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A comment from Antoinette Uiterdijk on last week's link to a story on landlords using rent optimization software (which optimized rents way up):

Smaller landlords are often not just eager for the highest rent, but are equally or even more interested in getting good tenants. People who are responsible, who pay every month on the dot, who stay in the dwelling for a longer period, who are willing to do small maintenance themselves, even add some improvements, who keep the yard nice, do. to cause problems with the neighbors, etc. Renters who tick those boxes are probably worth some "discount".

This is something to think about broadly: if every transaction has some easily-measured justifications and some more subjective ones, then any systematic measurement is naturally going to find a bunch of outliers that have a strong but hard-to-measure qualitative reason for existing. (One big outlier in the Austin market, for example, is that my kids pay rent 100% below market rate, at least until they can afford more once they start their own Substacks.) Optimization, whether it takes the form of PE rollups or pricing software, will tend to miss these, and can sometimes make the market less efficient in hard-to-measure ways.

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