DALLAS — In the grips of a historic pandemic, Dallas-based apartment locating service Smart City leaned in, welcoming a whole lot of recent staff and increasing into almost half a dozen new markets in different states.Led by 33-year-old founder and CEO Cassie Brown, the corporate has a easy mission: Connect renters with an apartment area the place they are often themselves. Smart City negotiates with apartment properties to lease out empty models in bulk, oftentimes locking in decrease charges for renters.“I feel everybody actually desires to have the ability to look on the web and have all the right solutions, however once they notice how overwhelming it’s, generally they only need any individual who does,” Brown mentioned.The firm, which began with only a few employees in 2013, expects to see greater than $40 million in income this 12 months and will function in at the very least 10 cities.The Dallas rental market is sizzling, main the nation in internet residences leased within the first quarter, and landlords leased a document variety of apartment models within the second quarter.“We actually discover an apartment each quarter-hour,” Brown mentioned. “When properties run specials, they name us first. ”Smart City was one of many first apartment locating corporations to efficiently leverage viral social media advertising and marketing within the rental area within the mid-2010s. Today there are 16 brokers behind Smart City’s Instagram accounts. They subject a whole lot of requests for apartment locating providers in numerous cities every day.“Social media is normally the place they discover us. (Renters) contact us by net type, textual content message or DM … and then we attempt to get them with an agent inside quarter-hour,” Brown mentioned.Meeting the corporate’s objective of a 15-minute response time has gotten tougher with the demand the corporate has seen this 12 months, Brown mentioned.And that’s regardless of its latest growth.Smart City went on a hiring spree on the onset of the pandemic, bringing on round 420 contractors and full-time employees over the previous 12 months.“We can’t rent quick sufficient,” Brown mentioned.Brown started the corporate in earnest in 2013 when she relocated from Austin to Dallas together with her spouse. She received her actual property license and began apartment locating, first making referrals for pals and household as she hunted for probably the most fascinating properties. The enterprise picked up a viral following on-line after Brown and her early enterprise companions began sharing the residences they discovered on Instagram.“Properties began calling me saying, ‘Hey, we need to be in your Instagram. We need to be featured,’” Brown mentioned.“It turns on the market’s an actual want out there for what we’re doing,” Brown mentioned. “We’ve been in a position to save numerous our purchasers a fairly first rate sum of money simply by the facility of social media … and it helps the property. They want their vacancies to go down instantly.”The unique Dallas Smart City Apartments Instagram web page surpassed 100,000 followers in September, in line with social media monitoring web site SocialBlade. It operates separate pages for every promote it serves.The Dallas headquarters workplace is the house base for 80 full-time staff and various actual property brokers who work immediately with purchasers. In addition to Dallas, the corporate now has bodily places of work in Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, Denver and Atlanta, whereas employees in San Antonio, Nashville, Orlando and Chicago function out of co-working areas.“Always free for you,” the corporate advertises within the bio part of its Instagram web page.Apartment locators like Smart City make their cash from the property corporations they join renters with, usually taking house 50% to 100% of the primary month’s lease for every unit to cowl working bills and pay the brokers they make use of.The apartment homeowners Smart City works with solely pay the locating agency after a tenant indicators the lease. Smart City’s charges are cheaper than the prices of a unit sitting vacant or pouring cash into advertising and marketing by way of on-line websites that may’t assure success, Brown mentioned.Dallas is presently quick on vacant residences and filled with renters on the lookout for their subsequent house, in line with apartment locating agent Lea Simpkins, who runs her personal locating company known as Texas Apartment Locating.“You see (charges) go up and down as a result of they fluctuate with the occupancy charges usually,” Simpkins mentioned. “But as a result of occupancy charges are so excessive at many residences, it appears these days they’re simply going up, up, up.”If you’re on the lookout for the perfect deal, Brown mentioned, be ready to make selections rapidly when you’ve set the search course of in movement. For instance, most property homeowners supply “look-and-lease” specials the place they’ll knock a month or so of lease off your lease should you signal on the time you bodily tour the apartment.Speed is the secret as a result of apartment properties need “heads in beds” as rapidly as attainable.And in fact, apartment locating providers can solely save renters a lot.Fort Worth resident Lyndsay James works as a hairstylist and has been trying to find a brand new place for a number of weeks.She’s tried a number of apartment locating providers moreover Smart City and even expanded her search to incorporate Dallas. But James nonetheless hasn’t been capable of finding housing inside her worth vary of lower than $1,000 per thirty days.“There’s so many individuals wanting proper now, I’ve had pals which might be having to lease a spot sight unseen,” she mentioned.