THE BLOG
09/30/2015 01:49 pm ET Updated Sep 30, 2016

Lots of Online Rental Home Information -- Just Little Help

One thing you can count on about the Internet and real estate is that there is a huge amount of information available, most of it for free, and at the click of a mouse. The only problem is that some of it is less than accurate, and some of it is outright nonsense.

When it comes to rental homes and people who want to find their next rental residence, the information is mostly accurate at sites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com. The problem is more that it's the same information, and it's not really what the renter wants and needs to avoid being disappointed after they've signed a lease and lived in their new home a while.

Sure, the number of bedrooms and baths is important. And, knowing the area's main attributes, shopping and other venues is valuable too. However, there are gaps in the type of information that the tenant wants to know in order to see if their lifestyle fits into the home and the neighborhood.

RentalRoost.com has entered the Internet real estate arena to try and change all of that. This company has listened to the complaints of tenants about their lack of information that would have changed their decisions. They frequently move into a home only to find that the area isn't as pet-friendly or doesn't have the entertainment and nightlife they wanted.

The site maps areas by the usual criteria, but also by "lifestyle criteria."

• Pedestrian friendly
• Pet friendly
• Kids friendly
• Transportation Friendly
• Fine Dining
• Art & Culture
• Shopping Score

How will the site make money?

According to the company, there will be upgraded services offered to tenant searchers, such as a "roommate finder" tool, renter insurance, payment processing and others.

On the landlord side, there will be a pro version of the service that allows rental property owners to post properties, screen tenants, create lease applications, collect payments, and manage properties.

Is it different enough to grow?

Their plan is to grow the user base quickly with the lifestyle criteria being a major draw for tenant searchers. This could work. If they do become a major destination for rental home searchers, then rental investors will want to take note.

The investor with rental property in areas exhibiting the most in-demand lifestyle criteria could well find this to be a good site for advertising their rentals. As tenants are paying more for rents these days, they are becoming more demanding in their choices and requirements. Their problem has been in part due to inferior search utilities that have not placed an emphasis on lifestyle issues.

We'll see if tenants find this site to be useful and make it the "go-to" place to find their next rental home. If they do, rental property owners should consider it a high priority advertising venue to get that perfect long term tenant.