HouseStay Is Changing the Temporary Housing Industry as We Know It
For Manu Bhagatjee, founder and CEO of HouseStay, an extensive travel schedule that found him living in hotels for months at a time had him longing for a home away from home every time he hit the road.
“The novelty of staying in a hotel was wearing off,” says Bhagatjee, then an investment banker. And so, the idea for HouseStay—an online marketplace for furnished homes and apartment rentals—was born.
“Once the idea was conceived and I began to understand and categorize the various market dynamics and stakeholders involved in the process, I recognized just how fragmented the industry is on the supply and demand side,” says Bhagatjee.
Aggregating the market feedback he received led to a simple solution that involved pooling the overall supply, driving demand to it, and tying it all together with a seamless transaction.
Serving stakeholders on both the B2B and B2C side, HouseStay offers a curated selection of fully furnished turnkey apartments and homes available for rent for 30 nights or more. HouseStay has created an online booking engine from inquiry (beginning) to a signed lease (end) to bring the process of booking temporary housing for individuals and businesses* online.
“HouseStay is changing the dynamics of renting furnished homes for a few months at a time by altering the way we currently do business in the temporary housing space. By bringing the experience online, the platform is essentially automating the administrative part of the transaction with the help of technology for tasks such as tenant screening, identity verification, payment processing and lease signing,” says Dan Carrillo, principal and president of Global Mobility at HouseStay.
Joining the team in 2017, Carrillo notes that his extensive experience in the relocation industry has taught him the importance of getting transferees and new hires into a safe and accommodating space so that they can be productive in their new position as soon as possible and with the least amount of inconvenience.
“In all the hustle and bustle, this is often lost,” says Carrillo, but HouseStay is changing that one rental at a time.
And it’s not just transferees, new hires and consultants that are benefitting.
In fact, buyers and sellers alike are turning to HouseStay to help with their temporary housing needs.
“Today, there are a lot of people living temporarily, and HouseStay provides a stepping stone that makes our lives and the client’s lives easier,” says Debbi DiMaggio, a REALTOR® with Highland Partners in Piedmont, Calif.
“For someone selling a house, HouseStay allows them to move out of the space and live in a temporary place without being tied into a year-long rental while they prepare the property for sale,” says DiMaggio.
On the flip side, those looking to buy now have the luxury of moving into a short-term rental if their home sells prior to them making a purchase.
But the benefits don’t end there.
“HouseStay provides the opportunity for prospective buyers to move their families into areas they may not have found out about otherwise,” says Carrillo.
“This is a huge gamechanger for those moving into large cities across the U.S., as it allows them to get a good taste and feel for the various neighborhoods before they buy a home,” adds Carrillo.
Expanding the potential for temporary housing even further, HouseStay provides the opportunity for real estate agents to earn recurring revenue by going to their past, present and future owners of properties.
“I recently had a client who had a lot of unfurnished units that he used as long-term rentals, but by turning some of them into short-term rentals—and listing them on HouseStay—he was able to earn more when renting for a few months at a time because of the lack of inventory of quality non-vacation rental homes,” says DiMaggio.
“We’re currently in an environment where real estate professionals are looking for other sources of income,” says Carrillo. “We’re enlarging the temporary housing supply, if you will, by seeking out supply that isn’t currently on the market.”
“We’re helping landlords who have unfurnished homes see the light by asking if they would be open to renting a home for three months at a time if they were to see a 25-35 percent premium, while having peace of mind that each and every tenant would be high-quality,” says Bhagatjee.
While there’s no shortage of rental sites designed to guide individuals through the booking process, one key factor that sets HouseStay apart is their fully automated process.
“There’s no other platform out there today where you can rent a furnished home for a few months in under an hour—and with just a few clicks,” says Bhagatjee.
The completely automated process consists of the following six steps, which make booking a rental fast and easy:
Send host a booking request. Send a booking request for a property that meets your requirements.
Make due-at-booking payment. Once a host accepts the request, users have 24 hours to make the due-at-booking payment (first month’s rent, deposit, service fee).
Complete background check. After the due-at-booking payment is made, users complete the free online background check.
Confirm resident information. Confirm all the information for the users who will be staying in the accommodations.
Sign the HouseStay lease. Once all resident information has been confirmed, users will be required to sign the HouseStay lease.
Move in and enjoy your stay. After your booking has been confirmed, you will be connected directly with your host to coordinate your move in.
“HouseStay is a necessary addition as it fills a huge void in the industry,” says DiMaggio, who goes on to explain that the decision to take advantage of everything HouseStay has to offer was a no-brainer.
As the future unfolds, there’s a lot of growth on the horizon for the online marketplace.
“Short-term, we’re looking to launch the service in every major metro across the country,” says Bhagatjee, “which we’re aiming to complete no later than Q3 2020.”
“On that road, we’re going to find new ways to enhance the platform that we haven’t even thought of yet,” says Carrillo.
From there, it’s all about educating real estate professionals and bringing the fragmented, furnished-home inventory under one umbrella.