UW-Madison housing finder service puts apartment search on laptops, phones

October 14, 2015 By David Tenenbaum

The Campus and Visitor Relations office at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has enhanced its apartment-finding service with technology from a UW–Madison spinoff business that simplifies housing searches for students, faculty, staff and the public.

The updated Campus Area Housing (CAH) listing service features all the property listings and sublets that were previously available through CAH, using a modern, mobile-friendly design and expanded details about the properties.

Photo: Housing website

The technology comes from Madison startup ABODO, which serves rental information to prospects in 30 U.S. cities, including Madison.

“For some time, we’ve wanted to improve how we feature off-campus housing vacancies on our website,” says Steve Amundson, director of Campus and Visitor Relations. “ABODO not only offers what we feel is the best platform for the UW–Madison community, but it has a great story to tell, as a fast-growing company founded by recent UW–Madison alums.”

“We talked to a variety of companies,” adds Amundson. “It wasn’t just their location, but the fact that their app is completely mobile-friendly.” Although the back end will use ABODO’s searching and sorting mechanism, he says, “the site will have the look and feel of UW–Madison.”

Campus and Visitor Relations has offered apartment-finding services for more than 45 years, but ABODO “offers technology that we don’t have,” Amundson says.

“We talked to a variety of companies. It wasn’t just their location, but the fact that their app is completely mobile-friendly.”

Steve Amundson

The new off-campus housing site lists apartments and houses for rent, as well as roommate openings and sublets to help students find housing that meets their needs. Listings include detailed property and unit-level information, including images, videos, floor plans, and current pricing and availability based on the university’s academic calendar.

The new site is also fully mobile-responsive and allows students to call or email their favorite properties from any device.

“We’re really excited to be working with UW–Madison,” says Alec Slocum, ABODO’s co-founder and CEO. “As former UW–Madison students who experienced the pain of finding an apartment in Madison, we started this company because we knew there had to be a better way. Working directly with the university is a great addition to that work and we’re looking forward to helping more current and future UW students find a great place to live.”

For Madison property managers, the new site offers enhanced opportunities to attract UW students. The new listings include improved featuring, branding, enhanced high-definition images and video tours, as well as optional integration with their chosen management software to ensure that listings are up to date and leasing staff can respond quickly to prospective renters.