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Bigger Isn’t Always Better

June 26 2012

This article comes to us from David Vivero, founder of RentJuice and VP of Rentals at Zillow.

3827 rent graphWhen it comes to life as a real estate pro, it's not always the size that counts.

While listings with a "For Sale" sign in the yard yield higher commissions, they can take more time and effort to move. Supplementing income from home sales by raking in multiple, smaller commission checks can add up to a lot – and it's becoming easier to do, thanks to a growing renter population and new innovations that are popping up throughout the industry.

In the first quarter of 2012, the rental vacancy rate of 8.8 percent was 0.9 percentage points lower than the first quarter of 2011 and 0.6 percentage points lower than last quarter, according to numbers from the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau. Renting is on the rise, and the real estate industry is transforming to help brokers and agents meet the climbing demand. Multiple Listing Services are placing emphasis on rental listings data; companies like Zillow have added rentals to their "For Sale" inventory; and new players are emerging with technology offerings that allow for greater volumes, efficiency and precision.

RentJuice – recently acquired by Zillow and now part of its growing rentals marketplace – last week introduced the RentJuice Ad Dashboard, for example. The Ad Dashboard puts users in the cockpit as they pursue their marketing targets. Like putting down a shotgun and picking up a rifle, the metrics interface paints a picture of an office or agent's marketing efforts across various channels and shows what's working and what's not so RentJuice customers can hone their strategy. Far and wide, an infrastructure is being built that will make incorporating rentals into one's real estate repertoire even more attractive.

Mobile apps are also changing the game. While smartphones and tablets continue to gain steam among consumers shopping for their next home, mobile tools are making their way into the hands of rental pros, as well. Beyond increasing traffic and reaching to-be renters during the search process, mobile apps are making brokers more effective while acting as the banker, lawyer, marketer and general manager. RentJuice also recently announced a new app for the iPhone and iPad that allows users to respond to new leads, communicate and share content with them, and initiate the leasing process – all while on the beach or on the bus, right after a client lunch or in between showings.

New technologies are giving rental pros the ability to capitalize on real-time data, cater to digitally-oriented consumers, and manage and execute tasks more efficiently. Once time-wasting tasks now take seconds, and the once time-consuming rental business is now worth a second look.