Technology

Nestigator seeks to change the face of real estate searching

Former executive from Campus Explorer and Rent.com has big plans for startup

Throughout his career, Jerry Slavonia has worked to make finding a home easier. Campus Explorer, a search engine specifically geared toward helping college students find housing, and Rent.com are on his resume — and the next chapter in Slavonia’s career is Nestigator.

The co-founder and former CEO of CampusExplorer.com, former senior executive of Rent.com and the architect of Rent.com’s distributed marketing network launched the Nestigator network this month in what he hopes to be the “next step in the evolution of the moving experience.”

Nestigator has launched and is active in more than 100 markets throughout the nation, with Los Angeles being the flagship online experience the company hopes to mimic across the board. Nationwide coverage is expected in the future, and the company has high hopes to list every home in the nation on its site.

How? By getting their hands on as much data as they possibly can.

The experience of moving is what Nestigator hopes to not only improve, but revolutionize. With information in every corner of the Internet, the team at Nestigator seeks to compile and organize the most important information for the home shopper. Nearby coffee shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment are plotted out on a map so that home shoppers are able to pick the perfect apartment in the perfect location.

Clicking on a property listing brings the user to a page with a brief description of the neighborhood and what style of living is expected there. A neighborhood may be listed as good for shopping, parks and recreation, or sports fanatics. (Currently, the only city with neighborhoods available is Los Angeles.)

“One unique thing is the way the tags are written: poetic and not serious, so they speak to the relevant audience. They give some real character to the region. Another unique feature is the neighborhoods are clickable and defined on the maps throughout the website,” said Nestigator’s PR manager, Fausto Mendez, of Unknownlab.

Take for example, “little shops of awesome” and “life’s a party,” both of which are tags used to describe the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. Mendez expects that these tags will soon be clickable so users can find a place based on the local flair.

The map layout, which can be zoomed in and out to find more units featuring nearby amenities, is integrated with Yelp so users can find the most highly rated entertainment and amenities in the area. Listing pages also feature square footage, price range, in-unit features and more.

Each listing has a button where the user can contact a landlord for more information or an option to “like” the property, which adds it to their favorite list for later.

“To compare homes, open your favorites list, then open two properties in separate windows. In your favorites list, you can write notes or delete homes,” said Mendez. “You might think this is a lack of a feature, but it’s not. For example, a lot of websites program a back button into their actual website instead of relying on the browser’s own back button to do the same thing. This is overkill, and creates complexity. Complexity intimidates.”

The goal is for Nestigator to take the work out of finding the perfect place. They hope that with their platform, people no longer need to do research in a new city or neighborhood.

So what’s next for Slavonia and the team at Nestigator? Creating the most comprehensive database with every U.S.-based home — and then on to listing every home in the entire world.

Email Kimberly Manning.

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