A rental pain in Santa Clara leads to college startup

SAN JOSE — In hunting for apartments around Santa Clara University, three undergraduates found mad competition, broken promises and high rents for cramped quarters.

They had an idea — let’s make the search easier.

By bringing better technology into the apartment-hunting process, they wanted to create a new platform that would allow tenants to search, apply and sign a lease online, while also giving landlords better technology to market and manage their properties.

In March 2014, a few months after their apartment search, Greg Toschi, Chuck Hattemer and Rico Mok quit school and were running a real estate startup, Onerent.

“No one was really pulling it together,” said Toschi, 24, a San Jose native and graduate of Bellarmine College Prep. “None of it was consistent for renters.”

Onerent, based in San Jose, serves as a platform for landlords and tenants, offering property management services, including listing and showing units to prospective renters. It collects fees from landlords for placing tenants and handling rent collection, maintenance and other services.

The property management field is crowded and well-established, with local connections generally done through word-of-mouth. The Onerent founders want to create a better service for landlords and tenants, with helpful technology such as dashboards, and lower property management fees.

The three weren’t looking to disrupt the real estate market when they met as undergraduates in a co-ed business fraternity at SCU.

They bounced around a few ideas for a business, but struck on one that felt close to home — apartment shopping. They had been through the search process to find units near campus and found it “a total pain,” said Hattemer. They tried to rent together for their junior year, but were thwarted by property managers demanding quick down payments, or changing lease terms. Toschi had to sublease a room and Mok ended up living in a converted closet.

After …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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