Apartment search startup Lovely is launching its iPhone app today — the company’s first mobile product.
Co-founder and CEO Blake Pierson said the service helps young apartment hunters in “supply-controlled” markets like San Francisco. When you’re looking for an apartment in one of those cities, Pierson said, “You need to be on the hunt the entire time,” not just when you’re at your computer. That’s why mobile is particularly important.
Pierson gave me a demo of the app last week. It replicates many aspects of the Lovely desktop experience, except redesigned for a smaller screen and quick interactions. You can enter your search criteria and open a map showing listings in your area, color-coded to indicate their time on the market (so if you want, you can focus on the most recent listings, since they’re the most likely to still be available). You can tap to call or email landlords directly.
And tying in to Pierson’s always-be-searching credo, you can create alerts tied to a specific neighborhood and price range, so that you receive a push notification whenever a new apartment matching your criteria gets listed. Those alerts were also available on the website, but they’re more powerful on the phone, making it easier to act on listings as soon as they go live, no matter where you are.
The Lovely app also integrates with your account on the desktop website, so you could create a list of Favorites while searching on your computer, then browse the list on the phone when you’re actually visiting apartments. (Oh, and you get an alert if one of your Favorites goes off the market.)
Pierson added that whether viewed on desktops or phones, Lovely’s innovation comes on two fronts. First, it aggregates apartment listings from a number of sources — as of its national launch last month, the site had 285,000 listings from two dozen data partners. And it tries to present that data in a way that’s most useful to the intensely competitive apartment search that many city dwellers face today.
To make money, Pierson plans to launch premium features for the owners of larger apartment complexes, especially in cities where the competition among renters isn’t quite as intense.
You can download the iPhone app here. Lovely also has plans for an Android app, Pierson said, but he declined to get specific about the timing.