If you’re a Millennial who’s looked for an apartment in the past few years, you probably used the PadMapper app at some point. It used to scrape Craigslist and show you all the listings on a map, allowing you to filter for apartments that let you bring your cat and so on. Then there were lawsuits, and now Craigslist has maps of its own.
Still, when you’re apartment hunting — especially in a city with a housing crunch — you’re going to use as many tools as possible to find the perfect (or the least terrible) place. Zumper Inc. knows this, which is why it announced today it’s acquired PadMapper. Although Zumper also has rental listings on its site and app, but it’s targeting a different demographic, CEO Anthemos Georgiades tells Digital Trends. PadMapper is geared at 20-somethings looking for their first apartment, while Zumper is more often used by young professionals who aren’t at their first rental rodeo.
Twenty percent of San Franciscans use Zumper every month, says Georgiades, even though they’re not actively looking to move. It can tell them what rents are like in their neighborhood and around the city. “They use Zumper’s data to see what’s going on in their neighborhood, and do a bit of research before their move,” he says. Zumper has a platform, Zumper Pro, where smaller landlords can list their properties. It also gets constantly updated listing from bigger companies. “We want to get you in front of landlords before anyone else,” says Georgiades.
Searching for an apartment and filtering for your preferences are pretty standard for any rental website. “For us, it’s, how do we take that second half of the entire transaction, where a user comes on, searches, finds a great apartment, and then hand it off to a great experience, in a great, super-easy, complete, mobile-focused booking experience?” says Devin O’Brien, head of strategic marketing at Zumper. One part of the equation is charging users a fee and run the credit and background checks. Georgiades says he wants to make finding an apartment — whether you do it on Zumper or PadMapper — as easy as booking a hotel.
PadMapper will remain its own site, but Zumper’s team has overhauled its app to run faster. It’s also brought some of Zumper’s functionality to the site, while retaining its original features.
I did a search for sub-$1,000 one-bedroom apartments on Craigslist, Zumper, and PadMapper and got back different results on all sites. They all had a paltry list of places, but that probably says more about Portland’s rental market than the sites themselves.