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Monday, March 4, 2024

RentHop Connects Property Owners and Agents with Renters Looking for Affordable and Desirable Housing

Renthop Helps Renters Find The Most Desirable Properties
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update CardRates.com readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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In a Nutshell: If you’re a rental property owner, manager, or agent, you know that connecting to reliable long-term renters is the name of the game. That dynamic also works in reverse, with prospective renters looking for properties that punch above their weight. In New York City and other large urban areas, RentHop connects those groups on a platform that leverages an algorithm to increase transparency and ensure everybody gets what they want. RentHop’s HopScore and platform verification protocols ensure the highest-quality properties receive the attention they deserve.

The apartment rental business is about making personal connections and forging lasting relationships.

Renters want an apartment that ticks all the boxes regarding fit and finish, proximity to services and entertainment, and price. They want to work with a responsive, personable owner, manager, or agent and live in an environment conducive to their lifestyle and goals.

Owners, managers, and agents want the same thing in different terms. The ideal renter is responsible, orderly, focused on gaining something from signing a lease, able to make the rent, and interested in renewing for another term.

RentHop Logo

When both sides get what they want, good things happen. When either side fails to fulfill their promises, it’s a hassle for everyone involved.

Getting all these stars to align is more challenging in big cities than in towns and suburbs because prices are higher and competition is fiercer, making the consequences of coming up short more impactful. The problem is that it’s hard for owners and renters to understand each others’ needs well enough to make a good match.

RentHop reduces the guesswork associated with offering apartments and signing leases so both sides end up happy. After starting in 2009 as a platform to help renters find no-fee apartments across New York City, RentHop has expanded to offer all types of properties in most US cities. It’s ready and waiting to connect people who need apartments with owners and agents who have them.

“Today, landlords, management companies, agents, and even subletters can advertise listings on the platform, and renters can access those listings and directly connect with the person promoting them,” said Allyson Waddell, RentHop’s Agent Success Manager. “We’re constantly working to provide better experiences for our users and advertisers.”

HopScore Ranks Listings According to Desirability

RentHop does that primarily through technology. On the web and as a convenient iOS and Android app, RentHop provides a human-centered apartment search with an algorithm that builds on insights gained over 15 years to help renters understand what they’re getting into.

The goal is to promote quality listings according to the criteria individual renters stipulate. The primary vehicle for accomplishing that is the HopScore, RentHop’s quantification system for evaluating desirable properties.

It’s a sophisticated algorithm that ranks apartment listings according to several criteria. Assigned to every listing on the platform, the HopScore can range from zero to 100, with the latter number denoting the best of the best.

Allyson Waddell
Allyson Waddell is RentHop’s Agent Success Manager.

Accuracy is a significant component of the HopScore. RentHop performs due diligence to ensure the property’s price matches multiple data sources, photos are unique to the property, and building amenities are correctly noted.

The reputation of the advertiser — meaning the property owner, manager, or agent — is also highly relevant. RentHop goes to great lengths to assess the responsiveness of each landlord and to account for customer experience through reviews.

A third component is how recently the listing was posted by an advertiser. A more recent listing is typically more appealing to renters.

Searching is different in RentHop’s New York home market than it is elsewhere because of the prevalence of open and exclusive listings in the city’s rental market. As one of the few rental platforms offering open listings in New York City (which any agent may offer), RentHop does not display exact addresses for open listings in New York to preserve the advertiser’s prospects for signing the lease.

“Anytime a renter runs a search, they’ll see listings ordered by HopScore,”  Waddell said. “This helps them connect quickly with high-quality listings within their search criteria.”

Verification Protocols Ensure High-Quality Listings

Prospective renters may sort listings by HopScore, price, proximity to their current location, or near desired amenities.

RentHop allows users to favorite specific properties and contact owners, managers, and agents directly from the app. The HopScore’s reliance on verifiable data makes decision-making much more precise, which avoids wasted time on both sides of the transaction.

RentHop app listings
Renters can search for apartments near them or according to a desired location.

It’s even possible for users to scroll to the bottom of each listing to view a HopScore breakdown that explains the reasoning and helps users learn.

For example, if RentHop finds price discrepancies, the HopScore breakdown indicates what the appropriate price should be, given the copious amounts of data RentHop has. There’s also data on average rents for particular neighborhoods to help users understand what they should shoot for.

“Our tools help renters stay informed about the market,” Waddell said. “A lot can change in the rental market, and you can always come back to RentHop to get a sense of what’s happened since you last rented and to learn about more advantageous areas to move to and what current markets look like.”

Advertiser reputation plays a meaningful role there. RentHop flags false listings designed to lure prospects and manually verifies every advertiser who applies to appear on the platform. That way, users can rest assured they’re working with vetted professionals.

“Renters also have the option to report listings,” Waddell said. “This indicates to our team that something may be off with a listing. We investigate and take further action if needed.”

Responsive Support in a Dynamic Marketplace

Perhaps the only constant in big-city rental markets is change. Waddell said RentHop is seeing a resurgence in activity as renters have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusted to new living and working patterns.

High mortgage rates have led to a  tighter housing inventory and increased demand. That means more responsibility than ever at RentHop to highlight desirable properties in areas where people want to live and work.

RentHop app agent features
Agents can quickly credit and edit listings in the app.

Elite agents on the platform have a history of quality listings and prompt service. A Renter’s Guide explains some of the details and challenges of renting an apartment in New York City.

RentHop maintains a spirited blog to keep users and readers up to speed regarding apartment hunting, home living, city neighborhoods, and rental management. The blog also offers research on where it’s hot and where it’s not in the nationwide rental marketplace.

Waddell said the team at RentHop meticulously evaluates user and advertiser feedback to refine the platform and ensure the product continues to exceed expectations.

On the renter side, people often ask questions about the market in a particular locale and inform the team about advertisers and listings they may have concerns with. Landlords, management companies, and agents who pay to advertise on the platform keep the team busy with feature requests.

When agents decide to leave the platform, they can submit direct feedback for the team to review. RentHop follows up on that feedback when it needs additional clarification.

The team collects feedback from emails, social media, and direct channels to inform product development. That’s a significant task during winter, the slow season for rentals.

“We see what we can do to implement new features that benefit renters and advertisers on the platform,” Waddell said. “Looking toward the future, it’s full steam ahead.”