ensure that landlords aren’t dealing with long-term vacancies (in other words: wasted empty apartment rooms). On average, SplitSpot fills apartment listings within 2.6 weeks of posting on our platform.
Landlords – especially those managing multiple properties – have a lot to deal with on a daily basis. Apartment tours and inquiries are a big time suck, especially when they have to be coordinated around roomie schedules in an occupied apartment. Our customer support specialists take control of the listing and move-in process to ease the burden on landlords, and get more people into units, quicker.
Related: The Challenge of Finding Tenants for Multi-Bedroom Apartment Units
Adding ease to life with roommates
Roommate life is not always a choice. It’s often a financial requirement for young renters.
Quick bit of math here: the pre-tax average starting monthly salary of a college graduate in Boston is about $4,000/month.
Compare that to the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Boston. By the time you factor in taxes and other living expenses (food, transportation, etc), it’s likely not even possible for a recent college grad to live alone.
SplitSpot is making it easier for roommates. We pre-vet all existing roommates before a new resident joins the apartment, and oversee payments for utilities to avoid conflicts. The same can’t be said for sites like Craigslist and Facebook – which are also much more competitive marketplaces with less reliability than our comprehensive platform.
Improving relationships between renters and landlords
Things work out when everyone feels they’re getting a good deal. That’s why we built our platform to address the biggest pain points of both property owners/managers and their tenants. Trust is the key to unlocking a healthy renter relationship.
SplitSpot helps landlords ensure a high occupancy rate, and fills rooms quickly when tenants decide to move. We also handle maintenance requests and rent collection directly from our platform. Renters, meanwhile, gain increased flexibility and security given our shorter leases and thorough background checks.
The economic forces at play are already making rent hard enough. No one needs more hassles. I’m proud to be a co-founder of a company that’s taking a new age approach to address a tricky housing market. Everyone deserves access to a great place to live. We think our platform can help more people be happy with their housing.
Does SplitSpot sound like a solution to your housing access and housing density headaches? Rent or list an apartment with us today!