Catch RentHackr at Booth 53 at the Northside Festival in Williamsburg!
Come join RentHackr and a whole bunch of other cool startups at Northside NExT on June 13 and 14. It’s free, fun, and we’re excited to be exhibiting. We hope to see you there!
Thanks RentHackrs, and everyone who supported our campaign to win the Founders Network Inaugural fnDemo Startup Competition!
We’re on the cusp of finishing a vastly improved RentHackr, and we’re excited for this opportunity to connect with more people. Thanks to you, we got 3,572 votes, and took home first place!! We couldn’t be more humbled or more grateful.
Thank you, thank you, thank You.
fnDemo is a virtual tech startup pitch competition featuring more than 30 of founders network’s member startups. Founders Network is a peer mentorship organization that includes more than 350 tech startup “founders helping founders.” And that’s the magic it has. Experienced and earnest founders take time out of their incredibly busy schedules to answer silly and sophisticated questions alike from other founders. We’re excited to be a part of fn.
Stay connected with us on RentHackr.com, and let us invite you to check out our new service as we roll it out.
- Team RentHackr
As the renter-powered site, RentHackr preps for a re-launch, I was approached by founder, Zeb Dropkin to further my interest in the topic of GENTRIFICATION. I want to see just how much RentHackr can be used as a tool to see how gentrified neighborhoods affects the behaviors of apartment hunters moving into (or out of) Brooklyn. As a former Brooklynite, I can attest to how much my ability to make an income in NYC aligns with which neighborhoods to settle into.
Photo: Marivic Guevara (http://instagram.com/p/KSvKdPOonJ/)
If you live in any major cosmopolitan city, you’ve probably heard of the word Gentrification. The dictionary defines is as:
According to an analysis by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli, Brooklyn is home to four of the top 25 fastest gentrifying zip codes nationwide. Also, in 2009, Brooklyn’s median per capita income was just under $23,000. This number is almost $10,000 below the national average. So, does this mean that although the neighborhoods are being “GENTRIFIED,” shouldn’t residents be earning higher wages, not lower? More businesses = More jobs, right? NOT necessarily.
Having worked and lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn between 2006-2008, I saw first-hand how 4th Ave went from a chain of tire shops to hipster bars, dance studios and swanky high-rises. New York Magazine also named it the most livable neighborhood in NYC in 2010. I continue to cross the Manhattan Bridge from the LES to support the small business that survived the building of Jay-Z’s pride and joy, the Barclay’s Center. Although he is the unofficial ambassador of the Brooklyn Nets, games and concerts have certainly helped businesses like Melt (440 Bergen) thrive. I know this firsthand because I lived 2 blocks away from the Navy Yards and worked at Melt when they first opened in the neighborhood. The tips that I earned back then, is far less than what the current mixologists at Melt currently make (I’ve asked). Now that the Barclay Center is up and running, foot-traffic in nearby businesses are also benefitting.
The map shows substantial increases in property values in Brooklyn neighborhoods directly across the river from where I live now in the LES. Neighboring Park Slope hoods such as Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens/Gowanus (also tended bar at PJ Hanley’s on Court St) are among the top 10 that fits the bill.
THEN (2006) NOW (2013)
*Single-fare metro-card: $2.00 $2.50
*Avg. cost of 2-bdrm apt: $2000 $3200
*Avg. cost for lunch: $10.25 $14.15
*Avg. cost for a muffin+tea $3.75 $4.60
*Avg. electrical bill in 2-br/mo $36.18 $48.13
*Avg. cost for weekly groceries $45 $52
*Avg. $ for 3-course dinner for 2 $76 $92
*Federal Min. wage in $5.15 $8.75
*Prices sourced from personal receipts/inquiries from same landlord & apartment building, same small businesses in existence from 2006-Feb 2013 and current rates enforced by the state of NY for said items.
*Taken in front of Cherry Tree Bar on 4th Ave.
In conclusion, whether economists or the governing councils in your region call it, “gentrification” or “beautification” is up to the residents. If it’s possible for the gentrification of a certain neighborhood to result in its beautification is really up to the quality of life that an individual experiences in the process. For me, I’ve lived a pretty nomadic life that fits my ability to earn a wage that is also conducive to my minimalistic lifestyle.
The gentrification of Park Slope from 2006-2013 has been gradual but has provided a more difficult challenge to live a minimalistic way of life. New restaurants pop up but wages aren’t necessarily matching up to enable you to enjoy them. Even if the federal minimum wage increases in the next couple of months, the high costs of rent will continue which doesn’t match up with the small increase in your paycheck. It was fairly manageable to keep up with the high cost of rent back in 2006 as a mixologist (refer back to the 17.4% increase on the map) but has been less so with its popularity by a more affluent stream of renters moving in.
Investors who propose the construction of job creating venues, like the Barclay Center, should consider beautification in their plans because low-income people should also benefit from the gentrification of a neighborhood. What good is it to create new jobs if you push the people out who live in the current financial conditions/times in places they can no longer afford?
RentHackr hopes that renters who sign up on the site will help landlords and leasing agents to price rentals accordingly-leading to a better transparency for the entire rental market. The rental market is broken, and whether or not the topic of gentrification affects this marketplace can only be fixed by renters like me and you. What are you waiting for? Sign up now at http://www.renthackr.com!
1) Map: Property Shark
2) Photos & Video: Marivic Guevara’s own archive
3) Minimum wage information: *http://www.mpnnow.com/topstories/x1781261465/Minimum-wage-question-on-the-table
**Marivic Guevara is a guest blogger from Start-Up Chile working alongside RentHackr’s founder and CEO, Zeb Dropkin
When you hear “Green Living,” do you automatically think of toting a Sigg water bottle or energy efficient appliances and recycling bins for glass, plastic and metal stuff? Maybe it means having more living plants in your apartment, or driving a hybrid car? Or, maybe you ritualistically go to the Union Square Greenmarket and buy locally produced food, dump your bag of biodegradables in the composting bins (where they also sell potting soil for your urban herbal garden). You should be congratulated for doing any one of these things. They’re all good-for-the-environment individual actions. Now, think of what we could achieve if our apartment did its part to reduce its carbon footprint. You’d enjoy lower energy bills, peace of mind, and maybe even a tax-break from Uncle Sam.
The green standard for buildings is called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). You’ve probably heard of it, though most of us have only dreamt of the chance to live in a LEED-certified buildings because of the cost. In the early 2000s, a few affordable housing developers began to apply green building standards to their projects and a few cities began to promote their own standards for affordable housing and other residential development. According to a list just released on Jan. 23, 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) approved 1908 LEED building projects in 11 states.
Then there’s the more guerilla, grassroots side of greener living spaces. For example, some of you have probably heard of storage containers being re-purposed as living spaces in countries like the Netherlands and the UK. There are even some popping up in Manhattan. In fact, according to Mother Nature Network (the world’s most visited environmental and social responsibility online network),
there are more than 300 million shipping containers sitting empty at ports around the world-shipping containers are used to build full-and part-time single family homes and much more. In their basic form, recycled shipping containers offer a quick and inexpensive solution to emergency housing needs and when stacked sky-high, they make for intriguing dormitory complexes.
As RentHackr grows, we’ll do what we can to support renters’ efforts to find and live in greener buildings and apartments. We want to help renters achieve greener living. It can be a lot harder to affect change in a rented apartment than it is in a house you own, but it can and should get easier as the awareness of LEED-certified housing becomes more transparent in the rental market. RentHackr will be a resource to help you get a greener apartment, and we’ll provide content to help you streamline your living space and make that old school apartment a little (or a lot) more greener for you.
A simple example of bringing some green into your home: add some bamboo. Not the stalks in a pot that you get in Chinatown (though we like those, too). We like companies like BambooKi who makes quality bamboo products like towels, sheets, kitchen utensils and more, all from 100% bamboo. They even have bamboo clothing, beauty products and bikes with bamboo frames. The company is committed to bamboo because this readily available, green fiber has so many benefits to both the environment and to customers. Who doesn’t love that? (More on bamboo here). I bet some of you eco-philes already own clothing and gear made of bamboo, right? That’s one step in the right direction. We’ve also seen buildings that use recycled bamboo flooring instead of your traditional wood or concrete flooring, and it looks and feels terrific!
We can go on and on about ways to go green, but we’ll spare you (for now). If you’re an eco-nut and would like to share any tips, please send them our way. Whether you’re aspiring to get a little greener, or if you already grow all your own herbs, let RentHackr help you make the best apartment decisions, and join in the discussion on how we can resdesign the rental market by putting renter’s first.
We’ve created Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts so that you can visit those anytime you feel like reading about how you can be more GREEN, amongst other things we’re finding about the rental market.
1) Union Square NYC image: Creative Commons
2)Mother Nature Network website: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/remodeling-design/photos/8-eye-catching-shipping-container-homes/a-new-kind-of-living
3) LEED Logo https://financial.ucsc.edu/PublishingImages/Green_Purchasing/USGBC_Logo.gif
4) Storage container housing image: http://www.theargus.co.uk/resources/images/2247090/?type=articleLandscape
5) Sustainable Programs logo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RvLRTMh5kMc/TGdi51Qkg-I/AAAAAAAAASY/NLONp-hOIKs/S1600-R/Sustainable+Programs+usgbc-li+long+island+u.s.+greenbuilding+council+long+island+blog.jpg
Are you, or someone you know, moving to L.A. between January and March? We’re fascinated with this time of year on the West coast because there seems to be quite a demand for housing during this season. It’s a season where fresh, new talent is in high demand, as so is housing — and that’s a part of the challenge where we think we can help. Check out our website: www.renthackr.com
We’re always on the lookout for housing trends across the nation and we revisited one of our favorites in the Los Angeles Times:
April 12, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
“The average Los Angeles County rent is predicted to soar nearly 10% over the next two years, leading a resurgence of the costly Southland apartment lifestyle.
Southern California’s economic recovery may be halting and tepid, but young workers gaining new employment, a demand for apartment living and scarce construction of units are creating a rental squeeze in the region, according to a report released Wednesday by USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate.”
Fast forward nine months after this article was written and the rental climate for LA County seems to be going just as predicted… or is it? Many of these “young workers gaining new employment” are people in show business. So much so that 25% of all clients that seek rentals are those in the industry, according to Erin P. Alls, VP at Maison International.
The next three months is what the entertainment industry calls “Pilot Season.” What exactly is this Pilot Season and how does it affect the rental market in the greater LA areas? It happens every year from January to March, then again each Fall. This is because TV shows want new shows to come out alongside the upcoming year. During the fall, the same applies since fall is usually when the school year starts which also happens to be the PEAK time for rentals nationwide. A brand new year welcomes in a fresh batch of young actors flocking to LA to be the next young ingénue or hot leading young man to grace the silver screen, or iPad screen. So where do they all go? We want to know, and we’ll be studying the market there over the coming months.
So, if one fourth of the rental market concentrated in greater Los Angeles consists of these dream-chasing young workers, what about the rest of the market? In our interview with Alls, she indicates that other requests are for short-term business stays for digital media companies such as Google and visitors on extended stays to the area. The rest already LIVE in LA but just want to relocate. Makes sense. We love the way that the rental market is driven by clients and their specific needs. Even if it’s short term, there’s always a possibility of it turning into a long-term need for housing and we want Renthackr to be the tool to find that perfect place.
We’re fascinated with the Pilot Season occurrence because we have been getting requests for short-term housing in Los Angeles in the past few months, not just from our site but from our talented NY friends heading to CA to audition for roles. There are resources like Child Actor Programs and the Actors Fund that help young hopefuls find temporary housing but what about for bootstrappers who would rather find their LA digs through other resources? Not everyone has a mom or an agent to help scout out locations before they make the move to CA from regions like the mid-west and east coast. Simply sifting through search listings proves NOT so simple when the overriding drive to pack your bags to get to that t.v. pilot audition seems to supersede sitting in front of a computer to apartment hunt. So, where does Renthackr come in? Since we have a TON of NY leases already registered, we would like to parallel that with the west coast capital of the entertainment industry. We want users on the west coast to have a large presence, just like east coasters.
For now, we don’t know if there is a direct link with the Pilot Season phenom that happens on the first 3 months of the new year but there IS a migration pattern that occurs with the west and east coast. Whether or not a demand to find rentals in L.A. is not the problem, it is the HOW TO FIND the best one without getting ripped off, we want to fix.
So, before you get your headshots done, wardrobe updated, bleach your hair blonde and salivate over your first In n’ Out burger to get ready for your move to the west coast, tell your CA friends (and their friends and so on) to list their apartments on Renthackr so that we give back the power to the renters. The more information we get on rentals on the west coast, the better informed our aspiring Angelina Jolie’s and Brad Pitt’s out there will be.
1) Erin P. Alls | Vice President | Maison International
Licensed in California and New York
Tel: 917 573 1303 | Email: email@example.com
Twitter:@ealls | Blog: http://allsthatrealestate.blogspot.com/
Web NY: www.nyc123.com | Web LA: www.laiseasy.com
“Delivering exceptional and trusted results for over 20 years.”
2) Photo credits:
Highlights from today’s WSJ article on the rental market:
Demand is still very strong. Prices are getting higher, and incentives for renters have dwindled and gone away.
Fewer than 5% of landlords are offering a free month’s rent or paying brokers’ fees—the kind of incentives that were far more common for renters at the height of the recession.
The average Manhattan apartment rented for $3,459 in July, an increase of $16 over the previous $3,443 record set in May.
Manhattan’s inventory increased to 1.2% in July, the highest level since March. In the year-earlier month, the Manhattan vacancy rate was 0.86%.
July through September are the months New Yorkers are likeliest to move, making the 1.2% vacancy rate not far off the mark from what’s typical for July. ”I’m not surprised,” Mr. Wagner said. “It’s a seasonal opening of inventory. If you take a look at the numbers in October, they’ll be tighter again.”
… adding to a rush for housing in the last few weeks of summer, Mr. Malin said, and the Manhattan vacancy rate will likely drop in August due to pent-up demand. This will push some out of Manhattan and into cheaper apartments in other boroughs.
He said that will help create demand in Brooklyn and Queens and spur new housing development there. “It’s better for everyone in the long run,” Mr. Malin said. “But the truth is, we need more housing.”
We’re working hard to enable RentHackrs to plan their next move ahead of time and avoid the housing rush. Check out all the apartments we have on RentHackr now, and let us know how we can help you find the best place for your next apartment.
The WSJ reports on why the rent keeps getting higher in an economic downturn.
Here are some highlights:
Even during the downturn, the city’s median rent increased to $1,100 a month in 2011 from $950 in 2008…
Tenants are handing over a larger portion of their pay to landlords than they did before the recession. The percentage of New York City households spending more than half their income on rent grew to 29% in 2011 from 26% in 2008…
Demand for rentals is on the rise as fewer people buy apartments and houses, either because they can’t get loans or they are worried about not being able to sell if things turn sour. More people are moving to the city, where employment still outpaces the rest of the country. Meanwhile, developers say the rising cost of land means it has become tough to build new, moderately priced rental housing…
When rents increase, the search for a comparable spot is growing increasingly more difficult, brokers and tenants said.
Thanks @joshuabrustein for this NYTimes piece on using tech to make NYC apartment search less painful!
One major problem: the information available to potential renters is simply not very good. Rental listings rarely include much about the landlords, and many listings exist not to convey any real information but to lure potential clients into the offices of brokers, who will then show them whatever spaces they are trying to unload that day. When I looked at my street on PadMapper, for instance, there were three listings supposedly advertising three different apartments along a 10-block stretch, each described in almost identical language.
This problem is not a secret, and nascent projects like InsideDigs and RentHackr are trying to get renters to cooperate to solve it.
The idea is that renters will work cooperatively to find and lease apartments. …On RentHackr, users share what they are paying for their apartments and if they plan to move soon.
Filter RentHackr Markers by Lease End Date
One of the most requested features is now here. Use the date slider to filter the apts on the screen. Choose the month of your lease end, or stretch it out to see what’s going on in a longer time span.
Next up, a price filter. Let us know what you think of the date filter, and what features you want to see next.
RentHackr is still in it’s infancy. We’re dying to get some key features into the hands of users. Thanks for bearing with us at this early stage!
Team RentHackr, RentHackr.com
Thanks for checking our RentHackr and for giving your feedback!
We will definitely roll out mobile after we tighten up the web more. RentHackr was originally conceived as a mobile app, but we chose to start with web because it’s easier and faster (and cheaper!) to test and validate on web.
If you have any more feedback, please share on http://j.mp/GFP82Z.
RentHackr - Let’s change the rental market together
Our terrific video explaining RentHackr is guaranteed to make you smile.
You can now catch this video showing on our homepage over at RentHackr.com. If you like the video, you’ll love RentHackr. Check it out.
Thanks to Rodrigo and JoAnn over at Mindbugstudios for orchestrating the production of our video.
We’re excited and grateful for the opportunity to demo RentHackr at the next NYTM on June 5th!
The New York Tech Meetup has grown to over 22,000 members from all parts of the New York technology community. They’re huge! The venue is the beloved Skirball Center, holding 860 + the event is simulcast to General Assembly and New Work City + it’s livestreamed for anyone on the internet.
This is by far the largest audience that we’ve ever demo’d RentHackr to. We can’t wait to get feedback from a wider audience. We’re hoping to unveil some new features, too.
Thanks to all you renters that checked out, signed up, spread the word, and gave feedback for RentHackr!
Thanks to you, our early alpha version of RentHackr got the press below. We are sincerely grateful - arigato!!
There’s much more to come from RentHackr. Thanks for your support!