App to help renters ‘Hunt Smartly’

Apr.April 01, 2012 07:00 AM
Finding a New York City rental apartment can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. That’s what Dushan Perera, a 31-year-old Queens native, discovered last summer, when he turned to the popular website Craigslist to search for a new apartment.

The experience was so frustrating that he was inspired to create HuntSmartly, a new smart-phone app that helps apartment hunters sift through the thousands of listings that appear on Craigslist each week. The new product is slated to launch on Apple’s App Store this month.

HuntSmartly aims to organize the sea of capital letters and exclamation points — many penned by real estate agents looking to direct attention to their listings — that greet homeseekers on Craigslist. With the app, users can narrow down the site’s listings, searching specifically for certain neighborhoods, and features like doormen or dishwashers. The New York listings website StreetEasy declined to share its listing information with HuntSmartly, Perera said, but did provide neighborhood rental statistics.

HuntSmartly also uses information from Yelp, MapQuest and even the city’s Board of Education to display information on local businesses, schools and travel times.

HuntSmartly is free (“people are pretty finicky when it comes to paying for apps,” Perera said), so he plans to generate revenue through advertising instead. Perera, who left his job at the fixed-income asset management firm Vero Capital last year to pursue mobile app development, said HuntSmartly was inspired by similar apartment renting apps in San Francisco.


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