Friday Fun (or Frustration) Link

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I don't have the slighest independent corroboration that this thing actually gives accurate information, but behold the "rentometer," which purports to tell you if you are, or are not, paying a rent comparable to other rental properties in your area.

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  1. According to the rent-o-meter, I am undercharging my mother for the 2 bedroom condo she rents from me. This is good to know.

  2. I just ran across that site via Lifehacker. It seemed vaguely accurate from what I know of our market, but I’d like to know more about the underlying data (they may say on the site, but I don’t recall anything detailed). Rents are a moving target these days, anyway.

  3. I just ran across that site via Lifehacker. It seemed vaguely accurate from what I know of our market, but I’d like to know more about the underlying data (they may say on the site, but I don’t recall anything detailed). Rents are a moving target these days, anyway.

  4. That thing is kinda dumb….

    The first time through I put a rent of $1000 for my address and it told me that it was below average and I had a good deal…..then I tried $1100 and it told me that was “very close to the average” — so I put $950 in and it told me that it was very close to the average….so I tried $1000 again — and this time it told me it was “Very close to the average”
    Every input had the same address….so I don’t get why the same number would have different results.

  5. The problem I saw was that it just seems to take zip code wide averages. So, your 900 sf 3/1 is going to be lumped in with everything up to a 3000+ sf 3/2.5.

    But I suppose its OK for a rough comparison sort of thing.

  6. I am pretty familiar with current rent prices in my neighborhood. It’s something everyone talks about. The newcomers are always asking the longer-residents what they pay, then groaning in despair.

    http://nymag.com/realestate/articles/neighborhoods/williamsburg.htm

    (the above is from 2003 and not up to date as far as prices)

    Anyway, rent-o-meter.com was correct as far as current price ranges my ‘hood. It makes me feel good to see I am still one of the lucky-lucky ones.

    …Although I dont think anyone outside NYC would call anyone ‘lucky’ to pay top $$$ to live on the industrial waterfront of north brooklyn, where your various ‘ethnic’ neighbors (poles, puerto ricans, hasids) all hate you (not to mention each other) to death and offer reminders as often as they can.

    JG

  7. Every input had the same address….so I don’t get why the same number would have different results.

    Um, Tom? It’s compiling the input data and keeping a moving average.

    Start entering $4,000. Do it 15 or 20 times. Then enter $950.

  8. It works on a more-participants-more-accuracy model, which seemed to do well for me because 15 people within a five-block radius had entered their rents (all higher than mine).

    But that brings in the question of selection bias, which would be aggravated in controlled and stabilized environments where demand for this service would be highest. The people with the lowest rents would tend to be old farts who locked in their apartments decades ago and don’t spend much time online; therefore they wouldn’t tend to enter their data. Conversely, the people most likely to take an interest in comparative rents, and thus to enter their data, would be people who have recently moved and are thus paying the highest rents.

  9. And there’s always the intrepid renter who enters $50 for a two-bedroom apartment in his zip code 10,000 times. And shows the updated result to his landlord, “SEE?!”.

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