After a few years of tackling the Boston startup market, apartment rental platform SplitSpot is making a new home in DC.
The platform, which allows potential individual renters to find new housing with a roommate or group virtually, prides itself on offering flexibility in apartment hunting. Renters can choose four-month lease cycles, plus the ability to transfer units if need be, low upfront costs and the ability to split rent and utilities through SplitSpot. The company also takes over finding tenants, onboarding and tenant management from landlords. Alongside DC, SplitSpot is also making moves into New York.
Cofounder Ernesto Gaxha told Technical.ly that he got the idea for the company following his own struggles as a renter in Boston after completing graduate work at MIT.
“I just always thought, this is the biggest challenge that I have faced that doesn’t have an easy solution or a company trying to fix it,” Gaxha said. “So I thought if I’m going to start a company, this is the company to start.”
SplitSpot, he said, offers a smoother process in apartment hunting. The individual renters can log on to the site, take virtual, 3D tours and submit an application. Applicants will be approved or denied within 48 hours, and they’re then matched with roommates. Then SplitSpot takes care of making the introductions. Gaxha described the process as being fairly similar to booking a hotel. It currently has listings in neighborhoods in the Northwest including Brookland, Eckington, Carver/Langston, plus properties in Alexandria, Virginia.
The three-year-old, 30-person company is also working on building out its website, and potentially adding features like video applications and establishing roommate connections using surveys and algorithms.
“The thing I think a lot of people would prefer is to live in a studio or one bedroom and have their own space, but it’s just not really feasible economically for most young people and living with roommates is the obvious solution,” Gaxha said. “You know, the difficulty with [finding roommates] is one of its drawbacks, but we do a good job of making the processes simple and as easy as possible.”
The stakes for finding the perfect spot are also higher than ever before, with so many people also turning their home into their office spaces. Gaxha said that finding an ideal space is significantly more personal and roommate dynamics are more important, given the amount of time people are spending at home. But, people can get stuck in long-term leases in situations that are hard to work in, he added. To solve this, he said SplitSpot offers mediation services or the ability to transfer to another property if necessary.
“People are really looking for flexibility in these times of uncertainty, because who knows where you might be or what situation you’ll be in even six months from now?” Gaxha said. “So the notion of committing to some place for so long or having all that inflexibility and getting all those upfront payments, especially in a time of economic uncertainty like this, it’s really difficult.”