Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a weekly series in which MainStreet spotlights one new smartphone app that can help readers manage their money, shop better or improve their job search. Check back each week to find out how to make your smartphone even smarter!
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Our first thought when reviewing the new MyApartmentMap app was simple: why did it take so long for someone to make this?
The app, based on the website of the same name, combines two key features that we wish all real estate apps offered. First, it lets users view results for apartment listings in a particular area as a list or on a map. It might sound insignificant, but given how important location is when choosing a place to live, the option to visualize it on a map is a great way to hone in on the listings most relevant to you. Other apps and websites like Padmapper have introduced apartment mapping tools as well, but MyApartmentMap goes beyond this by offering on-the-ground satellite views and clearly rating how relevant each listing is on the map.
The feature that really impressed us though is its price comparison tool. MyApartmentMap provides data on the average monthly rent of all the apartments that it lists, organized by area code and room size. So before you agree to visit an apartment, you can figure out how its price compares to others in that ZIP code as well as neighboring ZIP codes, and the app will even tell you historical trends in rental prices for the area.
Our only complaint about the app is that it doesn’t include the useful lists of apartment categories (for example, college apartments and affordable housing) that are featured on the MyApartmentMap website. Adding an option in future updates to filter the results by whether they fall into one of these categories would make the apartment search even easier.
The app is available for free on the iPhone, iPad and Android phones.
Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at Seth.Fiegerman@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.