Using data to find better apartments in Austin

Posted by Local Logic on Mar 13, 2017 2:08:36 PM

Frustrated with exaggerated listings and overhyped neighborhoods, we built a tool that cuts through the marketing BS to find better listings. Life is guaranteed to be miserable sometimes. Whether it’s exam season, tax season, or I-gotta-start-actually-going-to-the-gym-because-damn-it’s-almost-beach season, there are a few select times of the year that you should avoid at all costs.

The worst though? That’s indisputable: apartment hunting season. In Montreal (the city we’re from) there’s a government-mandated moving day — July 1st — during which more than a hundred thousand people move-in (and out) of their apartments. Moving day is filled with sweaty appliance schlepping, ridiculous traffic, and pizza-and-beer housewarming celebrations.

In a weird way, it’s kind of romantic. And yet the weeks and months prior are filled with mayhem: classifieds sites are filled with eager landlords, Airbnb arbitragers, renters nervously vying to fill their newly vacated rooms, and hopeful tenants desperate to find a good deal.

The steep competition leads to ahem… “inventive” claims about apartments and their respective neighborhoods.

  • Five minutes from a subway station” — when the closest subway station is five minutes away… by jet.
  • “Incredibly safe neighborhood” — when the apartment has only suffered a couple recent break-ins (because which apartment hasn’t?!?)
  • “Near lots of nightlife, restaurants and grocery stores” — when the closest Whole Foods is a half-hour away, and the only restaurant within walking distance is a 7/11 with a rotating hot dog spindle.

We built Local Logic as a way to get instant insights about neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for a house, condo, apartment, or a storefront for your burgeoning wienerschnitzel empire, Local Logic can tell you all the things about a prospective address that normally would take weeks/months to figure out.

  • How accessible is a location by car, bike, walking, and public transit?
  • Are there schools nearby? Daycares?
  • How about public parks and greenspace? Are there lots of trees?
  • What is the nightlife/food scene like? Are there grocery stores within walking distance? Places to go shopping?

In addition to giving neighborhoods a grade on each of these criteria, we also make broader judgements on qualities such as “vibrancy” or “quietness” that help you make quick, reliable decisions about the quality of a neighborhood.

Let’s try some addresses:


933 E 56th St.
North Loop, Austin

Airbnb’s neighborhood guide describes North Loop as an “artsy” neighborhood with great nightlife, dining, shopping and walkability. And by and large, that’s true!

Airbnb neighborhood guide to North Loop

However, not all parts of North Loop are cut from the same cloth. At the easternmost part of North Loop you’ll find 933 E 56th St.810 W 45th St. Technically it’s “North Loop”, but it’s also next to a highway and is surrounded by single-family homes. Not exactly a bumpin’ spot for nightlife. Check out its Local Logic scores:

Well… no big deal. Maybe you didn’t come to Austin for the nightlife. Maybe you came here for the trees.

In that case, your best bet would be to live in Barton Hills. Airbnb calls it a “green and trendy” neighborhood.

Airbnb neighborhood guide to Barton Hills

However, are all parts of Barton Hills as green and trendy as Airbnb suggests? Let’s check:

4024 S Lamar Blvd
Barton Hills, Austin

Pumping this address into Local Logic, we can see that while it has great access to public parks (4.5 out of 5!) it only scores a dismal 2.5 out of 5 for its greenery.

Green and trendy, minus the green and trendy.

For a neighborhood touted as the most “nature-friendly neighboorhood” in Austin, it would be pretty disappointing to line up a spot in Barton Hills — only to discover that this is your view:

Mmmm. So green and trendy at 4024 S Lamar


Conclusion

Neighborhood stereotypes are unreliable. Your prospective apartment might be a diamond in a neglected neighborhood. Or a dive in an otherwise celebrated neighborhood. There is no way to know.

Making any real estate decisions — whether it’s buying/renting or even just visiting — ought to be informed by data, not stereotypes. Sure, neighborhood stereotypes are a much easier fallback than having to visit (and “test drive”) a neighborhood before moving in. Yet with Local Logic, we’ve eliminated the need for stereotypes. No street corner is the same — even if they happen to fall within the same neighborhood boundaries.

After all, what if you’re on the border of 2 neighborhoods? Do you get the cool vibe of the artsy area, the community feeling of the first-ring suburb, or a mix of both? By typing in an address on Local Logic (or one of our partners’ websites), you can instantly assess the qualities that matter to you: transit-friendliness, nightlife, and so much more.

Our hope is to make it easier for you to make informed decisions when you’re moving. We know how stressful it can be. A hundred tabs open at all times, tirelessly searching.

Well guess what. We’re (hopefully) the last tab that you’ll have to open.

Good luck with the hunt.

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Local Logic is currently available in NYC and Austin. To get Local Logic added by default to your local listings site — or Airbnb — request it on our wishlist (the button’s in the top right corner ;)

Topics: US South, All Cities, US

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