Smart apartments are still evolving, but a New York City-based startup is boosting the city’s dynamic culture by renting smart apartments to young professionals at crazy low rates.
The startup is called Roomrs, and it’s partnering with smart home giants like IOTAS to provide fully equipped, fully furnished apartments to young professionals at monthly rents that are as low as $1,100 per bedroom per month. That’s an incredible bargain in a city that currently has an average monthly rent higher than $3,500. Roomrs apartments range in price from $1,100 to $1,900 per bedroom, with apartments located in a variety of neighborhoods stretching from Harlem to Bushwick.
So how does this whole thing work? We reached out to Roomrs CEO Or Goldschmidt to find out.
“Roomrs is a community-based smart housing solution,” Goldschmidt told Digital Trends. “It’s essentially a housing solution for young professionals and students that are starting to make a living in a big city like this one. They’re renting an apartment that is fully furnished from A to Z, including the kitchenware, bedding, and furnishing. They get all the amenities they need for one rent payment.”
The key to Roomrs’ success is pricing the rent per bedroom instead of per apartment, as well as offering co-living as a unique way for housemates to share costs, space, and amenities like smart technology. On top of offering super-low rents to students and young professionals, the company is essentially providing a smart match-making service that cuts out the hassle of looking for a roommate. Roomrs also keeps each smart apartment connected with utilities, including the internet, as well as a cleaning service, all included in the monthly rent.
The company is already approaching 300 rooms for rent in Manhattan and Brooklyn, spread over 100-plus building units. Since opening in the spring of 2017 with a single smart apartment, Roomrs has expanded its operations exponentially and recently debuted its flagship Williamsburg co-living environment during a splashy press event. Another key to its success has been the proliferation of smart home technology including smart locks, thermostats, and beds.
“When we survey our inventory of people living in Roomrs right now, most of them mention smart upgrades and smart technology as something they really like that we offer in terms of additional services,” Goldschmidt said. “We just signed deals with IOTAS, who will provide smart plugs, lighting, locks and thermostats, and Eight, which will provide our tenants with smart mattresses. Our tenants will be able to get reports on how long they sleep, how long it takes them to get to sleep, what time they slept at night, and how they can improve their sleeping patterns. The goal is to make their whole living in the actual apartment better from every point of view, so we can provide more services like ‘smart stuff’ that our demographic really finds appealing.”
Unlike the majority of available apartments in New York City, Roomrs is only requiring that tenants stay for at least three months. Goldschmidt identifies the secondary Roomrs demographic as students who are in the city for a semester abroad or an internship.
“We really can’t predict the lifetime value of those tenants yet,” Goldschmidt said.
Their prime targets are young professionals who are either new to the city or simply regular tenants who want to explore a different way of living.
Co-living isn’t a new concept, but Roomrs is making an authentic and ambitious effort to connect its renters into a real community in a city that can be an intimidating place. Goldschmidt says that the Roomrs community is both virtual and in-person, enabling residents to participate in activities while retaining the privacy of their own space. In an interesting twist, Roomrs also offers a scholarship program that sponsors a semester of housing for exemplary students who have contributed to their communities in notable ways.
The company does pre-screen potential residents, and community managers get to know residents more personally during their search process. The Roomrs staff also gives residents a personality assessment that enables the company to match potential residents with the best apartment and housemates for them. Community managers also host weekly events ranging from workout classes to happy hours to enable residents to hang out together.
“Roomrs not only simplifies the rental process before you’re moving in, but it’s also really helping you to have a different lifestyle once you move in,” Goldschmidt said. “A lot of these young people are depending on their parents to get by financially, so we’re really trying to help them make moving into a city much easier and more cost-effective. It’s very costly to move to a new unit, to pay a broker fee and buy furniture. Once you move to a Roomrs apartment, you don’t have all those costs compounding the price of rent.”
Roomrs has unspecified plans to expand to another city next year and is already expanding its operations in New York, including potential new locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
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