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Apartment searching in SF sucks

We’ve spent the past two weeks trying to find a new home (which, by the way, will end with triumph tomorrow when drop off our signed lease) and the whole process has sucked. Apartment hunting is an antiquated process that hasn’t progressed much beyond moving classifieds online and for free.

  • Many listings don’t do a consistent job of answering common questions and providing reliable information about the property.
  • There’s nothing to guarantee the transaction against scams, and difficult to contact them in order to transact.
  • Landlords have to keep on posting in order to stay relevant, and on the top.

It would be helpful to see a listing service that could be filtered by property, and provides a form to fill out that shows information consistently. Landlords should be able to add events for their open houses, and you could browse all the available open houses on a given weekend to show up instead of painfully cobbling them together and planning an itinerary. I’d also like to see comments and content on listings, so if the landlord doesn’t put up the greatest photos, maybe other people will. I guess an ingenious mashup could solve some of these problems, like HousingMaps, but the inconsistency is frustrating. Hasn’t anyone done a good job on this before? Unfortunately, Craigslist is the only reliable source I know of for fresh postings from private landlords — which is what you almost certainly want to look for in San Francisco.