Houser was a website that focused on presenting properties to prospective tenants or flatmates. Its points of difference from other sites were:
- Free for anybody to create property profiles
- Property profiles are re-usable and more content rich so only need to be updated between listings
- Rich search functionality that let you compare properties considering transport costs associated with getting to work/school etc.
Over the course of development, two people joined the project: Emma Johnston and Hamish Kay. I was extremely grateful for their help with writting a business plan, marketing, and meeting with local real estate firms. With their help the site had listings from most of the commercial real-estate firms in Hamilton (NZ):
- Century 21
- Lodge Rentals
- Waikato Real Estate
RentFast actually funded the costs of printing the flyers in exchange for their logo being added to the flyers.
At its peak, Houser receieved over 1600 visits per month and was the third top Google result when searching “rental properties hamilton”. It was written in PHP, served using Apache, used a MySQL database, memcached for page caching, had an SSL certificate for secure log-ons, and was hosted on a VPS in New Zealand. It took 12 months of full-time work to develop the site and included testing with end-users.
Thousands of flyers were hand-delivered (by myself) around the Hamilton East area leading up to the end of semester and over the summer period. Online advertising included Google AdWords and Facebook advertising.