CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- The Iowa Finance Authority will soon launch a website to allow anyone looking for rental housing in the state to check prices and compare in a "one-stop" setting.
IowaHousingSearch.org will offer landlords and property owners statewide a free place to advertise available housing as well as post photos and descriptions of the rental property. The organization is in the process of recruiting property owners now with hopes of opening the website to potential tenants for searches sometime in either January or early February.
Dave Jamison, Iowa Finance Authority executive director, said Iowa has approximately 330,000 rental units available. But there's currently no one location where both renters and owners can see everything available in a particular location. Jamison came to Cedar Rapids Friday morning to talk about the new service which will allow owners to constantly update availability of individual units as conditions change. He also implored rental property owners to register their listings now.
"That's why it's so important we get property managers and owners to use it because if they're not on there then it doesn't provide the one-stop shop," Jamison said.
Jamison said the service, which will also offer a toll-free phone center for owners and renters, hopes to have about eight to ten percent of all rental properties in the state listed by the time the website goes "live" in the next month to six weeks. He's hope the website will eventually including a majority of potential rental properties available in any area. In addition to descriptions and photos of individual units, the site will also allow owners to post maps, information about attractions and other services.
Jamison said for renters one of the most important features will be the ability to search for only certain types of units. "They can put in the criteria they wantsay some in a certain area by a park or hospital or other kind of facility and then they go to this one stop and find it," he said.
The agency director said he does not expect the free website to eliminate the need for large apartment complexes to offer their own websites or advertising of units. However, he does expect it will help owners of small numbers of rental properties to get more exposure to prospective renters. The site will also allow renters to search for specific types of rental unitssuch as those able to accommodate the disabled.
To begin listing on IowaHousingSearch.org, property owners can register and enter property information now. There's also a toll-free number, 1-877-428-8844, available to register by phone.