Second Porch Raises $1 Million for Facebook-Based Vacation Rentals

Facebook has become a place where one can not only connect with friends and get free food, but now thanks to Second Porch, you can also book a vacation home. Portland-based Second Porch secured $1 million in Series-A funding Wednesday, led by the Oregon Angel Fund, which will help the company expand its vacation home rental/home exchange markets, according to its press release.

Second Porch offers a nice looking free Facebook application used to help people either find a vacation rental or put their property up for rent on the service, representing a significant financial commitment on the part of its users. Part of what Second Porch represents is a growing trust users have for Facebook as a place not only to socialize. We’ve previously reported some people have even considered purchasing modular homes on Facebook, and Second Porch is yet another way users may utilize the social network to make sizable financial decisions.

Second Porch says bridging the gap between the need for vacation rentals and social networks is beneficial to both parties. “The typical Facebook personal network comprised of ‘friends of friends’ reaches almost 17,000 people, all of whom can be vouched for by a friend in common. For a homeowner, this is an obvious opportunity to find prospective guests to rent to with a higher level of comfort and peace of mind,” says chief executive Brent Hieggelke.

On Facebook, Second Porch currently has 1,100 fans and 2,450 users. These numbers seem low, but given the point of the app, size and quantity of deals are what matter — not getting as many users as possible. The app is easy to navigate and includes: links to either search for homes or list homes, see customer reviews, see news stories about Second Porch, a link to invite Facebook friends to use the app and view listings posted by those friends.

Several search options are available to those who would like to find a home using Second Porch, which may be done by geographic location via Google Maps or in list form. Users may adjust search options of geographic location, rentals listed by friends, whether these properties are for rent/trade, the number of bedrooms and nightly rate. Additionally, those searching for a rental may ask their Facebook friends and other users to help source a suitable vacation rental via publishing to your news feed.

Adding a vacation home to Second Porch’s Facebook listings is easy and the company promises that it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Those wishing to place their home for rent simply decide whether it’s for rent/trade/both, choose whether to share the listing exclusively with their Facebook friends or everyone, then enter their email, location information and details about the property.

Second Porch asks pretty detailed questions about the properties placed for rent, not simply whether it’s a house/condo/etc., but also the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and other details, such as whether the property is family/pet-friendly, smoking, has a pool/cable, accessible by wheelchair, along with other accommodations. Up to nine photos may be uploaded of the property to accompany the description. Because Second Porch is an app on Facebook, there are some unique features available to users, who may publish using the service to their Wall, accumulate followers to their homes, follow homes they may want to rent in the future and get to know those they are renting from/to in a more personal way.

Second Porch attempts to meet both the rise of social networking and the growth of online travel arrangements with its new app, and given the ease of use and integration with Facebook, seems to do a good job at it.

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