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Web site helps students find apartments

Nov. 30, 1999

By VERONICA PERALEZ

Reporter

Do you know where you will be living next fall? Maybe you haven't had time to look or you just don't know where to start. BearRent.com, a student-run apartment locator Web site, wants to help you find your next home.

Tom McKie, a Trophy Club senior, and Ryan Fiedler, a Faribault, Minn. senior, both entrepreneurship majors, developed the Web site in March as part of a class project for the venture initiation business course.

McKie came up with the idea while having difficulty trying to find an apartment for himself.

The two students said they saw a need for an easier way to find an apartment and created the Web site to help.

'We just wanted it to be something that would be helpful to Baylor students,' McKie said.

Now operated by McKie and Fiedler, the site features a searchable database of more than 75 apartment complexes.

Students can click on the complex of their choice and find pricing information, added amenities, apartment sizes and availability.

Students can also narrow their search by selecting and submitting necessary criterion for their prospective apartment.

The site currently offers pictures of most apartment complexes and detailed information about each complex. Floor plans are also available for some complexes.

A recent addition to the site is a roommate find where students can view or post roommate ads, which include preferences such as smoking or non-smoking and individuals' opinions about having pets in the apartment.

McKie and Fiedler said they plan to add online apartment applications to the site.

'We're getting the applications from the apartments right now,' McKie said.

Once the applications are added to the site, students will be able to download and print the applications at home. Students can then mail in their applications or drop them off in person.

The site also makes it easier for parents to be involved in their son's or daughter's apartment search.

'Not only can students look at apartments, but their parents can see them also,' Fiedler said.

Funding for the site is provided by advertisements purchased by realtors and apartment complexes.

'All of the apartment complexes have been really excited about it,' McKie said.

McKie's and Fiedler's site has now had more than 60,000 hits, and they are making plans to expand to other universities -- they already have a site developed for Texas Christian University.

'We fit a niche that a whole lot of apartment locators don't hit,' Fiedler said. 'I think we have a great potential to grow as a company.'