Have you heard about Zilpy? New site for tracking rents in cities across USA…

A title rep sent me an email today that gave me a head’s up on a new site I’d not seen before called www.Zilpy.com. It looks a heck of a lot like Zillow but with data on rents instead of home values. I’ve been playing around with it a bit and while I can’t figure out exactly yet how they’re getting the data, I’m intrigued. Most likely I’ll make mention of it to some of our investors to get their feedback on it as well and see if they think it’s a worthwhile site.

Check out the function of “heat maps” for rent levels in Washington. More states and cities are covered so it’s not just a Seattle gig. I believe it’s come to life from Silicon Valley.


A class act… Screen for Success via Rental Housing Association

I’ve been a big fan of Tamara Simon and her landlord focused classes for some time. She’s been kind enough over the years to provide slimmed down versions of them for my clients and other public classes I’ve sponsored over the past 5 years. So, today I’m giving her a plug for an upcoming class she is doing for RHA where she has been involved in the education committee for years. She’s a top educator in this field and a darn good business woman and property manager.

Anecdotally, in my own RE business I’ve seen an uptick in interest in rental housing purchases (MFH) as prices have softened in that market area (read dumb money leaving the market! :)) so if you’re one of the people looking to own rental property, and especially if you plan on self-managing, this is a class to attend.

Presented by Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound

Screen for Success
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Speaker: Tamara Simon, owner of Koss Property Management and a licensed Real Estate Broker since 1983.

Location: RHA Conference Room
529 Warren Ave N
Seattle, WA

Time: 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Cost: $45 for members

Come learn practical useful information on how to screen and select the winners from the losers. This class is more than learning to read a credit report. It helps you from knowing how to effectively advertise and show your rental, to the final step of renting it to your new tenant!

Just because users can post doesn’t mean they will

In spite of all the hype for social websites, there have been a rash of noble attempts that come up short recently. No one has quite figured out the right way to start an open dialog about individual homes yet.

ShackYack, “the only real estate site where you can comment and rate the product, just like amazon, netflix, ebay etc.,” launched in late May. Apparently they have found that houses aren’t mass produced and sold by the millions like iPods and people really don’t have much to post about them. That said, part of the reluctance to comment on properties is probably the buggy interface and their newness on the market.

However! Propsmart’s interface isn’t buggy. In fact, it’s one of the best out there and they encourage comments too. But a random sampling of homes on the site shows no comments.

Why would you want to publicly comment on a house unless you’re the owner or an agent looking for leads? The house, along with your comments, is going to be off the market in a few weeks and, unless you’re an agent, you’re going to be out of the market in a short period of time too. And if you’re an agent, blogging seems like a more public and permanent way to go.

That said, Propsmart’s blogging service appears to be stillborn, with the last post being posted over 2 months ago. Even blogging systems aren’t always a hit.

I feel like I’m picking on PropSmart here, but I’m really not. Whenever you introduce new services, some will be hits and some won’t. Their search site and their interface in particular are great and they are definitely the most straight-talking real estate search company out there (possibly the only one?).