Thoughts on Rentometer?

29 Replies

Hi @Tim Donovan ,

IMHO, Rentometer isn't the best source for estimating rent rates. It seems to me that it tends to give me an average rent of the entire city instead of a particular neighborhood. I personally use Craigslist to get a general idea of the rental rates in property's vicinity. I can also look at the posting date to determine how long it has been vacant and use that information to determine if the rent is too low or too high. That way my rent is about in the right spot.

I haven't bought my first rental property yet though, so you may take my suggested opinion with grain of salt.

Do you have to upgrade and pay to use Rentometer? Just curious. I think after the first few inputs you might, for those of you who are thinking of using it as I am. I remember listening to a podcast where David Greene suggested using it and i practiced using it on a mock property buy/hold evaluation and it seamed pretty neat. I liked it. Perhaps if you were new and trying to get a rough idea it could work. I heard on a podcast this morning that if your property sits too long you may be charging too much rent for your area so that's something to keep in mind. You could use this data to make help shape future rent to some degree. Also if you tracked that data, rent listing vs time it took to get it rented and what price it was listed this may be beneficial to your business. There are interesting things that happen when one house that looks like another is able to command a higher rent than another similar one even within your own properties. So tracking it is a good idea in my opinion. ( take my advise with a grain of salt as I haven't invested/managed properties yet.)

The main negative about rentometer is that it does not take into account square footage.  So you see an estimate that average rent is $2000, but then you notice all the homes listed are 2500 SF, when mine is 1300 SF.   Doesn't really work.  The pro version does show you the ones that are 1300, but you can't just rely on the average You need to look at the details. 

@Tim Donovan I use Rentometer, Craigslist and Hotpads, then aggregate the data, finding what's renting in the area.

Nice part is you get to see exactly what other units look like and what those landlords feel is a good price for it. You can follow suit.

If you've got a Realtor, you could ask them to pull rental comps as well.

@Tim Donovan

I have no actual experience using it to set rates, but in total it seems like a valuable tool that might save you from needing to get comps from a realtor. The Pro reports seem particularly useful because they give a better analysis of the compared properties and their characteristics and their actual distance from your property. Planning on using this in combination with other tools in the future myself.

I like Rentometer. Just make sure the distance of the comps from the subject property isn't too far away.  🤙🏽

@Tim Donovan it’s a good starting point, usually seems to be in the ballpark or if anything on the conservative low end. I would never rely solely on it though, as there are many more factors it doesn’t take into consideration.

I like using it as a data point among others, adding it to a spreadsheet that also pulls from Zillow, craigslist, and local development websites that post rates and unit info.  These latter sources allow for entering rent per SF, total SF, number of bedrooms and bath, and condition.  This allows for estimation considering all these factors, and then I also like using a subset of them all for a 'direct comparison' meaning only those units that are very similar in size, rooms, condition, etc.

Rentometer can be useful but it can also be generic. 

  

 

Hi Tim,

To echo others here, I find rentometer (no matter how you pronounce it!) and that is probably because our properties are in dense enough areas where there is enough data inputs to make the rent range valuable.

I also appreciate the newer feature of #baths in addition to # bedrooms..this more fine tuned comparison should help support rent rate.

@Matt McConkey

I agree. I use rentometer pro as my starting point but I always actually look at the comps I'm getting to see if they are really comps. I also look at Craigslist, hot pads, Zillow, and the MLS. Its not about seeing the number that rentometer spits out, its about finding actual rental comps and comparing them to your subject rental!

@Tim Donovan

Rentometer is just one of the tools available to you. I like to use a combination of rentometer, Zillow, Trulia, Hot Pads, apartments.com and the MLS if available. Then you compare areas to bedrooms, baths, square feet, etc just like a flip. It will still require to analyze the numbers. The more data the more accurate your numbers. Don't pay attention to rental Zestimate on Zillow. It's usually wrong too high or too low. Let the market dictate the rental rate.

@Tim Donovan

I use Zillow Rent Zestiment as well as Zillow's For rent section in addition to rentometer.

Lately I have started using a new tool called dealcheck (dealcheck.io) which also gives rental comps. They also aggregate data from Zillow and rental comps and try to predict rent. They also allow you to choose a specific comp for a property.

Rentometer is pretty spot on when it comes to finding properties around your rental to compare to yours, however, I don't feel the actual number it spits out is not accurate. You still have to do your due diligence to find out what the actual rent comp should be.

Hey @TimDonovan

Rentometer is usually over zealous in our experience. (I think its usually about $100-$200 over.) We price under rentometer and have had zero wait time filling vacancies.

*Edit* under rentometer and my husband, a licensed realtor, pulls comps on rentals for the area*

Like many others here, I like Rentometer as one of several sites I use to determine fair market value. We use the Pro version, and what I like about it is you can get a good list of 3 BR 2 BA, for example, within a certain distance (which you can define, and would depend on how densely populated the area is). Then you can take this list, look at things like sq. ft., price per sq. ft., and click on the link for the property to see what condition it's in. The condition is important. When you find good comps, you can look at their price per square foot to apply to the actual square footage of your home. You will still want to use other sites such as Hotpads, Zillow, etc as they pull different info. Working in a property management business, I can also pull comps from the properties we already manage, which is helpful. A good PM company can do the same for you. Lastly, if you select a rental rate and it's not renting, it may be too high for your neighborhood, and you may need to adjust it. Rental rates can vary according to the season as well.

@Lee Ripma Solid move. I've never paid for Rentometer, but it's not very expensive.

As for your method, it's quite thorough and you need to be. If you see one place rents for X, you might assume wrong when that unit is 700 square feet bigger. Now you've dug a hole.

Oh yeah, duh. I call my property manager and ask them as well!

I don't use Rentometer. Seems fairly worthless to me. I use Facebook Marketplace, Zillow, and even Craigslist to get an idea of what the market rate rents are at the moment.