Sue Speakman-Gomez is the President at HousingLink and has been with the company for over 10 years. Her role at HousingLink is to help people find affordable rental housing, help landlords find renters and understand programs like the Section 8 Voucher program, and help policymakers and community members understand the landscape of affordable housing in their area. InvestProp asked Sue 5 multifamily relevant questions. More information can be found on her website or you can contact Sue directly at (612) 522-2500 x 223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Tell us about the services HousingLink offers to multifamily owners and investors?
For owners and investors HousingLink is primarily a website (www.housinglink.org) to advertise open listing through and a data source or information about the current state of the Twin Cities market. HousingLink was founded fifteen years ago to help connect renters to affordable rental options throughout the entire metro area. We have grown from faxing a list of vacancies out to folks to having an interactive website where over 455,000 searches for housing were conducted in 2011. HousingLink also partners with local nonprofits and MHA to provide education and resources to owners through our website.
2) HousingLink now has a quarterly apartment market data report. Please explain the value of this new report to multifamily owners and investors and how it compares to others already in the market.
Historically in our market the only report available about the multi-family industry was focused on apartments with 10+ units in the property. Our Twin Cities Rental Review is a quarterly report comparing the apartment market to the shadow market (house, duplex, condo, townhome). The report has brought into the light the fact that the shadow market represents on average 60% of the rental opportunities available at any given time in our community. These shadow units have a big impact on the rents and renters demands in searching for housing.
The report also includes a Demand Index which shows what preferences renters searched for i.e. bedroom size, building type, etc. This information can be very helpful when planning where to invest, what type of property, not to mention analyzing rent and amenities being offered in the market.
3) Why should a market rate multifamily owner who has never used HousingLink decide to market their property for lease on HousingLink?
Our website is average 40,000 searches per month this year. Increased exposure for your listing will happen as a result of being listed on our website. Our service is focused on targeting low-to moderate-income renters, so units with more affordable rent prices will undoubtedly receive a lot of traffic.
4) What advantages does HousingLink offer to tenants and owners over Craigslist?
HousingLink is a trusted source of data in the community. Many local government agencies and nonprofits refer their clients to search for housing on our website. HousingLink’s website allows users to search from a map so they are exposed to areas they may to have thought about living in. Searching via the map allows renters to put in a location such as their work, daycare, or family members and find housing near those important locations.
5) What is in store for the future of HousingLink?
HousingLink is always looking at how we can improve our website and resources that we bring the community. This summer we will launch Housing Hub, a destination for rental housing training. Renters, landlords, service agencies, and government organizations will find videos, documents, and resources to answer questions and solve housing problems. Some resources will have a fee and some will be free. In addition to improving the resources available through the website we are also planning to expand our service area statewide.
Lunch & Learn
Please join InvestProp for its monthly “Lunch & Learn” event on June 26, 2012. InvestProp will begin with a brief market update, followed by Sue Speakman-Gomez, President at HousingLink. Sue will show how HousingLink adds value to multifamily tenants and how their online systems help owners market and source tenants for their properties. An open Q & A and networking opportunity will conclude.