ApartmentRatings.com, a Web site that helps renters find better apartments, has put Google on the map – or rather, has added Google Maps.

Renters now have the ability to search for apartments by exploring city maps on the company’s site. According to ApartmentRatings, it is the first major apartment Web site to release an integration with Google Maps API.

Google announced availability of the Google Maps API for third-party developers on June 29. The ApartmentRatings.com maps integration, which launched today, debuts in time to assist renters at the height of the 2005 apartment-hunting season, the company said.

ApartmentRatings isn’t the only real estate entity to integrate Google Maps. Just one example: A new Web site, CostWhat.com, uses Google mapping technology to map properties that recently sold in Cooks County, Ill.

Unlike Housingmaps.com, which displays Craigslist.org postings on Google Maps, ApartmentRatings.com displays maps of nearly 50,000 apartments nationwide and leverages its database of over 250,000 apartment ratings and reviews to help renters locate the best apartments for rent.

Visitors to ApartmentRatings.com can browse apartment listings by ratings, narrow their search to a zip code, and now explore apartments within virtually every city nationwide by clicking a Google Map.

Each apartment is plotted on the map with a pin that has been color-coded according to the percentage of renters who have recommended the apartment community. The company says this makes it easier for renters to spot the best apartments, the best neighborhoods, or the “diamonds in the rough.

“We believe browsing apartment ratings and reviews via maps is a significant innovation that will make it easier for renters to find the best apartments,” said Jeremy Bencken, General Manager of Apartment Ratings.

Apartment Ratings features feedback from tenants on what apartment complexes are like, including rent, parking, noise, maintenance, construction and safety.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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