The Apartment Search: Knowing Where and What to Look For

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    By Brian Graf

    Ratemyapartments.com now helps students reduce the frustration associated with finding good student housing in Provo.

    Aaron Hardy, 23, said he enjoys entrepreneurship and enhancing his skills in web development and programming. He decided to accomplish this while helping others find student housing with which they are comfortable.

    “I know how frustrating it can be to find housing,” Hardy said. “I wanted something more than just word of mouth.”

    Ratemyapartments.com provides information about quality, prices, parking, landlords, location (closeness to campus), social life and an overall rating of the complex. Students are allowed to post their comments, ratings and photos. There are over 3,000 schools located on the Web site, with over 50,000 apartments in the United States.

    Hardy said he feels his Web site is different because it is geared toward students and their needs.

    “Hey guys,” said Diana Johnson, a user of the Web site who posted her comments. “This site rocks! It”s very well organized! I only wish I had it a year ago when I moved into a crappy apartment complex. Thanks for the site!”

    Some complexes find it hard to support the Web site if they know they have negative comments, and have requested the removal of the negative rating before they show their support. Hardy said he doesn”t feel it is worth it to remove the comments.

    “I would rather have people trust in the Web site than get money from it,” said Hardy.

    Hardy is starting to do advertisements for the Web site. He started making money in March of this year by placing Google ads. He also said he is looking into adding an application on facebook.com to allow students to post where they have lived. All the proceeds will go back into promoting the Web site.

    Hardy said he wants students to know about the Web site because he thinks it”s useful for them.

    “It”s up to the users to provide the content, I just provide the framework,” Hardy said.

    Hardy said he encourages everyone to post his or her experiences whether good or bad. He understands people are more likely to go out of their way to post negative comments rather than positive ones, but feels that the more people that comment, the more beneficial it will be for everyone.

    Every comment and rating is emailed to Hardy so he can monitor the content of the emails and photos to make sure everything is appropriate. Hardy said he doesn”t delete things he disagrees with, but doesn”t allow inappropriate language or photos.

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