From Illinois Business Journal news services
Roomi, a free mobile-first platform that aims to transform the rental and shared housing industry, has expanded into the Chicago market.
Chicago joins the growing list of urban hubs where Roomi has already been downloaded over 300,000 times to help students and professionals find the perfect housemates and living spaces, including New York City, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and most recently, Boston.
Roomi’s iOS app, Android app and desktop experience are designed for those seeking to rent out empty rooms as well as those searching for a new home. The platform lets users create a profile and search for shared living accommodations, housemates and rooms simply and quickly. Every listing is vetted and verified by Roomi’s dedicated security specialists before going live in the platform’s secure database.
According to an NYU Furman Center/Capital One report, 52 percent of Chicago’s residents lived in rental housing, but they were often overburdened with high rents that continue to rise. Nearly 78 percent of Chicago’s low-income renters were severely rent burdened. Real estate data site Zilpy reported that during the month of March 2016 alone, rents in the Chicago metro area experienced an average increase of 2.48 percent for 1 and 2 bedroom rentals. When compared to the same month of last year, rents in Chicago had jumped an average of 8.47 percent.
“Rent in Chicago can vary significantly depending on what neighborhood you’re looking at,” said Ajay Yadav, CEO and Founder of Roomi. “Certain areas can be priced at double the city-wide median, reaching over $2,000 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. For students and young professionals, finding and leasing an apartment in Chicago can be an exhausting challenge, rivaling the difficulty renters face in New York City.”
Focusing on extensive research, Roomi developed its mobile marketplace to help solve these urban living challenges: steadily rising rents, stagnant wages and the lack of simple ways to find affordable housing. Roomi curates the best rooms and services for people seeking flexible, affordable shared living solutions.
Upon registration or placing a listing, users answer several personality and lifestyle questions such as pet preferences, smoking habits and more, as well as the more standard location and price range inquiries. Roomi is able to translate these answers into a detailed profile, allowing users to search for housing and housemates who meet their needs and preferences. Listers can also view and message those who have viewed their rooms.
“Affordability is a big issue for the housing market in Chicago,” said Yadav. “Challenging economic conditions, high debt loads and stringent lending standards have prevented countless members of Generation Y – and even many Generation X’ers – who have been waiting to buy a home, from actually doing so. That’s why many who might have become homeowners have instead decided to rent. That’s where Roomi comes in. We recognize the serious need for an easier way to find flexible housing solutions, but also for a safer and more effective way to find people with whom you’ll love to share that space.”
The app’s built-in chat feature allows users to connect safely and encourages open communication about issues important for successful housemate relationships, including shared values, common interests, compatible lifestyles and even things like TV preferences, food likes, and socializing styles.
Roomi supports users before, during and after their move, helping everyone connect to their new spaces and communities. Through Roomi Connect (www.roomiconnect.com), users can also view expert advice regarding shared living, regionally specific content about shared living in their cities, and housemate success stories from members of the Roomi community.