So when a developer named Vik Paruchuri and his girlfriend opted to move from Boston to San Francisco several months ago, they studied up about it on Google.
The advice was pretty simple: it came down to being ready to jump on an apartment as soon as you could find the listing.
The problem was, Paruchuri and his girlfriend couldn’t find a source of real-time listings that let them see all the apartments the instant they became available, specify a specific neighbourhood or add other criteria.
Paruchuri, who founded a startup called Dataquest that teaches people to become data scientists, rolled up his sleeves and built his own app that runs as a bot on the chat program Slack.
Many landlords use Craigslist to list their apartments, so the bot grabbed apartment listings the instant they were posted, filtered out the ones that didn’t meet all the criteria and he and his girlfriend had, such as apartments that weren’t in their desired neighbourhoods or price range.
It then dumped the listings into Slack, with contact info, so that as soon as an apartment matching their criteria was available, the two of them would be alerted and could chat about it.
“Using this bot, Priya and I found a reasonably priced (for SF!) one bedroom that we love in about a week, far less time than we thought it would take,” he wrote in a tutorial blog post about the process.
He also shared the basic program on Github, a website where anyone can share or download free software, with instructions such as how to run it on a server to help them find an apartment faster, too.
Although, for those that want to use this for their own apartment hunting needs, be warned, pulling data wholesale out of Craigslist to dump it into another program is against its terms of service, unless you get permission.