There’s no question that technology has helped redefine the real estate industry. With the success of Trulia, Zillow and others, it’s clear that there is a huge market for providing the real estate sector with online tools. Y Combinator-backed startup YouGotListings is adding an innovative product for brokers and landlords with the launch of its simple, easy to use rental listings management software.
While there are a number of startups who are playing in the space, YouGotListings has an interesting back story. The idea for the startup was founded a few years ago by engineers Gordon Chen and John Li as a way to provide real estate brokers with a listings management platform and landlords with an easy way to market their properties to brokers and consumers. But the startup’s founders quickly learned that the real estate market can be a tough industry to break into without any insider knowledge.
So Chen and Li spent a full year as brokers in Boston so they could fully understand how the system works and eventually provide an application that would meet the needs of both brokers and landlords in the rental industry (apparently, they were so good at renting apartments that their former employers are still trying to get them back as brokers in Boston).
The software the founders ended up producing after this research is YouGotListings. The SaaS allows landlords to post new listings, which get distributed in real-time to the brokers they’ve selected. Previously, landlords would have to fax or email new properties directly to each broker, which can be a time consuming process especially if a landlord is managing a number of properties.
And YouGotListings aims to be a start to finish application for brokers, where they can find listings, publish these listings to consumers, and then also run credit-checks, print rental applications and more. YouGotListings is free for listing distributions, and costs anywhere from $50 per month for a single user to $100 per month for unlimited users.
The software also includes tools for syndicate rental listings to general listing sites like Trulia, Hotpads, Craigslist and others. And brokers can use YouGotListings to power consumer-facing websites with available rental listings. Within the software, landlords and brokers can message each other about properties and the startup recently launched an Android app to allows brokers to view listings on the fly (an iPhone app will be released in the next few days). Another useful feature is the ability to create and print itineraries for clients with information about all the rental properties they are seeing in a given tour.
While YouGotListings is currently focused on the Boston and Chicago markets (in Chicago YouGotListings has a ten percent marketshare), and plans to move into the Florida and San Francisco markets soon. Chen tells us that each city is different in terms of how rentals are found, and the startup is focused on building relationships in each city with both brokers and landlords as a way to expand use of their software. The model has worked in Boston and YouGotListings says that already have 75% of the market in the city.
One of YouGotListings’ main competitors is RentJuice, which just raised $6.2 million in funding and acquired a competitor, Kahoots. YouGotListings is bootstrapped and has only raised $150,000 via the StartFund. Chen says that while much of the functionality between the two platforms is similar, he feels that Li and his experience as brokers has helped them “know the business.” “We speak brokers’ language and know their pain points,” Chen explains. “Right now our biggest goal is not to expand quickly but to provide the best support for brokers and help make our customers happy.”