It’s time to move the the apartment rental process into the 21st century.
That’s the vision of RadPad, a new app that makes every aspect of the rental process as easy as hitting a few buttons on your phone.
Many people still use Craigslist to find apartments, but the website’s subpar user interface and reputation for sketchiness force many into other solutions that charge brokerage fees or offer limited selection.
RadPad started when CEO Jonathan Eppers had a poor experience looking for an apartment. He was surprised that there was no useful app that streamlined the entire renting experience. “It didn’t feel like anyone was really trying to solve my problem or actually make this process of renting easy,” said Eppers. So he decided to do it himself.
It’s been a quick success. RadPad has been used tens of millions of times over the last 2.5 years, said Eppers. Almost every city in the US has places listed on RadPad, making the app a valuable resource for both landlords and prospective renters.
Some of the biggest challenges, said Eppers, were related to convincing investors that the problem was worth solving. “Most investors we’ve met haven’t rented in years, so they’re not in touch with what renters go through today,” he said. But the influx of users has demonstrated the viability of the idea.
The key is that most renters aren’t just looking for a place to live – they’re looking for a very specific location, set of features, and neighborhood atmosphere. RadPad helps users to filter out the places they’re not interested in.
The listings on RadPad aren’t typical apartment listings. Every listing is required to have at least three photos, and once a place is rented, it’s removed from the app so you don’t waste your time looking at old possibilities. Each listing allows you to see “likes” from other users and prioritizes the listings with the best content through an algorithm the company developed called PadRank. You can even communicate with your “future landlord” directly through the app!
RadPad’s business isn’t just confined to the apartment search. Once a renter moves in, they can use the app to pay rent – even if the landlord prefers physical checks. If a renter hooks up a debit or credit card to their account, they can pay rent from the RadPad app, and the company will mail a physical check to the landlord, even notifying the renter when it’s been cashed.
“We don’t cut corners and we’re users of our product, as are most of our friends, so we have a great responsibility not to screw this up,” said Eppers. He said the company plans to continue expanding by drawing in more users to make the platform more valuable for landlords and renters. One unique piece of advice to entrepreneurs? “Be a user of your product.”