It’s like Uber, but for finding out if your new apartment will be a nightmare churns through public data to spot potential annoyances

Asaf Rubin (Credit: LinkedIn and Getty Images)
Asaf Rubin (Credit: LinkedIn and Getty Images)

Most New Yorkers know the experience: you rent an apartment only to realize later on that it’s above a bar, in an airport’s flightpath or that a giant skyscraper is about to be built across the street., a startup backed by $11 million in venture funding, is trying to prevent these surprises.

The company launched an app that allows users to look at a building and see any potentially relevant information that can be pulled from public records. The idea is to help apartment hunters make more informed decisions.

Looking at an apartment on East 3rd Street, for example, shows nearby noise complaints, a rat infestation, and the prices other units in the building sold for, the Wall Street Journal reported. Much of the data is compiled by algorithms, the company claims.

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Localize is an indication that the residential real estate industry is starting to catch up with its commercial counterpart, where startups like Reonomy and Ashkan Zandieh’s PropertyIDX allow users to view detailed information on buildings online.

Still, some critics argue that Localize’s data is too simplistic. “It is great if you are 10 years old or under,” Olshan Realty’s Donna Olshan told the Journal.

The company hired veteran DNAinfo reporter Amy Zimmer to head its content strategy. “The company sees itself as telling stories, adding to the conversation of what is happening in the city,” she said. “The way to find a home is to know about the story of a home and the story of the neighborhood.” [WSJ]Konrad Putzier