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  1. #1
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    Hello everyone, I've decided to start a website similar to www.rent.com, unfortunately I have little experience with website design. I'm a noob and I probably should spend about 10 hours searching tonight and figure everything out-I figure you guys might be able to direct me more efficiently.

    My friend is helping me build this website and he has a pretty good grasp with writing code. I'm going to have to learn as I go along which is why I'm asking you guys for help.

    My first question is how do I get a professional website layout like rent.com with the ability to use search features and drop downs like they do. I know that someone probably created the entire website with no help from any software but I'm simply not at this level. Is there any software platforms that will let me professionally make a website more easily than just writing the whole damn thing myself.

    The site will have about 500 apartment listings and will need to be easy to search by criteria. Also, It would be great to have a template for each listing so I can just fill in the different info for each different place. The info in the template will have to be organized and easily searchable through drop downs for instance price range of 400-500 or 1 bdrm, 2bdrm, etc..

    I don't want to ramble too much more. Any help will be greatly appreciated. I know this is going to take me possibly 100's of hours to perfect so I want to be efficient.
    Thank you,
    fried-rice

    Edit: I can't even make a link work lol...

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Well,
    They probably spent thousands of dollars to program that site.

    You would do something sort of similar, on a much smaller scale using
    something like Joomla or Drupal. In any event, the script would require
    a lot of customization and time to do.

    I guess the obvious question is, why? With 1000 other rental sites online,
    why would yours be better? Describe your thinking on this, and how you
    will expect to get back your investment.


  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim
    Well,
    They probably spent thousands of dollars to program that site.

    You would do something sort of similar, on a much smaller scale using
    something like Joomla or Drupal. In any event, the script would require
    a lot of customization and time to do.

    I guess the obvious question is, why? With 1000 other rental sites online,
    why would yours be better? Describe your thinking on this, and how you
    will expect to get back your investment.
    Well, although there may be 1000's of other rental sites, not many of them offer the ability to search online without having to interact with an actual real estate agent/broker. I live in 4th largest city in the US- I only see one other company that does this in my area. Their site doesn't seem very good in my opinion.

    Not only am I aiming for a better functioning/aesthetic site but I will also offer other incentives to entice prospects. For example ;maybe I'll give half off the first months rent in leases more than one year, a free Gaming system, free moving to the new location, etc. I will come up with more stuff but that's just off the top of my head.

    The next thing I have is marketing. My step-father is highly involved with the university and the university is willing to give out my information for students in need of housing. They don't have anyone so far and they have to tell people to look a person up yourself.

    An apartment locator gets paid by the apartment complex. If it's a one year lease they get paid one months rent cost. So if rent is $500 a month you get $500 for referring that customer to the apartment. You have to be a licensed real estate agent under a licensed broker.

    So basically the user of my site will get roughly half of the first months rent back as an added incentive to use the site. For my long hours of labor making the site and being a real estate broker I will get half of the money the apartment complex pays out. Another hard part is actually collecting the money.

    I hope that explains why I'll be starting this site. Do you think it may be more realistic to have someone make the site nearly compete to where I can update and add properties myself easily. I don't really have a budget but I want to do this the cheapest, most professional, most knowledge gaining way I can.

    Thanks

  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    You've got a good idea and a plan ... that's a good thing.

    Your project is a big one, so I do recommend getting as much done
    ahead of time. So perhaps Drupal would be a good match for you.
    You have the problem of a low budget, but anything you do to hire
    a freelance programmer will cost some money.

    Your project also involves handling money ... which could involve
    credit card merchants (and that's not free either).

    If you had some sort of business set-up and a business plan, you might be
    able to swing a loan from a SBA (small business administration). Enough to
    get you started and pay for the programmer.

    I think it's too big of a project for us to discuss here on this forum.
    Look around on the "hire a programmer" part of WDF and see if you can find a
    programmer that you can work with.


  6. #5
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim
    You've got a good idea and a plan ... that's a good thing.

    Your project is a big one, so I do recommend getting as much done
    ahead of time. So perhaps Drupal would be a good match for you.
    You have the problem of a low budget, but anything you do to hire
    a freelance programmer will cost some money.

    Your project also involves handling money ... which could involve
    credit card merchants (and that's not free either).

    If you had some sort of business set-up and a business plan, you might be
    able to swing a loan from a SBA (small business administration). Enough to
    get you started and pay for the programmer.

    I think it's too big of a project for us to discuss here on this forum.
    Look around on the "hire a programmer" part of WDF and see if you can find a
    programmer that you can work with.
    Thanks for the advice. I have a URL and a pretty crappy site already. When I said I didn't have a budget I meant that I could spend as much money as was necessary to get the site running. I'll go check the other section of the site and maybe pm some people.

  7. #6
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Expect $1000+ for a site like the one you want.

    Give the programmer a complete list of site requirements,
    as this will allow him/her to determine the proper base script to use.

    Get professional graphics too.

    If in the U.S., look into SBA loans .... it might be a good way to start (financially).



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