Editor’s note: Charlotte Beat is a regular weekly feature in Local Tech Wire.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Looking to rent a house, townhouse, condo or duplex in Charlotte or any other city in 19 states? There’s now a website you can turn to help you find one — and will also help you purchase a home of your own a year later.

Rent2Buy America (www.rent2buyamerica.com ) launched in mid-April representing 30 property management companies in such states as North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Arizona Texas and Georgia. After five weeks, the site came up number three on Google for “duplexes in Charlotte.” By the end of May, there were 50 companies showing about 1,200 rental properties.

The site integrates the latest in mapping technology with Google Earth, providing detailed information on and satellite views of properties and featuring data integration tools that enable property managers to automate the uploading of their property information.

Rent2Buy is the creation of Steve Adamec, a 17-year veteran of the IT industry with experience in property management. He came up with the idea, wrote the business plan and attracted investors, then brought in a management team and outsourced three key development components to other Charlotte-based companies.

Adamec was joined by Jonathan Fitch as director of sales and Jill Purdy as director of marketing. Logical Advantage designed the website; WebsiteBiz provided marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) services (a key to driving visitors to the site); and Peak 10 provides hosting.

“Outsourcing these skills is a way small companies can bring in the people they need without adding to the payroll,” Purdy said. “It’s not cheap, but they couldn’t afford it otherwise. They get more skills for less impact on the company and can stay running lean.”

Adamec was “adamant” about using other Charlotte companies for the outsourced work. “In the 21st century, everything is done on the phone or online, but when you meet in a conference room, you can look people in the eye, see a raised eyebrow,” he explained. “It adds so much to the process, and I think we made out better in the long run. We met four times a week, head to head and toe to toe — it was a wonderful experience.”

Rent2Buy’s revenue stream is created by fees paid by property managers for listing their properties. “They need consumers who are looking for rental properties.” Purdy said.

To help attract transitional buyers to the site – a value-added feature for the property managers — anyone who uses the site to find a property and has lived there for a year qualifies for a 1-3 percent credit on the purchase of any house from one of the affiliated companies. In addition, Rent2Buy has a national alliance with ReMax and is affiliated with several lenders; Nationwide offers discounts on renters insurance to users.

“You get more interest and responses with incentives, and at the end of the day, potential tenants sign leases,” Fitch said. “You’re giving people something back — a stepping stone to buying a home. And that helps rent properties like crazy.”

After looking at properties on the site, visitors use an e-mail interface that directly goes to the appropriate property manager. The rental company takes it from there. “The leads just come in,” Adamec said.

And, noted Purdy, online users tend to be better educated, spend more money and make for better tenants. “It improves property managers’ business.”

Information on the site is updated daily, and Adamec said the company is developing a system to automate the process to make it it “faster and more timely.”

Rent2Buy began with a staff of four, currently has seven employees and plans to add four more in the next two months, primarily in sales and data entry. Adamec said “Charlotte is the target market and always will be” and that about 200 of the current listings and five of the property management firms are in the Queen City.

Adamec added that the company is not interested in growth for its own sake. “We are keeping a tight grip on quality control,” he explained, “and we research and target property management firms before adding them to the site.”

Free CRM Webcast

Customer Connect Associates will present “Welcome to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0” via Webcast on Tuesday, June 6, from noon-1:30 p.m. The free Webcast is for business and IT professionals and decision makers interested in learning how to give employees the skills to boost sales, satisfaction and service with automated Customer Relationship Management that is easy to use, customize and maintain. Register at www.customer-connect.com – Event ID: 1032297685. On the day of the Webcast, dial 877-266-0837 for Audio and enter Passcode 6974. Customer Connect is based in Davidson.

SeerTech Working with Japanese Firm

Seertech Corporation, a developer of new technologies for the display, signage, and power industries, has begun a project to develop paper-like displays based on its proprietary FASwitch electrostatic switches. The Charlotte-based firm is building display backplane prototypes with the goal of producing display samples this summer and going to market in 2007. Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), one of the world’s largest printing companies, will help with the initial prototype development.