PadMapper makes apartment hunting less awful, almost fun. It does this by plotting the apartments on a big map, and letting you filter for exactly what you want. There are also neat overlays to help you learn about the different areas.
My goal with PadMapper is to make apartment hunting into something people no longer dread. It shouldn't have to be harder than buying a car. You shouldn't have to deal with slimy people. You shouldn't have to make big Excel spreadsheets to keep track of what you've seen and what you think. Landlords should respond to your emails, and once you move in, you should be treated well. I'm going to help make it that way.
I was looking for a place with some friends in NYC in the summer of 2008, and it ended up taking us 6 months. This was our first time, so we got scammed more than once by brokers and shady landlords.
In between scams, I sifted through thousands of Craigslist listings, and it was getting to the point where I was losing hope. It was like wading through my spam folder trying to find real emails. I'd click and read each listing, only to find out that it was in a bad location, or it looked like a slum, or there was a toilet in the kitchen, or it was too "cozy" to fit a double bed.
So, I ended up writing what became the first version of PadMapper to do most of the sifting for me and generally make the hunt better. I've used it and the iPhone app in 3 apartment hunts since then, and it has found me a place quickly each time.
I hope it helps you and your friends find a great place to live. Good luck with your hunt!
If there's anything that confuses you, or you see any bugs, please email me at email@example.com. Feedback really helps - user feedback is the reason PadMapper is what it is today.
If you'd like more information, check out the blog. Here's a text-based browsing alternative (though it's more cumbersome): Sitemap