Featured Startup Pitch: Properly – Working to make renting simple and secure, for both tenants and landlords
Properly is on a mission to make all aspects of renting simple and secure. We take on each rental process (i.e. applications, tenant screening, rent payments and more) and find a better and safer way to do it.
Nearly all of the rental management software in the marketplace has been developed for property management firms and large apartment complexes. For the average landlord who owns between one-and-10 units, the expense of setting up such software or hiring professional property managers can amount to thousands of dollars a year. Due to the cost, landlords often manage these tasks themselves manually, inefficiently, and un-securely (think lots and lots of paper).
As a direct impact, renters are submitting their most private information such as social security numbers on paper applications to strangers, which is extremely unsafe. Renters have to deal with the time and hassle of filling out the same information over and over on multiple applications. As tenants, the only time they take out their checkbooks, envelopes, and stamps is to pay rent and utilities.
Since the current software options are costly and not designed with the independent landlord and renter in mind, we knew we had to do something about it.
Properly empowers landlords and renters to manage their properties themselves. We are a free rental management platform with features that include:
● Online Payments – We offer ACH payments for free. Tenants can schedule recurring payments for rent and make one-time payments at any time for bills such as utilities.
● Online Applications – When a landlord adds a property on Properly, a unique application link is provided that is specific to that property. The landlord can post this application link as part of the listing on Craigslist, Streeteasy, Zillow, etc. and applicants can apply immediately using that link. Properly’s applications are reusable, secure, and easy to read.
● Screening Reports – A Properly screening report includes a full credit report, background check and eviction report. Renters run and share their own reports, which eliminates the need for landlords to collect social security numbers.
This is just the beginning. Our vision for Properly is to be the one-stop shop for landlords and renters by providing the entire suite of rental management services (maintenance, accounting, taxes, legal, and more). We want our users to be able to do everything simply, safely and securely.
In late 2014, after spending over six years working at JPMorgan, George Cen left the corporate finance world to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. In the years living in New York City, George had moved to three different apartments. He was frustrated by the manual, slow and paper-based tasks that he was forced to deal with when apartment hunting. Even when working with brokers and property management companies who charge expensive fees, the process was not any different.
Michael Lee has been a landlord of multiple rental units in Manhattan and Las Vegas. Since he lives in Manhattan, he has firsthand experience of the frustrations with trying to find tenants from a distance for his Las Vegas apartment. Waiting for applicants to mail and fax applications took months while his apartment sat vacant.
Jerry Bai has been a renter in California and New York for over a decade. He has been charged late fees for rent checks that were lost in the mail. There was an incidence where a landlord mistakenly ran his credit report several times which damaged his credit score.
George, Michael, and Jerry went on a mission to talk to landlords and renters to see if they felt the same pain as they did. They quickly discovered that landlords and renters dealt with such tasks as applications, credit reports, background checks and rent payments on paper because there were no inexpensive and easy-to-use software options available. They knew something had to be done to address this problem. Thus, Properly was born.
We are users of our own product. We built Properly because we personally understand the frustrations of navigating the rental cycle. We’ve taken our negative experiences associated with checks, mountains of paperwork and inefficient communication practices to build a tech platform that solves these pain points. We are determined to bring renting to the 21st century.
DIFFERENTIATORS VS. THE COMPETITION
Every aspect of Properly’s design and user experience was developed with the typical person (not a building or property management company) in mind. The traditional software options in the marketplace are not only expensive but are also not user-friendly. They do not make renting tasks simple for the average landlord and renter because they were designed for apartment complexes.
As with any problem worth solving, there are other startups in this space with different business models. From a pricing standpoint, we are much more cost-effective than our competitors. Properly is completely free for landlords, no matter the number of units. All core features are free for renters and the only paid premium feature is our screening report, which cost a one-time fee of $34.95. Renters pay once and have unlimited shares of their reports for 30 days. Our competitors charge each time a report is shared. They also charge monthly subscription fees and require higher fees for managing more units.
AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF OUR PRODUCTS AND WHY PEOPLE SHOULD USE IT
Did you know landlords who do not offer an online application option attract 50 percent fewer applicants than landlords who do?
The reason is because dealing with paper applications is slow. On average, it takes an extra three-to-five days for the applicant to fill out and then hand deliver, fax, or mail it to the landlord. Many applicants are interested in multiple listings at the same time and since good tenants are also in high demand, landlords who have a slow application process miss out on them. The ease of an online application removes that barrier because renters can apply right away and landlords can review an application immediately after submission. It’s also a quick way for the landlord to screen applicants even before having to show the apartment.
HEADQUARTERS: New York City