When you’re looking for a new apartment, or a new place to live, there are quite a few sites you can turn to for real estate listings. There’s Craigslist if you’re feeling saucy, Redfin, Zillow, Buyfolio, apartments.com, Realtor.com, and Trulia, to name a few. As my colleague Erick Schonfeld pointed out last year, there’s room for competition in this market, and there’s potential for profitability. But not for a clone.
Real estate listings sites can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. It’s also hard to keep track of the places you’ve looked at without creating an external document or leaving sticky notes all over your computer screen, which is why Nestio is trying to be something akin to Tripit for the apartment search — it’s an organizational tool, rather than just another real estate listings app, and therein lies the difference. Launching today in the app store, Nestio is a service designed to supplement listings sites by adding some much needed on-the-fly mobile organization to your apartment search.
A key differentiator is that Nestio enables consumers to save the listings they want to come back to, from any of the various listing service providers, collecting them all in one place. Users send Nestio their listings, the startup adds a sleek interface, and then allow apartment hunters to collect, collaborate, and find out additional information on any particular listing.
And like any good young startup in 2011, Nestio is hoping to deliver a killer mobile experience that goes beyond your average port from website to mobile. Obviously, when one is deep in the apartment or home search, an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile interface with a full suite of tools really comes in handy, though I’m not sure how much of the initial apartment search happens on mobile devices. I always start at my laptop, but of course, once you find places you’re interested in, you get out there to see them live. This on-the-go functionality is important, especially if it can compete with Zillow’s mobile experience.
Thus, in a way Nestio, which is one of the eleven recent graduates of TechStars NYC class, is like your apartment search field journal. It adds functionality to the search process by allowing you to save listings from a host of supported sites, view and edit your saved listings, and add new listings you see for the first time on the go. You can also map out the location of the listings you save, and add notes and photos you snap on site. And all of this syncs up with your Nestio web activity.
Having a personalized, customizable dashboard of saved listings, with notes and photos, is a great feature, and I can really see that being extremely useful during the search for a new apartment. So often you find listings that don’t give you all the details you want, and in turn lack the ability to add content? Before launching Nestio, the Nestio team spent time doing its due diligence and found that consumers were accessing numerous sites in an attempt to find a new place to live, and consistently, the biggest complaint was that consumers struggled to make sense of all the listings. Home hunters wanted a place to manage their top choices, instead of having to create spreadsheets and bookmarks, etc. on the desktop or on paper.
The mobile piece is huge for Nestio, and as the startup provides a supplement to the value of listing services like Zillow and Trulia, there’s something to be said for organizing and calming the frantic process that is the apartment search. Really, the startup isn’t competing with these services, it’s providing the logical extension.
The startup will also soon be adding the ability to share your apartment listings, notes, and favorite places and collaborate on the apartment search with your friends and roommates, which will add a social and collaborative layer to real estate searches that’s desperately needed.