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If you have ever searched for an apartment in NYC, you know that the process might be the worst possible thing on earth. You’ve got the hell of Craigslist’s horrible usability, scam brokers, fake photos, and lots of other fun crap. Unlike most cities in the U.S., it’s typically impossible to begin an apartment hunt months before your needed move date. Typically apartments show up as available just a few days to a couple of weeks before they are available. Some landlords post their openings after they are vacant because the apartments typically go within a few days.
New NY-based startup JumpPost is aiming to help relieve some of the stress (and need for prescription drugs) from the apartment hunting process. Their service is a completely new way to find an apartment. The JumpPost service allows current renters to list their apartments months before they plan to move out. I’ve posted a demo from the founder of JumpPost below.
Current renters post their apartment with photos, maps, etc. and interested renters contact the current renter for a walkthrough. After the walkthrough, the interested renter works with JumpPost and their network of licensed apartment brokers to get all of the massive paperwork needed for a NYC apartment rental. JumpPost charges the prospective renter a 5% fee (most NYC apartment brokers a charge 5-15% fee) and currently they are offering current renters a $500 bonus if their JumpPost-listed property is rented through the service.
The key to JumpPost is that you can browse available listings months in advance.
Will JumpPost be successful? It will require two components – first, they will need to get enough listings so interested renters have a variety to browse and second they will need apartment brokers who are willing to work with a good deal of uncertainty because there’s no guarantee that a landlord will accept a new lease request. No matter what happens, it’s great to see some innovation in a space that is dying for a makeover.