Anikio is a Saskatoon-based site that makes finding a great rental property easy. Anikio was started by me, Dean, in 2018 (although I’d been working on getting the site built for over a year). I started out frustrated with how hard it was to get my property noticed using the current options available. The first headache was reposting my listing continually to stay near the top. I found that even when I paid to be bumped back up, I’d get an email later that day saying I’d already sunk below page 15 in the listings! Meanwhile, Facebook’s marketplace is popular but designed to be a pain in the butt for the ‘seller’. “Yes, it’s available. I posted 12 minutes ago.” On top of that, the rental vacancy rate in Saskatoon is among the highest in Canada, and we believe it will increase for 2021! So there are a lot of properties out there to compete with for attention.
For renters, it is actually even worse. They’re looking for their home! For some, it’s their first time making such a big financial commitment. And the information they’re looking for is sometimes missing, sometimes in different places, and very hard to search.
Making Rental Searches Relevant
Like Google, I wanted a way for renters to find properties that were most relevant to what they are looking for. Easily. Conveniently, when renters can find what they need, it also makes it easier for landlords to get their property noticed by the right people. We can solve two problems in one!
As business owners, we landlords shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that tenants are our customers. The better experience we provide, the better our business should do. So on Anikio, property is set up in a database where tenants can be as picky or open-minded as they like. They can limit their search on anything from location to pet-friendliness to whether the property is a basement suite or condo. They can even decide to only view places with A/C, stainless steel appliances, and so on.
So instead of having to sift through 50 pages of rentals, they can narrow their list down to a dozen or so properties that meet their needs and are in their budget. An added bonus of our system is that by having fields for all this criteria, we have the most complete listings of anywhere, which again is good for everybody!
It’s All About the Visuals
On the topic of having the best rental listings possible, we made an easy-to-use interface works great from the phone or a computer/tablet. And we also offer photography and as far as I know, we’re the only rental site that offers virtual tours of properties as well. We can even digitally stage the feature photo for your property for that more liveable, at-home feeling that connects with tenants. With online shopping, visuals are what sell. Making these tools affordable for rentals is part of our mission to have the best Saskatoon rental listings anywhere.
Great photos are what get tenants looking at a property (see our study). The virtual tour helps them understand the layout and get a complete look around at anything/everything. Virtual tours also save time for everybody, ensuring suitability before actually scheduling an in-person viewing. And hey, in this day and age, we can even pat ourselves on the back by cutting down on pollution from wasted trips to/from rentals.
So the photos bring interest to the listing and consideration of a rental. The next step is keeping potential renters engaged, and nothing adds to the minutes that a tenant spends viewing your property like a virtual tour.
Making Applications Faster/Easier
The best part is, with a virtual tour, good photos, and a complete listing, a tenant should be fairly confident that they are interested in your place before they even contact the landlord. We also offer a place to upload a rental application form, floor plan, and tenancy agreement. So the tenant can fill this out before arriving at the property to meet the landlord and have it ready to sign when the meet-and-greet and in-person viewing are done, again saving everyone time and effort. Or, if the tenant didn’t fill it out in advance, they can download it from the property page without having to have you email or print it for them.
Save Your Listing & Photos
Once you’ve found tenants, you simply mark your property as ‘Rented’ (in the My Properties menu) and your property is taken off the search results. Easy peasy! But the best part is, when your current tenant eventually moves out, you simply go back to My Properties and re-list your house, suite, condo, etc with a single click. We keep the photos, the information, and everything on file so you don’t have to recreate your listing or hunt for files. All part of our mission to make the process simpler!
Future Plans & Pricing
Down the road, there are a lot more features I’m planning to add, but for now I’m just focused on getting Anikio launched. Still, I’m always excited to hear ideas about what I can do to make Anikio better for everyone, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have some thoughts. In case you’re wondering how I hope to get paid for all this work, well, check out our Pricing page!
So a bit about us! Krystal, my wife, and I – we just had our first anniversary in January – have two rental units in Saskatoon. We rent our basement here in Evergreen, and also rent Krystal’s former condo in Arbor Creek. In addition, I help my family manage a few of their rental units. Once upon a time, we lived in in beautiful Buena Vista (what an underrated location!) and rented our basement but I sold that home to help make the down payment on our current home. Now we’re in Evergreen and while I miss being close to everything, the paths and excitement of new development is great!
Saskatoon is home. I was born here in Saskatoon and, aside from some extended backpacking trips including a year living/working in Australia, have lived in Saskatoon my whole life. And I love it! My high school was actually in Clavet (as we lived just outside Saskatoon) and then I studied electrical engineering and computer science at the U of S. My dad opened Athena/Specklebelly’s in Sutherland in 1983 and our family all worked there growing up until he finally sold it about 10 years ago. After university, I worked for a number of years designing and then selling electrical safety equipment from Startco and later Littelfuse before leaving to start this business. I still (at least for now) drive my first car, a 1996 Acura Integra, and you’ll probably see me zipping around in it as I go and meet various landlords. They just don’t make them like that anymore. I’m also a PADI SCUBA diver with my Advanced Open Water and have a private pilot license from Mitchinson’s Flying School here in Saskatoon. My other hobbies are photography and playing piano.
Krystal is from Estevan and has also lived in Moose Jaw and Yorkton before coming to Saskatoon for school. She’s now a Registered Nurse working here in Saskatoon. Krystal has an amazing voice and occasionally sings in choir (and often sings in Black Betty, her beloved Honda CRV) and is a talented painter as well. Her easel is set up behind my desk so when I’m working on Anikio late in the evenings, she’ll sometimes be painting behind me so we can still visit while I’m working. I should mention that she is the one that designed the Anikio logo and often helps me, always motivates me, and keeps me going. It’s tough on a person starting a new business, and I wouldn’t be able to keep doing it without her support. Krystal also loves to play soccer (as do I) and typically plays on a couple teams here in the city.