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WEB/DIGITAL Pick my idea apart!!!

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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North Carolina
Hey guys,

I am constantly asked for advice on rental properties and help finding them from my college friends (slow lane alert). I guess since I am one of the few that decided to buy a house, it makes me the real estate guru! Either way here is my idea.

1) I was going to develop a website that allowed rental agencies to post their rental properties for free.

2) All the properties would be near campus and targeted for students.

3) The students would see one of the hundreds of ads on campus and go to this site.

4) Upon getting to the site, they find a property they want, they press GET MORE INFO.

5) Instantly the rental firm that owns the property receives the lead email, I receive the lead email, and the student will wait for their information.

6) Once the email is sent out, it will automatically withdraw from that agencies account they they have with us. I was figuring $5-10 per lead.

Obviously there is face book and craigslist that I am competing with, but none of them are targeted nor monitored. There is so much crappy properties, duplicates, low quality images, etc. I thought that this may be a good way to help students find rental properties and make a killing at the same time.

Let me know what you think, REAL ESTATE PEOPLE I WANT YOUR INPUT ESPECIALLY!

Thanks
Tom
www.aptohosting.com
 

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Runum

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Good ideas Tom. I do have 3 rent houses located near a college in a small city. I am not sure about your area but I can give you my experience.

The college rentals are all seasonal. I did have a vacancy come up in October of this year(broken lease). I knew when he left that the unit would be not get rented until December no mater how much marketing I did.

My marketing for renting these units consists of putting a sign out. I usually get 4-5 calls a day until it rents out. I put details on my phone message so I can eliminate some callers. I also know where the campus bulletin boards are in case the sign doesn't work.
It would be cool for the students if there were a central online contact place for potential housing but I, as a landlord, wouldn't pay for it, at least not near that much. Maybe you can make the killing on advertising or from the kids?

Just my experience. Good luck.

Greg
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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Thanks for the advice!

How much would you pay per lead? Or hell would you even pay $10 per month per property?

Tom
 

Z5 FILMS

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Aug 13, 2007
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I like the idea. Not so sure about the $10 per lead. You're going to get a lot of tire kickers that could cost the advertiser $100's for dead leads. I don't think they will be happy with that.
For example, I have a friend that sells houses. He does not pre-screen them, so he wastes a lot of time on people who are not qualified. Kids who's parents are paying for it so they have no decision ability, people who just want to look at houses for design ideas, people with no job and no money but just want to look, etc.

I would find another revenue model or find a way to screen these people out.
 

kurtyordy

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Aug 28, 2007
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Since the other thread did not grow legs, here is what I posted under the other one,
Ok, here is my 2 cents...

If I was to use this I would be more likely to use it if it was structured as so....

Potential tenant fills out app with you. You run credit check, cust pays $25. They can be sold on this because the $25 covers 35 landlords or whatever the number is.

You then cross reference their app with landlords desires, i.e. pets, smoking, credit score, etc.

You email perspective tenants list of qualifying landlords, they pick one and you send to landlord with copy of credit report and highlighting the matches. Landlord pay $25-$35 per qualified lead.

Let me know if this was confusing, my brain is functioning slow right now.
 

EasyMoney_in_NC

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Sep 9, 2007
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Wilmington NC
I don't do the college student thing. But as a landlord of quite a few properties, I use the local news paper and yard signs as my advertising and usually rent via one or the other. Assuming the paper add runs me roughly 200 a month and I get 2 calls on average (over 30 days)a day, that's a little over $3 a day per call. I would say, that to make your idea work, you'd need to be in that range to be competitive. Now if you want to add other services after the lead is made and a possible tenant is secured......well then that'll be a different revenue stream to work on pricing. I like the idea in general though. It would be great to have a (Realtor.com) type site for local rental properties.
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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Ya,

Thanks alot for the great ideas!

I guess I can always lower the lead price to $3-$5 per lead. Which I figure to start with!

100 properties on the site
30 inquiries per day on the 100 properties
30 x $5 = $150
$150 per day x 7 days a week = $1050 per week

Hell I could make it $1 per lead, and still make a healthy profit. Since the only cost to me would be web hosting!

Easy money- Would you pay $1-$3 per lead? Hell even if you got 10 inquiries you pay $30, and have a 1 out of 10 chance of getting a tenant.


Also we would have a system for refunding bad leads, so if a lead was just garbag. The manger could request for a lead refund.

I am just brain storming, and I think I may have something here. I know for a fact I could develop this!

Thanks guys

Tom
 

Luke12321

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Go for it. I think it is a great idea and since you are local you could do cheap advertising. I am still thinking about starting up a lead generation site myself but since I would be promoting nationally....I need to build my knowledge up on PPC/Adwords before I can do it. I can't wait to see the site if you do decide to go after this! Good luck dude
 

Yankees338

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Jul 24, 2007
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I posted in the other thread, too, but that went nowhere.

I like the idea a lot. Including a quality service like the one Kurt mentioned would greatly benefit your site. If you can offer a quality service, there is no way you won't succeed, especially considering you'll have very low overhead.

I'd definitely recommend trying to get everything automated to require the least amount of work on your part.

As far as pricing goes, I'd recommend charging a monthly fee for the owners. If not, maybe you could charge only per SUCCESSFUL lead (i.e. one that leads to a renter)? You could charge more then because they'd be willing to pay more knowing that it'll only be worth it if the lead cashes in for them. You could offer them a packaged deal if they have multiple properties listed (if billed monthly). Then, you could charge the customers to get them screened and qualified as Kurt mentioned to avoid the homeowners time being wasted.

You definitely have a good idea here. Run with it and good luck! Keep us posted.
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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I posted in the other thread, too, but that went nowhere.

I like the idea a lot. Including a quality service like the one Kurt mentioned would greatly benefit your site. If you can offer a quality service, there is no way you won't succeed, especially considering you'll have very low overhead.

I'd definitely recommend trying to get everything automated to require the least amount of work on your part.

As far as pricing goes, I'd recommend charging a monthly fee for the owners. If not, maybe you could charge only per SUCCESSFUL lead (i.e. one that leads to a renter)? You could charge more then because they'd be willing to pay more knowing that it'll only be worth it if the lead cashes in for them. You could offer them a packaged deal if they have multiple properties listed (if billed monthly). Then, you could charge the customers to get them screened and qualified as Kurt mentioned to avoid the homeowners time being wasted.

You definitely have a good idea here. Run with it and good luck! Keep us posted.
I would be very worried about the fraud associated with only getting paid per successful lead. I do like the monthly fee idea, I will have to research my area more and see if people will even pay for this service.

Thanks
Tom
 

JesseO

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Jul 25, 2007
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I think that's a great idea, Tom. Best of luck implementing it =)
 

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EasyMoney_in_NC

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Sep 9, 2007
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I would do it if A) it wasn't geared towards students only (I don't typically rent to students) and B) if I saw that it had a wide and broad reach (how will you get the word out of the site?)
Obviously the news paper has a wide reach and is the way I rent a vast majority of my properties. I wouldn't want to afford not getting to the people and paying for mortgages out of pocket. Show me you could get me out there and you may have something :)
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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North Carolina
I would do it if A) it wasn't geared towards students only (I don't typically rent to students) and B) if I saw that it had a wide and broad reach (how will you get the word out of the site?)
Obviously the news paper has a wide reach and is the way I rent a vast majority of my properties. I wouldn't want to afford not getting to the people and paying for mortgages out of pocket. Show me you could get me out there and you may have something :)
Ok so I had bought

www.rentuncw.com
www.uncwrentals.com


I was planning on taking a radio slot on 107.5 and 97.3, 1/2 page ad in the newspaper, distribute 500-1000 flyers per week on campus, and going to wrap one of my vehicles with the domain all over it.

I would be the most aggressive I have ever been with the marketing, and I think it would benefit the landlords on my site.

AS TO YOUR CONCERN- I would have a section for students, but the majority of the site would be for the "masses". There would be normal listings for rentals all over the city, monkey junction, Carolina Beach.

EasyNC- Which revenue model would you rather see?

1) Pay $24.95 per month get premium listing status, and list unlimited properties.
2) Pay $1-$3 for ANY lead that gets sent to you
3) Pay $50-$75 per qualified lead (background/credit checked)
4) Pay $0.00 and all the revenue come from advertising

This really what I am between, so if anyone else has more input I would really appreciate it. I am ready to start hardcore coding this week!

Thanks
Tom C.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I tried to IM you last nite about this but I didn't get a response.
 

EasyMoney_in_NC

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Sep 9, 2007
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Well, of course door #4 would be the best alternative for any investor. I also like that idea because it allows you to promote services for landlords, and allows landlords to pick up new service providers. I am an odd bird in that I am a GC and have most everyone I need or have contacts to find them already, and I tend to have very low turn over (although I do have a nice home in Monkey Junction coming up the first of March :) )

I like what you are trying to do. BUT the names you have purchased lead to one thing........student tenants. Its rare I even get calls from students anymore with parking restrictions being what they are at UNCW, I used to get a fair amount. I'm not saying that the names are wrong, but maybe you buy and house a few names that lead to one site, that way you capture all markets. I wouldn't want to advertise on a site I thought was geared towards students, but if the name implied a broader market, and happens to associate with a student body as well......well thats a different story. I think you want to hit as many market demographics as possible, just don't limit the sites visitors with a bad or improper descript name.

My .0002 cents
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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North Carolina
I tried to IM you last nite about this but I didn't get a response.

Im sorry, try again tonight if you have time.

Thanks
Tom
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
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North Carolina
Most valuable piece of advice I have received yet! I will go ahead and get a new domain that will limit the market less.

Thanks
Tom
 

CactusWren

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Jan 5, 2008
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Arizona
Just wanted to let you know that in my area everyone uses Craig's list. I love it. It's been taking less than two days to get a minimum of 6 calls. I have stopped spending money in newspaper ads, only thing we do is sign in front and Craig's list. Last time, my husband hammered in the sign at the same time he had showing appointments from Craig's list.

-Cynthia
 

CardinalsFan

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Feb 6, 2008
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Charlotte
hey man,
i just found this thread and realized that we had an extremely similar idea. I bought housingpuzzle.com from you! haha. Let me know if you want to talk about it (I go to school in NC as well). I think the key here would to be create a niche making the site better than the average listing site....which I think I have. PM me for more info.

have a good one. -Aaron
 

yveskleinsky

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Tom-

Why are you just focusing on NC? I think you could expand your idea to any campus, anywhere.

As a former owner of a college rental, I would have paid either a low amount monthly (less than $5) or preferred that it was free- you would get a TON of sponsors. As a former owner of a college geared nightclub/restaurant we would have -handsdown- advertised on your website.
 

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CardinalsFan

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Feb 6, 2008
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I was thinking that we could have different levels:

basic listing-free
premium listing-5 dollars a month (added pictures, directions, video tour and more.....)
banner advertising-after the student selects the school, advertisements become school specific

offer more to students! create buzz, make off campus housing easy.....

this is basically something that I want to do with some tweaks....cant let yall know everything!

again...Tom if you ever wanna get back to my emails, we should talk about it! haha
 

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