One of the most difficult parts about investing in the real estate rental market is figuring out how much you should charge for rent, and whether the rents you are charging, or intend to charge, are too little, too much or just right. While most people focus on the location of their rental, its size, its amenities and how it looks, perhaps the biggest determining factor of whether it is a good investment is the rent you charge.
Today, there are various information sources and tools available on the internet to help you research the appropriate levels of rent you should charge. One of those tools is Rentometer, an online resource to research comparative rents in a location for properties of your type, size and look. But how accurate is Rentometer, and is it something you should invest in if you’re a property owner looking to rent out your housing?
How Does Rentometer Work?
Rentometer is an online resource that uses proprietary technology to give users an analysis of rent comparisons in a particular market. The company says it is the “go-to service for reliable rent data for apartment, condos and homes,” as it’s delivered more than 15 million rent comparison reports.
Rentometer is a simple-to-use online resource. To figure out comparison rents in your area, all you have to do is enter your property address as well as your unit’s number of bedrooms and a monthly rent range. The site will then take your data and compare it with other listings that are like yours in the area, then give you numbers and visual data to show you how your property and rent compares to other properties like yours.
Who Owns Rentometer?
Rentometer is a based in Boston. In April 2012, it was acquired by an ownership group that is led by Mike Lapsley, a veteran of the rental housing industry. The company is the principal sponsor of the Independent Rental Owners Committee, which is a subgroup of the National Apartment Association, according to its website.
Where Does Rentometer Get Its Data?
Rentometer says that its reports are curated from proprietary technology and data, and as such, they don’t share a lot of information about where it gets its data. What the company does say is it collects data from a variety of sources such as bulk syndicated data, its own proprietary rental data from surveys as well as user-generated input.
Rentometer collects data daily from across the country. Much of this data is based around rental listings, and as such, it reflects rental asking prices more than it does actual rents that are being obtained by landlords.
How Rentometer Tracks Number of Reports?
Rentometer provides each of its users three free reports to run. After that point, the company forces users to sign up for a paid Pro account, which provides an unlimited number of reports as well as extra data points and more in-depth information.
When Does Rentometer Reset?
Rentometer says it collects data every day, and only uses the most recent data in the reports it produces for users. There may be multiple data points on a specific property, for example, but only the most data is what is displayed in the reports. Because of this, Rentometer “resets” every day.
What Does Rentometer Cost?
Rentometer provides a free trial for all of its users, giving each five free Pro Rent reports. For those who want to run more reports, or who want to drill down deeper to find more information on rental prices on similar properties to yours or in your area, the company offers a paid Pro service.
For $99 per year, Rentometer Pro offers unlimited access to property reports, batch analysis, neighborhood search, Zip code search, custom report branding, rent analysis reports and map representations. In addition, the Pro plan also offers advanced reporting such as a one- to four-bedroom summary report, professional print formatting, the ability to download to Excel and more in-depth property details than the free version.
The company also offers the Pro plan on a monthly basis. This option costs $29 per month, and you can cancel at any time.
How Reliable Is Rentometer?
The reliability of Rentometer may come into question for many property owners because the company provides comparison data after you provide only three main pieces of information – your property address, the monthly amount of rent and the number of bedrooms. As many property owners know, there is a whole lot more that goes into determining a property’s rent than these three data points.
As such, the information and data that Rentometer provides can’t be deemed reliable if you’re looking for very specific, 100 percent accurate data. There is so much more that goes into determining what an appropriate level of rent for a property should be, including the number of bathrooms, the type of property, the square footage, the age of the property, whether pets are allowed, what amenities are provided and included, if appliances are on site, the size of the year and the parking that is available, for example.
Without taking into consideration all those factors, it’s hard, if not impossible, to provide an extremely accurate representation of what the rent should be.
Despite the warnings above about Rentometer’s reliability, the site is still a solid tool for getting a general overview of similar properties in your area. It may not give you a definitive suggestive price that you could ask for, and obtain, for your rental property, but it will give a nice overview of the market you’re in and what others are asking for their properties. While some investors might want a more accurate prediction and suggestion for their property, this is still valuable information to have before embarking on more in-depth research.Rentometer, then, can be one tool that you use to help you determine how much you could charge and obtain for your rental property. Another great tool is Home Union’s RENTestimate, which can help you determine a property’s value in a particular market. As part of a more in-depth collection of data and information, it could be a valuable tool to help you get where you need to be.