Walkscore Launches Apartment Search, Integrating Craigslist, MyNewPlace and ForRent Listings

Apartment Search from Walk Score from Walk Score on Vimeo.

Commuting is expensive and time spent sitting in traffic is lost forever. Here are our favorite commuting stats:

  • Over three quarters of home shoppers rate being within a 30 minute commute to work as important. (Source: National Association of Realtors)
  • Commuters waste 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons of gas in traffic per year. (Source: Texas Transportation Institute)
  • The average American spends over $9,000 per year on their car. This is the equivalent of a $135,000 mortgage and the second largest expense for most households, costing more than food, clothing and health care. (Source: AAA)

To get started, visit walkscore.com/apartments and enter your work (or school) address, select your preferred mode of transportation, and tell us how long you’re willing to commute.

Apartment listings from craigslist are automatically sorted by estimated commute time and can be further filtered by Walk Score, price and size.

And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, we’ve integrated links to MyNewPlace and ForRent.com to search their national databases for nearby rental listings.

“Access to public transit and minimizing commute times are high-priority, quality of life issues for many renters. We’re very pleased to offer Walk Score users access to MyNewPlace’s extensive inventory of apartments and rental homes in virtually every neighborhood throughout the U.S.,” said Mark Moran, MyNewPlace SVP of Marketing

From WalkScore Blog

My post today on the OMG Blog.

Postlets Pro Now Free for Everyone!

What changes have taken place since Zillow acquired Postlets in April?

For one, last month we developed the ability for real estate agents, sellers, property managers, and landlords to post for-sale and for-rent listings directly from Zillow to Craigslist — for free!

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the Postlets Pro program is now free. That’s right — we are opening up this program, which was previously a paid, subscription-only program, to everyone, for free!

That means that starting today, all new for-rent and for-sale listings on Postlets are free and will include:

  • up to 18 large photos
  • a rich listings template with multiple tabs
  • the ability to embed community information (i.e. Walk Score, school data)
  • video capabilities

Previously, these enhanced listing features were only available to paying Postlets Pro subscribers.  And, of course, Postlets is still committed to listing syndication, which distributes your listings across 13 real estate and social media websites.

Postlets now has multiple tabs for richer property information

Large photo display of up to 18 photos

Real estate agents, landlords, and property managers, we hope you are as excited about this announcement as we are! Start uploading your for-rent and for-sale listings to Postlets today, and continue to look to Zillow for innovative tools and resources to market your listings and grow your business.

differentiation through great UX - Tigho

This is a great slide show about the future of real estate tech that I had the privilege to see Brian Boyero and Joel Burlem of 1000Watt Consulting present at Classified AdVentures’ Property Portal Watch Workshop last week.

They are insistent up on UX and design becoming more integral to the future of the web, and I agree that search will (and needs to) become more intuitive, taking "the search out of search" as they say.

I might be a bit of a techno-utopian marketer to expect to eventually be served everything that I want immediately from the web, rather than to slog through pages of bundled media and ads, but I don't see the days of the vertical content provider (like AOL or Yahoo) being reincarnated as a cultural norm. Everything is trending in the opposite direction.

Ads are now targeted upon ever-more granular (albeit sometimes invasive) criteria. Social and hyperlocal filtering provide additional credibility to information. And industries will need to build smarter platforms that deliver relevant results to consumers, relieving us from the clutter and confusion that typifies a web search, from an MSN homepage to an apartment-search on Craigslist.

We have moved from the age of uniformity to the moment of the meta-niche and it's about finding yours, individuating your content, and doing it for the customer.

Have New Yorkers outgrown CraigsList? — The Apple, Peeled

Have New Yorkers outgrown CraigsList?

by Honeycrisp on April 20, 2010

The 101 on avoiding the traps of using CraigsList in your apartment search

CraigsList used to be the #1 destination for New Yorkers looking for apartment rental deals.  Nowadays, the venue has become a minefield of pitfalls to avoid, sending wannabe tenants to StreetEasy.  Here’s a bit of a breakdown of how this wondrous list of lists works in the world of NYC real estate.

  • Traffic galore: So many eyeballs land on CL, that it’s almost impossible to avoid the site from a broker’s standpoint.  The sheer amount of traffic that this community gets from apartment hunters is astonishing, with everyone looking to get a deal and find that hidden gem or diamond in the rough.  It’s no wonder that hundreds of ads are posted on the site daily, with frequent double and triple posts of the very same apartment.
  • Ring ring: Brokers clearly try to capitalize on this volume, with their primary goal of making the phone ring. (Note: apartment ads on CL costs the broker $5 – $10, so these are dollars clearly going towards getting business.) Unfortunately, many are trained to do only that: get the phone to ring no matter what.  This means often creating “Frankenstein apartments” for the desperate tenant to drool over: a picture of a bathroom from an UWS 2-bed, the kitchen of a Financial District studio and the roof-deck of a Gramercy condo, slap an attractive price on it and … voila!  The perfect apartment now exists.
  • Inflated Expectations: Clearly, brokers know that no one will call on a $5k 1-bed … the lower the price, the more calls they get.  Everyone is incentivized to advertise only their cheapest deals or else make them up. The result is an inflated sense of the number of “bargains” out there, and therefore a very skewed sense of what is realistic to expect.  So what happens when you call? “I’m sorry, this apartment is rented but I have another 1-bed you will just love.”
  • For rent by whom?: For those of you looking to go the “for rent by owner” route thinking you can avoid all shadiness, ask the voice on the other end if s/he is a broker.  If the answer is anything but “No”, there’s a significant likelihood that the answer is yes, as 50%+ of owner listings have an agent behind them.

So how do you determine whether an ad is real and an agent worthy?  Here is a question-driven litmus test to guide your way:

Question:  Where is the apartment located?

  • Bad Answer: It’s in West Chelsea
  • Worse answer: The landlord prohibits me from giving the exact address.
  • OK Answer: It’s located at on 5th Avenue, between Y and X.
  • Ideal Answer:  It’s at 625 Fifth Ave, Apt. 2C (agents often find it hard to share if it’s not their exclusive listing, though)

Question: Tell me more about the apartment: where is it facing? what is the bathroom like?

  • Bad Answer: What are you looking for?
  • Good Answer:  It’s facing north; the bathroom was renovated 3 years ago and has a stand-up shower (not tub), etc.

Question: What size bed can I fit in the bedroom?

  • Bad Answer: You have to just see the apartment; come to my office to register.
  • Good Answer: If you have a queen, that would work well. Frankly, a king just wouldn’t fit unless you eliminated all walking space.

Question: When is it available?

  • Bad Answer:  I’m not sure, let me check with the landlord and I’ll get back to you.
  • Worse Answer: When are you looking to move?
  • Good Answer:  The tenant’s lease expires in the middle of June and the apartment is available for occupancy on July 1.

If you do choose to conduct your own apartment search, do so with your eyes open and your expectations adjusted.  If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is.  Otherwise, go the broker route if you want to avoid these hassles altogether.

Have New Yorkers outgrown CraigsList?