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Realtor.com Acquires Avail, Expands Move into Rental Market

Avail is designed for do-it-yourself landlords and tenants. It includes educational content, “contactless rental opportunities” and a system for online rent payments.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com, announced that it acquired Chicago-based Avail, a platform designed for do-it-yourself landlords and tenants with online tools, educational content and support. Move Inc. is a subsidiary of News Corp.

Residential rentals are a large U.S. market. According to an analysis of American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, people spend more than $500 billion per year on rent, and do-it-yourself (DIY) landlords (those with 1-20 units, often in addition to a full-time job) own and manage about three quarters of all rentals in the U.S.

According to realtor.com’s announcement, the move will help it expand into the rental space and “extend its support for landlords, augment current rental listing content, grow its audience and build brand affinity and long-term relationships with renters.”

Realtor.com says more than 90% of landlords use the free version of Avail online and mobile, but doesn’t say how many opt to upgrade the platform for “premium functionality and customizations.” Avail, it says, can:

  • create and market rental listings
  • screen applicants
  • access state- and city-specific lease agreements
  • process payments
  • track maintenance requests

For renters, it includes a way to complete rental applications, sign leases, pay rent, submit maintenance requests and access rental-related products and services like renters’ insurance.

“This acquisition is a key part of our strategy to make finding a home easier and more rewarding,” says David Doctorow, CEO of realtor.com. “By combining Avail’s rentals listing content and easy-to-use tools with realtor.com’s large audience, consumer experience platform and insights, we believe we can deliver more value to DIY landlords and tenants.”

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