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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Web site brings off-campus digs to your desktop

    Kevin Bukata, the founder of www.UARentals.com and a 2005 graduate of the UA, stands outside one of the apartments listed on his Web site. Bukatas company helps students find off-campus housing.
    Kevin Bukata, the founder of www.UARentals.com and a 2005 graduate of the UA, stands outside one of the apartments listed on his Web site. Bukata’s company helps students find off-campus housing.

    Finding off-campus housing can be a tedious task, but one UA alumnus and a UA student have tried to change that with their Web site.

    Kevin Bukata, a UA alumnus, started www.UARentals.com, a Web site that connects students with off-campus housing, while he was still a student.

    Bukata said he became extremely frustrated his sophomore year while trying to find a four-bedroom house.

    “”It’s so time-consuming,”” he said. “”You have to resort to traveling all over town and calling so many numbers.””

    Bukata said he began looking into creating a better way to locate housing and realized he could develop a centralized service that would simplify the search.

    Bukata picked up partner Andrew Charney, an economics senior, and got permission from the engineering management department to tackle the Web site as his senior project.

    Charney and Bukata distributed hundreds of surveys to students in marketing classes and found that 60 percent of students who responded said they spent 10 hours or more searching for a place to live.

    “”The Web site was really born out of necessity,”” Bukata said. “”We realized we could definitely do better than what existed.””

    The service was launched in March 2005 and Bukata says he’s been surprised by the success.

    “”It just takes a few believers other than yourself to get it going, and it just snowballs,”” he said.

    Property owners pay to have their property listed on the site, but UARentals is free for students to search. The site provides information on property amenities, features, distance to campus, images and floor plans. There is also a free roommate-finder service on the site that will soon be available.

    Bukata said there are currently 25 properties listed on the site and the site is seeing an average of 100 visitors a day. He said he expects both these numbers to pick up as peak rental season approaches.

    Most of the properties listed are apartments because houses placed on the Web site disappear the fastest, Burkata said.

    “”The properties run the gamut,”” he said. “”They’re all over town and all different sizes.””

    Bukata said as a result of the success of the site and at the encouragement of Tucson property owners, he has expanded to Arizona State University with www.RentASU.net and soon plans to expand to several other universities.

    Dan Switter, property manager of Entrada Real Apartments, said he’s been advertising with UARentals from the beginning.

    “”We were one of the first five people on the site,”” he said.

    Switter said Entrada Real began advertising on the Web site because its target is UA students, and there was not a Web site specifically aimed at students until UARentals came along.

    Switter said the company has been happy with the number of students who have chosen Entrada after looking at www.UARentals.com.

    Microbiology senior Erin Picton said she’s lived at six or seven different places since moving off campus after her freshman year.

    “”I’ve probably looked at every place around town in the years I’ve been here,”” she said.

    Picton said it’s time-consuming to look for a place that has everything you want. She said a Web site where the information was condensed would have been very helpful.

    Creative writing sophomore Jill Bondeson said she and her roommate looked at a housing guide when trying to find an apartment in hopes of making it easier.

    “”It helped us figure out which candidates were closest to campus,”” she said.

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