One app to find them (apartment listings) all

The new app from Lovely allows would-be renters to see the very latest listings on their iPhone and lets them contact landlords with just a couple of taps.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
The new iPhone app from Lovely lets renters see the very latest apartment listings on their device. Lovely

Are you looking for a new rental in San Francisco and finding it impossible to keep up with the pack? A brand-new iPhone app called Lovely just might be the answer.

Launched today, the Lovely app is designed to give apartment hunters a leg up on their considerable competition, in particular because speed is absolutely of the essence in the hottest rental markets these days.

Lovely has had a Web presence for some time and is now available nationwide. But with the launch of its mobile app, the San Francisco startup is aiming to put the very latest listings in people's hands, giving them the best chance to act quickly -- an essential element in getting a rental these days.

For a number of reasons, renters outnumber homeowners in many large American cities, meaning that those looking to find a new rental have to contend with many others for any quality -- or even poor quality -- house. Lovely's app, which lets users search for new rentals based on specific criteria, can push new listings to their iPhone and, with a couple taps on the screen, they can fire off an e-mail or make a call to the landlord.

This is all key, said Lovely CEO Blake Pierson, because data shows that although most rental listings post during work hours, most people do their searching after they get off for the day. With Lovely's app, they don't have to interrupt their workday much in order to see new opportunities, or to contact owners for more information. Ideally, Pierson suggested, the app could fundamentally change would-be renters' searching behaviors without making it harder for landlords in any way.

The app works by showing users a map of their chosen city, along with numbers showing geographic clusters of available apartments. So if there are five listings in one small area, the user will see a number 5 in that neighborhood on the map. The numbers are color coded by recency, making it easy for renters to see which are the newest homes on the market.

Lovely is clearly betting that the lack of an official Craigslist mobile app leaves a wide-open niche in the apartment hunting market. In fact, Lovely gets its data from a number of sources, including 3Taps, a service that is involved in back-and-forth litigation with Craigslist over the use of Craigslist's rental listings. The upshot, though, is that most, if not all, rental listings posted on Craigslist should appear in the Lovely app.