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August 12th, 2000

Apartment Search

Now that I’ve got a good, steady job and a new car, the logical step is to find an apartment. I’ve started looking already to get a feel for things, but won’t move out for a few months.

A very helpful tool in my search has been, surprise!, the net. I now have an idea of what apartments go for in the areas I want to live in, along with amenities and other things to expect. The downside is that there are a lot of apartment sites out there, and none have contiguous listings. There is no metasearch for these sites that I know of; as consolation, here are my thoughts on the apartment sites:

www.rent.net: This is the biggest and largely the best. Super easy interface gets you poking about in moments. I wish I could narrow the rent price range a little more; I have to select "$500 to $799" even though my budget allows rent up to $600. Also, you can’t search for more than one type (studio, 1 br, 2 br) of apartment at a time.

apartments.com: This site has the backing of lots of newspapers. Nice interface that really steps you through things – good idea. Lots of options insofar as price, amenities, and type go. Individual ads are just as nice as rent.net’s. There may be backend problems: I clicked on "Apt. Community" for a local property and got information on a nice two bedroom in Maryland. oops.

Yahoo! Real Estate: Yahoo! gives it a shot and does fairly well with a classifieds format, and aggregates information from rent.net and apartmentguide.com, along with its own listings. Navigation is fine, results are easily sorted. Not too many search options since this is a classified ad interface, but nice overall.

apartmentguide.com: Now this is tough. The site is molasses, the interface is too techy (I want information, not pretty 20K graphics!), but occasionally you find something good that you can’t find on other sites. The property-specific detail is slim… barely a step above classified ads. I think they’re trying to make it very simple (look at the front page), but missing the mark slightly.

SpringStreet: Tabbed interface! ungh! But hey… lots of cities to choose from. Lots of options for price, amenities, and location. They’ve also teamed up with newspapers, so you’ll get a modicum of classifieds.

And that’s the way it is. Happy hunting. -pm

Posted in Technology

FROM: Robert
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2000 -- 12:52:33AM
So, I guess this means you're relocating in Chicagoland. Try South Holland, the community of churches.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2000 -- 1:37:16AM
When I was looking at apartments, I found rent.net to be the most helpful... and I liked their 360 degree walkaround views. :) However, even though they're the top site as far as content and presentation, their searching *really* sucks if you're trying to get somewhere you've already been. It's like four clicks to get to an apartment complex -- why not just be able to search on apartment complex name from the front page?

Real Estate is such a huge market and it's just beginning to catch up to the Internet age... once the industry has fully embraced it, it'll be just awesome.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2000 -- 11:05:17AM
South Holland... that wouldn't be bad, but I work in the north suburbs and my friends still live in the near west suburbs.

Ryan, one thing I found to be terribly inconsistent amongst the sites is clipping ads. Yahoo!'s is probably the cleanest. But I suppose for real clipping, one could use Deepleap or similar.

I do agree that once the industry gets its act together, it'll be quite incredible.



FROM: Tony
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2000 -- 11:09:04AM
A friend of mine works in real estate, and he was telling me one of the best ways to find a place to live is through something called MLS, (Mutiple Listing Service) . Its a really thick book, im not sure if anyone can get one, but they have a load of listings. I flipped through the Englewood one a few days back, and it had stuff I didnt even knew existed. wow.



FROM: Robert
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2000 -- 12:16:50AM
My aunt lives in South Holland. It's what I imagine SLC suburbs are like.



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