Apartment-Rental Company Launches Revolutionary Service in D.C.

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Urban Igloo, a new company in the Washington, D.C. area, is dramatically changing the way renters find housing and how homeowners and landlords fill vacancies at a time when vacancy rates are high for apartments and investment condos.

It was so great to work with Urban Igloo since they actively helped me fill my condo in Ballston quickly

A new company in the Washington, D.C. area is dramatically changing the way renters find housing and how homeowners and landlords fill vacancies at a time when vacancy rates are high for apartments and investment condos.

Urban Igloo, headed by veteran local entrepreneur, real estate broker and developer Rick Gersten, recently opened for business and is already gaining momentum, renting apartments and condos at a steady pace and signing up homeowners and landlords to its service.

The privately funded company is the first of its kind in the Washington market, following established operations that have found success in other U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Denver and New York.

Homeowners and landlords post their apartments and condos on Urban Igloo's web site for free. Posting is non exclusive, which means owners can still try to find a renter on their own while Urban Igloo is working to do so concurrently. Owners pay Urban Igloo only when leases are signed with a renter brought by Urban Igloo. The service is free to renters when homeowners and landlords post their apartments and condos on Urban Igloo's web site.

Typically, renters have to invest significant time culling through a myriad of web sites and then setting up appointments on their own. Urban Igloo simplifies that process. The company's experienced agents identify properties that meet renters' requirements, drive them on personal tours of the properties and then process the paperwork to quickly get them into apartments and condos.

On average, renters who use Urban Igloo's service find a property that meets their needs in four to five hours. On their own, it can take days or weeks for them to find and view options, then secure a rental unit through a homeowner or landlord. Urban Igloo's agents are professional and flexible, showing renters the properties they want to see when it's convenient for them.

Urban Igloo also conducts background and credit checks, and facilitates the lease-signing process. Because the company is solely focused on rentals, referrals are coming in from realtors who concentrate on sales.

"Our business model is completely performance-based," Gersten says. "We're minimizing the expense, effort and time required for homeowners and landlords to fill properties and for renters to find them."

According to an August 15 report in the Washington Post, "It's an unusually good time to be in search of a … rental in the Washington area. The supply of houses and townhomes available for rent is increasing as homeowners, not wishing to sell their homes in a down economy, are offering them for lease."

"It was so great to work with Urban Igloo since they actively helped me fill my condo in Ballston quickly," says Courtney Meak, an account manager with Clear Channel. "They really know the market and how to make things happen fast. In fact, I had a signed lease within two weeks of contacting them! They also made the process really easy since they showed my condo and took care of the background and credit checks. All I had to do was sign the lease!"

Renters, homeowners and landlords are excited about Urban Igloo's service, evidenced by strong demand at the onset. Law firms, associations, government agencies and businesses that need to promptly place newly relocated employees, as well as students, make up a significant portion of Urban Igloo's renters. Given the transient nature of Washington, Urban Igloo officials believe that D.C. is the ideal market for their service.

Urban Igloo's web site receives hundreds of visitors each day, resulting in signed leases between satisfied renters, homeowners and landlords. "With the extensive number of rental options in the Washington metro area, searching for a new apartment is a time-consuming and often frustrating process for renters, and empty units are expensive for homeowners and landlords," Gersten says. "Our web-based database, combined with exceptional local service, helps all parties reach their goals quickly."

About Urban Igloo LLC:
Urban Igloo is the Washington, D.C. region's premier rental-home locator service for apartments, condominiums, single-family homes, and townhomes. Founded and managed by Rick Gersten, a local entrepreneur, real estate broker and developer, Urban Igloo takes the guesswork out of renting in the Washington, D.C. area. The privately funded company is based in the District at 900 19th St. NW, Suite 400.

For more information on Urban Igloo, please visit http://www.urbanigloo.com or call 1-877-IGLOO-DC (445-6632).

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Neil Adler
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