Best Apps for iPhone

MyNewPlace Helps Apartment Hunters Organize Their Search

MyNewPlace Helps Apartment Hunters Organize Their Search

MyNewPlace is a website that connects renters with apartments. The site claims to list 6 million apartments in 20 major metropolitan areas so far — including my home town Long Beach, CA. I recently went through the heartache/headache/excitement of finding a new place — I’ve got the boxes to prove it — so, I know first hand how a service like this can come in handy.

MyNewPlace recently released an iPhone app to compliment their website. The MyNewPlace iPhone App is a stand-alone product as it doesn’t have the ability to tie into your online identity. Despite this shortcoming, it’s a useful tool for apartment hunters.

MyNewPlace has all the standards one would expect from an apartment finding app: Zip Code or GPS-based search; results filtered by distance, price range, beds, baths, and amenities; interactive maps to compare, locate and get directions to properties; and click-to-call or email property managers.

In addition there are a few extra features to make organizing your search for the perfect apartment a little bit easier. The Notes & Photos section lets users take a quick snapshot and add a personal note which are then saved directly to the property’s listing. Properties that you tag are saved to your “favorites” for easy reference at the end of the day.

The features I appreciated most are the photos and the maps. When searching through apartment listing it doesn’t take long before everything starts to sound alike. The ability to scroll through photos can help to narrow down your options. After photos, the next step in apartment hunting is the “drive-by.” MyNewPlace can create a map listing all the locations from your favorites so you can easily navigate to your potential new pad and check out the neighborhood. Find something you like? Go to the saved listing and tap the phone number to call the property manager from the parking lot!

There’s no denying that MyNewPlace has a lot of listings. However, for me, this app wouldn’t replace a craigslist search. Many of the listings are of the “apartment home” variety, gorgeous properties with lots of amenities. If this is what you’re looking for, then MyNewPlace will have everything you need. But if you want something a little more off the beaten path, managed by a smaller property company or individual landlord, then MyNewPlace will supplement your current apartment search plan, not replace it.

Because MyNewPlace isn’t likely to be the only place you search for apartments, I wish there was a way to add a listing to my favorites from an outside source. For instance, if I find an apartment I like through a newspaper or word of mouth I want to be able to keep the info in the MyNewPlace app. This would make the app a true information hub for any apartment hunter.

MyNewApp also touts their ability to use Facebook Connect to let users share information about their apartment hunt on their profile pages. This has the potential to be a great feature. I would love to share favorite apartments during the search process and get feedback from friends and family. There’s one problem, though. The Facebook Connect option isn’t available until after you email the property for more information. This seems a little backwards to me and is a real limitation to the viral possibilities of MyNewPlace.

If I had to look for another apartment tomorrow — and let’s hope I don’t — I would definitely use MyNewPlace during my search. It’s not the only tool needed by tech-savy apartment hunters, but it a good tool.

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