Yesterday’s email from a real estate broker included a link to ApartmentList.com, a site I hadn’t previously seen, along with the following summary of the site:
Completely inaccurate listing information randomly assigning agents to various listings. Bizarre. I am getting 20 calls a day.
My correspondent hadn’t signed up for the site. “I’m just on it somehow,” he reported. He was disturbed to be receiving calls for properties he doesn’t service.
According to the LinkedIn bio for ApartmentList’s CEO and co-founder:
Apartment List is the world’s fastest-growing apartment search engine that is reinventing the rental market on a foundation of trust and transparency. Apartment List brings millions of listings from around the web into one elegant interface, drastically reducing the time it takes renters to find an apartment.
In my take, Apartment List aggregates a number of garbage dumps into one large garbage dump while undercutting the utility of otherwise useful sites like Apartments.com. Many of Apartment List’s “millions of listings” are nothing but illegal bait-and-switch ads placed by rental services or listings scraped from the MLS – and in some cases, unbelievably, associated with other rental services and brokers who have no apparent connection with them.
Apartment List has ads – they’re not listings, folks, they’re ads – for a number of properties that aren’t actually available for rent, and some that don’t exist. It leads you to believe that you’re contacting management companies when you may be blindly contacting an unknown source. The site’s “elegant interface” maps some properties miles away from their actual location. The site has rental service ads for properties that don’t allow rental services to advertise – along with photos scraped from those properties without authorization.
At Apartment List you won’t find a direct line to the broker who has the exclusive listing for the property pictured above, but you will find the following ad from a rental service that doesn’t have it listed.
Take a careful look at ApartmentList.com, and try to keep from choking on the “foundation of trust and transparency” phrase.
Check out YoChicago’s trustworthy and transparent at-a-glance apartment lists. You’ll find direct links to property and management company websites where you can get accurate information and you’ll find links to reputable brokerage sites where you can search for MLS-listed rentals.