October 4th, 2016
When I was working as a renters’ agent I found myself doing a ton of background work making sure that I wasn’t sticking them in terrible apartments. I would regularly spend as much time researching landlords as I would in the field with my clients. A rental agent in Chicago has to close a ton of transactions to make ends meet, so this was time that I really couldn’t afford to be taking. I knew that a lot of the data I was using could be aggregated via API calls into a single location, so I decided to craft a research engine that would step me through all of the different data sources that I regularly used to create apartment safety reports.
I rapidly found that I found this sort of work far preferable to actually showing apartments.
About two weeks into the development process I rang up my friend Jon to see if he would be interested in joining me on the project. We did some research and decided to make a go of apartment safety research as a business. RentConfident was incorporated in the spring of 2015. I built the research engine and designed the site from scratch. (The code base all assembled contains three times more text than the Lord of the Rings. It aggregates data from about 60 sources.) Jon departed the company in the spring of 2016. I continue to operate RentConfident and write all of the content for twice weekly blog articles.