Padmapper.com makes apartment hunting easier
When I rented my first apartment in Vancouver, I simply bought the Vancouver Sun, looked in the rental listings, found a place close to where I worked, phoned the number given in the ad, arranged for an appointment, inspected the place and half an hour later, signed a lease. I won’t even tell you how little I paid for my one-bedroom apartment with the large balcony, open concept kitchen and stunning view.
That was back in 1984. It’s more difficult today, of course, with stratospheric rents for dank, dark, pestilential rooms, landlord vetting procedures that include background checks and personal essays, and intense competition from other desperate wanna-be renters.
But renters take heart. A new website called padmapper.com can make the apartment search much easier. True, it won’t magically increase the stock of livable apartments or lower the monthly rent, but it helps in other ways.
Padmapper.com lives up to its “Making Apartment Hunting Suck Less” motto. The site combines data from Craigslist, Kiiji and other rental posting sites with Google Maps, Street View and Walk Score (which I reviewed several months ago) to help you narrow your search before you set out.
It’s easy to use. Go to the website, enter the street or city in the pop-up window, narrow the search (number of bedrooms, sublets, pets, transit, even crime and walkability) and then click on the Google Map listings that interest you. You can look at a Street View of the address and photos of the listing (if available). A tabbed menu at the bottom of the map lets you see nearby grocery stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, laundromats and gyms. Then, if the rental appeals to you, you can even send an email to the landlord or submit a pre-application.
Oh, and it’s not just for Vancouver. Padmapper.com does hundreds of communities in Canada and the United States. No matter how small the community, if someone’s posted a Craigslist or Kiiji rental ad there, you can look at it on Padmapper. (There’s a house for rent for $1200/month in Pembroke, Ontario, if you’re interested.)
Padmapper.com is so easy and fun to use I almost wish I was looking for a place to rent. Well, maybe not. But if you are faced with that daunting situation, you could do worse than use Padmapper. It’ll make a difficult task that much easier.