Property Rental Platform Development: Step-by-Step Guide

Property Rental Platform Development: Step-by-Step Guide

05 August 2022 • 27 min read

As rental market trends change and demands grow, rental app development has become more popular, with millions of renters, landlords, and property managers as regular users.

In the United States, approximately 34% of households live in rental properties. Particularly in smaller cities, properties have been leased within days and in 2022, rents have increased by a total of 6.7%. As a result, rental platforms have become increasingly successful in recent years with impressive profits.

However, making a rental search application that can compete in an ever-growing and competitive market can be challenging. It can also be confusing on how to build a rental marketplace.

Therefore, in this article, we will look at how a rental marketplace can save money for landlords and property managers.

The latest rental platform market trends, rental marketplace business models, key features of a rental marketplace, a step-by-step guide to building a real estate rental platform, and some successful rental marketplace examples based on Softermii’s experience in creating successful real estate applications such as Rently, French Real Estate Association and our own pre-developed engine Apartmii.

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How A Rental Marketplace Can Optimise Expenses

Vacancies are one of the most significant sources of income loss for landlords. According to the National Apartment Association, landlords have a 49% turnover rate. This forces them to fill their vacant properties as quickly as possible with qualified tenants in order to reduce their losses but finding reliable and trustworthy tenants is difficult.

Landlords and property managers must review credit ratings, criminal records, eviction histories, and references to find the ideal tenants. If a bad tenant is selected incorrectly, long-term costs can incur due to possible property damage, late rent payments, evictions, and, eventually, vacancies.

These problems, however, can be mitigated by using a rental platform.

Landlords can save time and money by using online rental platforms to fill their vacant properties. Rather than investing large amounts of money in advertisements, rental marketplaces can maximise visibility to tens of thousands of people who are specifically looking for new homes on the rental platform. Landlords may also stop paying a real estate agent as they would be able to list their property on their own.

Many popular rental marketplaces also provide tenant screening services that help to expedite the leasing process. Interested parties can apply electronically, and landlords can conduct background and credit checks using the same platform. Leases can also be signed digitally, making such a rental platform solution simply indispensable these days.

Rent collection and late fee calculations are other useful features of rental marketplaces. According to the March 2021 Real Estate Index Report, rent arrears have been rising while on-time payments have been declining. By having an online payments portal where tenants can pay their rents directly and immediately, revenue losses can be mitigated.

Making property rental apps

Finally, an automated system for accounting, such as billing and invoicing, can help to reduce human error and feedback. Costs can be reduced by 70% as leasing platforms can handle a majority of the work.

Market Trends For Rental Platforms

Rental platforms are becoming increasingly popular as millennials become the newest generation of home renters. Modern software has been rapidly evolving to meet demands as they seek easier and more convenient solutions. One of the most visible resulting trends in real estate apps that have emerged is virtual tours.

According to Zillow’s study, homes with virtual tours were saved 32% more than those without. They were also viewed 29% higher. Another study also found that more than 80% of millennials look for 3D tours while searching for a new home, and conventional virtual tours grew by 147% while enhanced virtual tours increased by 1147%.

According to these reports, the market for virtual tours is at an all-time high, and properties that have them are more likely to be rented out than those that do not.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also becoming increasingly popular, enabling properties to be available for tours and inspections 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Landlords can use AR to show unfinished properties, and interested tenants can decorate the space however they want. As these features are integrated into more rental app solutions, more consumers will be able to access this information from anywhere, allowing for mobile accessibility and convenience.

In addition, digital assistants, such as voice bots and chatbots, are being commonly used to provide users with instant responses and answers to questions and inquiries. Not only do users get an instant response, but these interactive resources often save landlords and property managers time, allowing them to concentrate on other important tasks. Smart buildings and technology also often relieve security issues and for landlords to be physically present at a property to bring interested tenants inside for scheduled tours.

Digital tools, such as rental marketplaces, are becoming more popular than ever before as the new generation uses and desires more accessible solutions. To meet this rising demand, businesses all over the world are scrambling to create a rental marketplace to capitalise on the market.

Business Models For Rental Marketplaces


Landlords and property managers can pay a one-time or recurring fee to list their property. If your real estate platform offers free listings, you can instead charge a fee for extra listing benefits, such as the ability to upload more images, build virtual tours, or integrate with social media.


For an additional cost, landlords and property managers may promote their listing so that it appears as the first result of a search. Rental agents and brokers may also advertise their services to generate leads.


Advertisement space can be paid for by third parties, but this is a monetization model that should be used with caution. Ads should be held to a minimum, and should only be used once your rental platform has a loyal audience.

Premium Services

Users can pay a fee to gain access to special features. These features can include the ability to turn off ads, receive custom reports, and create 3D homes.

Key Features Of A Real Estate Rental Platform

Below you will find a list of rental platform features that modern businesses add to their software functionality.


It is important for rental platforms to implement integrated databases that can hold thousands of listings. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the most widely used source for listing data, and by using third-party apps, this data can be optimized and configured. There should also be the option to accept user contributions in the real estate application, which can be done by filling out a form with details about the property, such as the address, photos, descriptions, and price.

Advanced Search Capabilities

The more detailed the search results, the better the user experience. Amenities, availability, car parking spots, location, number of rooms, price range, property type, square footage, and year of construction should be included in all search functions. It is strongly advised to conduct A/B research in order to assess the order of filters shown to users based on search patterns.

Furthermore, users should be able to save their searches and properties of interest, as this would increase retention.

Property rental search app development

Interactive Maps

Each listing should include a map view that provides specific details about the property’s surroundings, such as local transportation, schools, shops, vacation spots, and other points of interest. This can be made possible by using map APIs, and by including a GPS, users can instantly calculate travel times between the specified property and important destinations.

Your rental platform should also include demographics, such as crime rates and housing data, by using open databases.

How to create a website for rental property


Users should not be required to register, as this can push them away. Instead, it should be requested only when a consumer wishes to obtain additional information. The registration page should at the very least request a name, email address, and password.

It is highly recommended to have a social network login, such as allowing users to sign up and log in using their Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. This would not only be convenient, but it would also foster trust with the user.

Property Page

Property page is as important as the host and guest pages in rental app development. It should include the type of accommodation, detailed description and photos, info about the host with reviews preferably with comments, calendar, map and nearby facilities. Users usually make decisions based on the comfort of the property, the area it is located in, means and services situated within reach, so the property page should be as explicit as possible.

Developing real estate rental apps

Real-Time Messaging

A robust real-time messaging system would improve rental platform engagement and use. Tenants, landlords, and agencies should be able to text and send attachments to each other. It is strongly advised that users should be able to also communicate with one another through voice and video calls.


Similar listings should be recommended based on the user’s search history. Not only would this benefit consumers, but it will also benefit the rental platform. After all, when users have a positive experience, they are more likely to return.

This information should be accessible through the main menu or a similar listing tab.


It is important to strike a careful balance between text and images. Long paragraphs and excessive text should be avoided, and attractive images should be used to keep a user’s focus. House values and calculators are examples of information that could be achieved visually.

Furthermore, it is important that the method of adding manual entries be as easy as possible. If landlords or property managers believe that making a listing is too complex or time-consuming, they are unlikely to proceed.

User Profiles

Renters can benefit greatly from a personal profile. They should be able to create a portfolio based on their needs and specifications in order to attract landlords and property managers. Renters can also use their profiles to locate roommates.

Push Notifications

Push notifications can be used to remind users of important updates, such as price changes or new listings. However, these notifications should be customized and not used in an abusive manner. They should be important to the user’s interests, as users are more likely uninstall a rental app if they are bombarded with irrelevant alerts.

By sending out notifications that bring value, it can improve user investment and customer loyalty.

Create a rental property website

Availability And Booking Management

By enabling landlords and property managers to control when their properties are available for showings or rent, users would be able to search for listings based on availability. After all, consumers on rental marketplaces often have precise deadlines and would tend to search for properties that are available when they need it.

Developing property management software would also allow landlords to manage their time by using an automated calendar.


Ratings can foster a sense of trust among users, especially those with reservations about certain listings and neighbourhoods. Allowing previous tenants to leave reviews for landlords and neighbourhoods allows the rental platform to be more dependable and transparent about its information.

Build a real estate marketplace application

3D Tours

Virtual tours can provide a more comprehensive understanding and layout of a property than text explanations and images can. Users should be able to view homes whenever and wherever they choose, allowing them to take their time and thoroughly explore a home without feeling rushed.

International users who are unable to visit the property in-person can also benefit from 3D tours.

Video Tours

Similar to virtual tours, video tours are real-time tours in which a landlord or property manager walks around the home to provide a more personal experience. This allows for special accommodations and immediate answers to questions or inquiries that a virtual tour cannot provide, so we encourage you to think about implementing this solution when developing an rental app.

Pay attention to UI/UX Design for Your Rental Marketplace

When you think about how to develop a rental property website or an app, the main thing to start from is the right UI/UX design. After all, your rental platform should be as user-centred as possible – it is the only way to keep user retention rates high.

Every aspect of your rental property platform should meet your customer’s needs and be easy to find and interact with. Thus, you should carefully think through your customer journey, focusing your efforts on each customer segment. You can divide your customer’s journey into four main stages – awareness, product discovery, purchase, and loyalty. The next step is to analyse channels your users interact with during each stage and generate ideas on how UX/UI can be improved.

Also, applying continuous AB testing and feedback gathering helps a lot – you find out what your users expect to get from your rental marketplace and if you’re moving in the right direction. And remember – even after your product is up and running, don’t stop communicating with your customers, collect their experience interacting with your product and update it accordingly.

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Rental Platform

Select A Solution Type

When it comes to rental marketplace software, there are two options: ready-made or custom development. Both forms have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider which one best meets your needs.


A ready-made solution is ideal for those who want to launch their rental platform quickly and at a low cost. It is also perfect for those who want a fast representation of their product idea, as you can easily build a small and simple marketplace by using free open-source scripts.

This solution, however, is not appropriate for platforms that need full customization and that plan to expand in the future. For scalability, it is better to build a customised solution that can manage large amounts of data and can be modified with new functionalities.

Custom Rental App Development

While this type of solution is more time-consuming and expensive than a ready-made product, it is suitable for those who want to develop a dynamic and unique marketplace based on your specific demands and specifications. It is also ideal for those who want to build a user-friendly solution with flexible marketplace functionality that can be added or improved over time.

Conduct An Analysis

Perform a thorough examination of your business concept in order to comprehend the requirements that your product would need. It is critical to understand which features are considered essential and which are optional, as this will define which features the platform will start with. After completing this discovery phase, you will have a greater understanding of your core objectives, audience, scope, and challenges.

Choose The Technology Stack

Choosing the right tech stack for rental marketplace software solutions is critical because it can have a significant impact on your budget, product scalability, and development time.

It is strongly advised that you choose scalable technologies because you will most likely add new functionality down the road and would prefer to prevent scaling issues. You would also want to choose reliable and ready technology that can manage high loads of data and users, as rental marketplaces necessitate massive databases and often have thousands of users online at the same time.

Some recommended technologies for developing a rental application are as follows:

Application Framework - Ruby on Rails

Automation Framework - RSpec, Capybara

Cloud Data Storage - Amazon S3

Data Management - Real, CoreData

Developmental Language (Android) - Java, Kotlin

Developmental Language (iOS) - Swift, Objective C

Hosting - Amazon Web Services

JavaScript Framework - React.js

SQL Data Storage - PostgreSQL

Web Application Server - Puma

Web Server - Nginx

Create A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

It is strongly recommended that you create an MVP before developing a fully functional solution, as the MVP will allow you to save time and money. It will also allow you to put your business concept to the test and get feedback from investors and early adopters. As a result, when developing a rental application MVP, you should focus on basic functionality and avoid overburdening your platform with non-core functions.

Over time, you can then expand your solution by incorporating new features and add-ons.

Scale Your Solution

After your MVP has been launched, you’ve received your first feedback and are conquering the market, you need to gradually scale your solution – add more features, widen customer journey, improve design, be prepared for a large amount of data and a big number of platform visitors simultaneously.

What Else to Consider When Developing a Rental Marketplace Mobile App?

There are other things to consider when developing a real estate rental application apart from benefits and features, yet no less important.

Fraud Elimination

It’s very important not to become a rental platform full of scammers looking for easy money. This can be avoided by providing ID verification. When a person is listing a rental property, ask them to provide their ID cards to be sure these are real people. With double-checking, you’ll win a higher level of trust from other users.

Also, make sure the listed property is real. Ask property owners to provide verification documents and some onsite photos and videos. You may also use good old “see with your own eyes” method, but it may be time consuming. We also suggest using a delayed payment method for a higher level of trust. It means that a renter pays for a product, but the owner gets the sum only after a renter approves receiving a service. Otherwise, a renter will get their money back.

Higher Security

Today, it's frankly common to have your data leaked or stolen. You may even find out that your data was stolen years after the fact because it was never disclosed. When developing a rental property solution, you operate with sensitive user’s data (ID, payment methods, property documents, etc). Building a rental property app for proprietary use is a significant step towards prioritising the security of data in your business.

Development Team

It may seem strange to add this item to the list, yet choosing the correct development team to work on your rental property solution might be one of the most important things to do. After all, these are the people who’ll be responsible for every step of the development process in the rental app from the very beginning even after the end. That’s why they should be highly experienced, motivated and trusted.

Experience, collaboration, and trust lead to reliability. Choosing a reliable real estate software development company means choosing a company that collaborates with you and tailors software to your needs. You may choose different types of collaboration models – employ in-house teams, find outstaff professionals or outsource your development process. But always consider their previous experience, reviews, and portfolio.

Examples Of Successful Rental Marketplaces


Developed by our Softermii team, RadPad is an end-to-end rental marketplace app that connects landlords and tenants. Renters can use a sophisticated search engine and map feature to find new homes. They can also find roommates, pay their rent, make maintenance requests, and even get insurance coverage - all from a single app.

A few notable features include a location-based search engine, social payments, interactive maps, and the ability to apply for rentals via the app.

This popular rental search app offers millions of listings with professional images and videos. It provides a local guide that tells users about particular neighbours, including demographics, market trends, schools, and such on. Furthermore, with a trustworthy rating system in place, is a highly dependable platform that provides renters with reliable information.

Notable features include an advanced search engine, 3D tours, an online rental application, and interactive maps.

Operated by the National Association of Realtors, is one of the most trusted rental resources. It has a variety of filters, and each listing provides details about its neighbourhood, such as price comparisons with nearby homes. Its map is also operated by Yelp, allowing users to see nearby restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses.

Some notable features include 3D tours, crime maps, the ability to email and call from the app, suggested listings, and map drawing capabilities.


Trulia, which is owned by Zillow, is a prominent real estate platform that provides renters with useful and informative guides. One of its distinguishing features is its joint enterprise with and, which allows it to include neighbourhood-specific crime and safety statistics. It also includes a feature that assists the LGBTQ+ community by offering information about local discriminatory housing laws. As a result, Trulia offers a safe and dependable platform for concerned renters.

A few notable features include search results that can be viewed as a list, grip, or map, as well as user-friendly navigation, instant alerts, and neighbourhood facts and statistics. This case study is also interesting when developing a real estate app.


With over 110 million listings in the United States, Zillow is one of the most popular solutions in the rental real estate industry. It attracts a large number of consumers and regularly receives high user traffic due to its large inventory, data, and services. It also provides programs that make it simple for landlords to advertise their properties and interact with their tenants.

Some notable features are up-to-date listings, robust filters, push notifications, built-in tenant screening tools, and personalised recommendations.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Rental Marketplace Platform

The process of developing real estate rental apps is complex and costly. It is not only because of the different APIs you have to integrate. To build a real estate marketplace application, the development team must consider all the user groups: landlords, tenants, and realtors. Think about which features your service exactly needs so that you can save time and money.

So, how much will it cost to create a rental property website or app? The final costs of a rental properties app development can depend on various factors, such as product complexity and the number of overall features.

Furthermore, the size of your development team can also influence the price. However, the typical employees and factors that will determine the final costs are:

  • Project Manager
  • UI/UX Designer(s)
  • Frontend Developer(s)
  • Backend Developer(s)
  • Android/iOS Developer(s)
  • Business Analysis
  • Quality Control
  • Post-Release Maintenance

A basic and simple MVP solution can be priced from $40,000 to $55,000. However, more complex property rental search app development can cost upwards of $70,000.

Let's highlight the main stages of making property rental apps from scratch.

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Discovery, evaluation, and UI/UX design phase

Time: 280 hours

Cost: $11 200

Our business analysts conduct market research, analyse customer expectations, and assess industry trends in the first phase. All this information serves as a basis for project budget calculation during rental app development.

When creating the app’s UI and UX prototypes, our team assesses to what extent the technology stack, functions, and overall aesthetics meet the client's expectations.

Development phase

Time: 640 hours

Cost: $25 600

Our experts create an early version of the entire product based on the selected technology stack.

Testing and launching

Time: 240 hours

Cost: $9 600

The testing and launching stage is crucial to build a home rent app. It is essential to collect user feedback about the product to improve the application's functionality, make it more user-friendly, and exclude bugs.

After all testing and bugs are fixed, your real estate application is ready to go. Remember that any service needs support even after release to compete on the market successfully.

Writing technical documentation

Time: 40 hours

Cost: $1 600

It is the last step in developing a real estate rental app or a website. It includes creating all the documentation for the rental application, particularly the product manual.

Let's summarise all of these in the table below.

Development Stages




Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

280 hours

$11 200



640 hours

$25 600



240 hours

$9 600


Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600


1 200 hours (5 month)

$48 800

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How long will it take?

Just like the final costs, the real estate app development time can vary depending on different factors. Keep in mind that creating a high-quality product includes more than just development. It can also include preparation, planning, testing, and fixing.

On average, it can take anywhere from 600 to 800 hours to build a home rent app. As for an app and a website, it can take up to 1200 hours. This will typically translate to two to six months.

Softermii Experience

Softermii has been developing real estate software for over six years, including commercial property management. Our committed team of experts understands the dynamics and difficulties associated with these products, which allows us to provide a wide range of developmental services.

RadPad, our most popular rental real estate software, has gained widespread acclaim and has been called one of the Top 10 Best New Apps for the past two years in a row. It has a strong backend that supports a large property database, advanced search and filter, an interactive map, and real-time chat. We were able to build a rental search app like RadPad and turn it into the powerful end-to-end application that it is today by doing a thorough user experience analysis and usability testing.

Build a home rent app

Another one of our successful cases is the French Real Estate Association – a mobile app used by realtors that can provide real-time information about the properties available for purchase or rental. For the French Real Estate Association, we developed a mobile iOS rental application that allows interaction between agents and clients. It helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase the number of successful transactions. We introduced the following features to the product:

  • real-time visibility of the market section with the option to geolocate and filter searches to identify properties that meet customer requirements
  • detailed descriptions of property added to the platform
  • real-time comparison tool
  • collaborations between agents and agencies
  • custom zones option
  • notifications

Currently, over 3,900 agencies are using the software. Also, the solution achieved MobileWebAwards Best Real Estate Mobile Application for the 2020 award.

Creating apps for rental homes

With our custom-built engine, Apartmii, we can incorporate it into any real estate solution, enabling developmental steps to be accelerated or even skipped. It makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about user behaviour, virtual reality for 3D tours, augmented reality to highlight key features, a basic user interface for ease of use, a live video tour for realistic experiences, and automated credit scores for rental applicants. Thanks to Apartmii, we can develop a rental platform more easily and quickly than ever before.

Rental properties app development

Softermii is committed to creating housing rental app developments that blend well with your business principles and demands by making products that are driven by IoT, AI, AR, and VR.


The real estate market is a major component of the world's economy, with a global value of over $7 196 billion. As the demand for rentals increases, so does the popularity and income of rental platforms. Millions of tenants, landlords, and property managers have flocked to these marketplaces as these solutions have made the leasing process faster and more convenient than ever before.

However, building a rental platform for creating apps for rental homes is not as easy as it seems.

Before developing a rental app, you must decide which business model to use in order to maximise monetization while also incorporating key rental marketplace features that improve user experience and retention. An extensive database, real-time messaging, booking management, virtual tours, and a rating system are among the core features, and once determined, building a rental property search app can be done in four simple steps: selecting the solution type, conducting an analysis, choosing the technology stack, and developing an MVP.

Softermii will collaborate with you on every stage of your rental platform development. We will ensure that you are prepared to join and remain in the market with a competitive solution. Contact us today and one of our experts will be happy to expand on the rental search app development process and the cost to build a rental marketplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to build a real estate rental marketplace?

Just like the final costs, the app development time can vary depending on different factors. Keep in mind that creating a high-quality product includes more than just development. It can also include preparation, planning, testing, and fixing.

On average, it can take anywhere from 600 to 800 hours to develop a rental app. As for an app and a website, it can take up to 1200 hours. This will typically translate to two to six months.

How to choose a reliable rental property software development company?

Experience, collaboration, and trust lead to reliability. At Softermii, we strive to provide a range of options to fit every real estate need. Our experienced team of over 100 specialists. Our developers, project managers, and QA specialists work with you in a way that builds trust. Choosing a reliable real estate software development company means choosing a company that collaborates with you and tailors software to your needs.

Softermii works with clients as partners to ensure we deliver the most advanced and secure software that incorporates all your needs, such as IoT, artificial intelligence, conferencing engines, and AR/VR. By partnering with us, we can develop real estate software that fits seamlessly with your business principles and enhances your market reach, empowering you to stay connected in a digital age.

Should you develop a mobile version of the application right away?

Of course, since more and more people use smartphones in everyday life and make even important decisions, such as buying or renting a home, on the go. Therefore, you need to create a mobile app first to compete in the real estate market as it’s one of the main real estate and technology trends nowadays.

What technology stack is usually used?

We work with the latest technologies for rental property app development that meet user expectations, your business needs, and market requirements:

Application Framework - Ruby on Rails

Automation Framework - RSpec, Capybara

Cloud Data Storage - Amazon S3

Data Management - Real, CoreData

Developmental Language (Android) - Java, Kotlin

Developmental Language (iOS) - Swift, Objective C

Hosting - Amazon Web Services

JavaScript Framework - React.js

SQL Data Storage - PostgreSQL

Web Application Server - Puma

Web Server - Nginx

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