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Residential Real Estate’s ‘Moneyball Moment’ Benefits Renters, Landlords And Investors


Nobody wants to make important decisions based on guesswork, but that’s often been the case in the residential rental market. Reliable data on everything from rental rates to market demographics historically has been hard to come by for renters, landlords and every player in the multifamily market.

Today, however, these players are in a smarter, faster game as improved access to data is allowing the residential sector to benefit from its own Moneyball moment.”

Someone who sees this change firsthand is Kevin Shtofman, head of innovation for Cherre, which provides property and market data to real estate professionals, allowing them to make better-informed decisions.

“This is the Moneyball moment for the industry because there's now enough high-quality data to be able to manage properties with facts, as opposed to hypotheses, inferences or guesses,” Shtofman said. “That's really exciting.”

If Shtofman is the baseball pitcher surveying the field from his mound, then one of his MVPs on the field is Dwellsy, a residential rental website dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date listing information for renters and a reliable place for landlords to reach them.

“Dwellsy is the best provider of residential-focused rental comps information, which is why they are a partner of ours,” Shtofman said.

Dwellsy co-founder and CEO Jonas Bordo, a veteran of the CRE big league, knows what it is like to work with missing or inaccurate data. From 2016 to 2018, he headed a large portfolio on the West Coast as a group vice president for Essex Property Trust, responsible for renting 30,000 apartments annually.

“Probably the thing that was most frustrating for me was just watching a marketplace that really did not work at all,” Bordo said.

Bordo recalled that Craigslist had served as the country’s rental marketplace before rampant fraud dimmed its appeal. That left both renters and landlords without a reliable online rental platform. 

“Everybody was getting screwed by this dynamic: Landlords didn't have a good channel in which to make their properties known to renters, and renters didn’t have a good channel to find what they were looking for,” he said. “The net result was a lack of transparency and lower rental velocity, which cost everybody money because there was no functional marketplace.”

Like baseball’s Moneyball moment revolutionized the sport’s use of data, Dwellsy’s goal since it was founded in 2019 has been to make data more visible to support improved decision-making in the marketplace. Bordo said the platform is the most comprehensive online listing service, with more than 30% of the U.S. residential rental inventory on its roster. 

Dwellsy offers up-to-the-minute data — updated hundreds of times daily and not “scraped” from other sources — free of charge to renters. Fraud protection is a major priority for Dwellsy, which offers a $2K fraud guarantee for renters who join its Dwellsy Edge program.

“The renter is our client and that's very unusual on a platform like this, where normally the landlord is the client,” Bordo said. “We partner with the landlord to serve our common client, the renter. That frees us to provide an extraordinary experience for the renter and build the site around their needs.” 

At the same time, Dwellsy benefits the 20,000 property managers on its platform with high-quality tenant leads, he said.

“All the renters on our site are serious about renting and they have confirmed their identities,” Bordo said. “We don't want accidental inquiries and we don't want to waste anybody's time. From a landlord's perspective, we have upped the ante on their whole experience.” 

One trend evident on Dwellsy is the growing popularity of single-family rentals, which account for half of the more than 14 million listings on the platform. This not only allows both small and corporate landlords to reach renters, but benefits third parties such as banks, investors and insurance companies that need reliable data on important trends.

“The ability to understand and leverage that information is incredibly important, especially with interest rates where they are, and a lot of these folks are positioning themselves to make acquisitions and sell assets once they see the numbers trending the right way,” he said. “But they're all looking for accurate data to support their decisions.”

Bordo feels so strongly about the need for transparency in the rental market that he co-wrote a soon-to-be-published book on the topic, Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn't Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster.

In his many conversations with renters, Bordo said it is clear that many are rookies who don’t understand how the rental market works, leaving them vulnerable to fraud. Meanwhile, honest landlords struggle to manage their properties while operating within tight margins, he said. And impacting everyone are the high interest rates of today’s economy, which make transparent and accurate data even more important.

“Just as what happened in baseball, where every team began using similar methods because they're proven to have results, the importance of good data in real estate will speak for itself in the next couple of years,” Bordo said.

This article was produced in collaboration between Dwellsy and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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