“Using Craigslist for apartment hunting is great because there are a lot of listings, but it’s not the easiest site to navigate,” we wrote last year. “Furthermore, there are no extra tools to keep track of who you’ve contacted and what the outcome was. Lovely wants to do just that for you with its apartment hunting app.”

Launching with 285,000 apartment listings, Lovely finally made its Web-based debut across the US last month, covering more than 7,500 cities nationwide. And now, the startup has launched a beautiful new iOS app too.

One of the main appeals of Lovely, in addition to its fairly extensive offering, is that it syncs up with the Web-based incarnation, meaning all your apartment searches are centralized in the big hard-drive in the sky.

How it works

First up, you do actually have a choice on whether you sign up for an account or not…you can opt to just ‘Get Started’ from the get-go, though this means you will lose out on a number of important features, as we’ll see.

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Without signing in, you can filter your search by price, number of beds, whether it has photos included and if the landlord allows pets (well, cats and dogs…no mention of wild reptiles).

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Tapping Google Maps, you can see a broad overview of where all the apartments are based – for example, here you can see a huge cluster in central San Francisco. You can tap or pinch to zoom even further in, where you’re presented with a breakdown of these apartments within more specific areas:

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But the real value of Lovely is, arguably, in the features that are enabled with a (free) account.

For example, you can create shortlists (Favorites) of places that interest you, and it makes it easy to know when your saved listings go off the market. Or, you can set up alerts which automatically notify you when new listings hit the market – if you’ve ever tried finding accommodation in San Francisco, you’ll know how quick off the mark you need to be, so this is a key feature.

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In a nice little addition, you can contact the landlords directly through the app, and also receive in-app directions.

Lovely launched its website locally in San Francisco in October last year, and then in a further ten metros in March this year. In the build up to today’s launch, the company expanded across the US last month and it’s on track to reach 50,000 apartment listings viewed daily by the end of the year.

Lovely indexes more than fifty listings per second behind the scenes, reeling in data from dozens of different data providers – the full list isn’t being disclosed, but it does include Apartments.com and regional brokerage aggregators such as VLSHomes in the northeast.

Lovely was founded in San Francisco by CEO Blake Pierson and President & CTO Doug Wormhoudt, in March, 2011, and is backed by notable angel investors, including Keith Rabois, Benjamin Ling, Walter Kortschak and Thomas Byrne.

Lovely is certainly a very comprehensive service, and I hope it rolls out beyond the US in the future – something we’re told could be a possibility at some point. As for Android, well, there’s nothing imminent but Pierson says they hope to start working on one next year.

Lovely | iOS

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock