Are you thinking about buying a foreclosure as an investment property and wondering how much the place might rent for in the open market?
Are you an owner whose house has been on the market so long that you would consider turning it into a rental if you knew how much it would bring in every month? Or are you a renter who doesn't want to pay more than you have to for a house in a nice neighborhood with good schools?
You can gather all this information and more at RentRange.com, a provider of single-family rental market intelligence that's little known outside the B2B world.
The site claims to be the nation's largest, most comprehensive rental data warehouse. It holds information on 20 million one- to four-family residences available for rent, including 13 million single-family houses, says CEO Wally Charnoff.
It delivers an assortment of geographical data, analytics and valuation services to financial institutions, asset managers and institutional investors, among other customers. But individuals also are welcome, and the first couple of reports are free.
After that, a basic report costs $6, and an advanced report costs $12. That could be money well spent if you are in the single-family rental market, either as an investor or a renter.
Say you are one of the millions of former owners who have been displaced by the housing market upheaval -- that's a nice way of saying that one way or another, you lost your house -- but don't want to slide all the way back to apartment renter status. You'd like to rent a house or town house but have no idea what a fair price would be in the area where you'd like to live.
At RentRange, you can plug in the address of the place you like best, plus basic information such as the number of bedrooms and baths, and a world of information pops up that can help you make the right decision.
A basic report will give you the high, low and median rents for the ZIP code, as well as the high, low and median rents nearby -- within a half-mile radius if the property is in the city, within one mile if it is in the suburbs and within 2.5 miles if it is in the country.
The core report also will show the average rental rate for similar properties in the area as compared with similar apartments, the average cost on a square-foot basis and the average cost of Section 8 subsidized properties. (Section 8 is a federal housing voucher program for low-income households.) And it will show the three closest rental comparables, plus the historical rental rates for the last 12 months.
Armed with this information, you can dicker with your prospective landlord by telling him his asking price is too high compared to similar rentals -- or tell him to take a hike. You can gobble up the place if the rent is set lower than it should be. Or you can simply look elsewhere.
An advanced report digs even deeper into the RentRange database. It locates the 10 closest matching properties instead of just three, plus it shows the vacancy rate in the area for similar properties and the percentage of houses in the area that are rentals vs. owner-occupied.
It also presents a rental rate change summary for the previous one, three and 12 months, and it gives a good, bad or indifferent rating for the area rental market.
The advanced report springs from a larger database of about 27 million addresses, going back 44 months. It is designed to help investors decide whether a market or subject property would be a good investment, Charnoff says. But the core report, which looks at the data on 65 percent to 70 percent of the single-family houses for rent nationwide, is "more than enough" for renters who are trying to figure out what they are going to pay, according to the CEO of the Westminster, Colo., company.
You can search the rental house market by location, such as city or town; the number of bedrooms and/or baths; or by property type, say, a stand-alone house or a unit in a four-family property. And of course you can search by price.
You also can filter places by whether they accept pets -- and if so, what kinds -- and whether they have a pool or even a hot tub.
"There are some pretty intuitive search features once you get into it," Charnoff says.