Why Does Finding An Apartment Still Suck?

As I search for a new apartment in a new city I am constantly frustrated by the state of the tools available to find a great place.

Craigslist has too many dupes and people don’t take enough photos, there isn’t a comprehensive place for data about neighborhoods, and tools to learn about places to eat, drink, and relax assume you already know where you live.

Why isn’t there a Kayak.com for discovering apartments?

Kayak makes it so easy for me to plan trips that I take for granted how annoying it used to be; constantly flipping between sites making sure I was getting a good deal not to mention the nightmares of trying to build a complex itenerary. Kayak made my traveling life so much easier. They realized the data was out there, but it needed to be packaged up and presented in a human way. They understood how people actually plan trips and built their service around making it way better.

Back to the problem.

Moving to a new city and needing a place, I don’t really know where I should live, which neighborhoods would make me happiest, or what fair prices really are for that area. And it isn’t just the neighborhood, but a combination of the neighborhood and the particular apartment, so you have to optimize for both simultaneously. Great neighborhood + crappy apartment = FAIL. Great apartment + crappy neighborhood = FAIL. You want both, and there should be a much easier way to find the perfect (or near perfect) pairing.

There are sites that try to solve these individual problems: Walkscore.com is cool, and Padmapper.com is nice too, but it is still a ton of work to whittle all of the options down. Even so, I have yet to find a site that ties it all together in a cohesive and pleasing way. I want this service, I would even pay for this service. Please someone build this service.

I would love to hear your war stories on finding a place or ideas on how you would envision such a service working.