I don't know about you, but when it comes to hunting online for a new place to live, I inevitably used to end up with a bookmark list of Craigslist and Zillow pages, which I would then have to sift through and remember by name and sooner or later, it'd become totally unmanageable. Luckily around that point we'd settle on a place, and I could happily delete the bookmark list. This time around, what with moving to a different city and both of us juggling new jobs, I decided an organizational shift in our process was needed.
I love Google Docs, so naturally I turned to that for the new system I was going to create.
I know this might look rather small on your screen, so I'll break down the column headings for you. It goes a little something like this: Address. Link to posting. Contacted agent Y/N? Contact date. Price. # of bedrooms/bathrooms. Neighborhood. Washer/dryer Y/N? Square footage. Notes.
We started out with a pretty long sheet (it goes on below where I cut it off). At one point they were ranked, but as we whittled down the list that fell away. Places that got cut got greyed out, as this helped us keep track when we'd go back to Craigslist and wonder, "Did we already look into that place, or was that a different place on Idlewood?" The links are good for easy reference. The contact Y/N is helpful because sometimes we'll look at something online, be vaguely interested, but not necessarily contact them right away. Likewise, if we contact and don't hear back, we can eventually strike something if the contact date was a while back with no update. We're veeeeery familiar with the neighborhoods of Richmond, so it made sense to include that as a column. Paying X in one place is not the same as paying X in another! Likewise, if it were, say, in the Fan and didn't have a washer/dryer, well, I know the cute laundromat on Strawberry would suffice until we remedied the situation.
Obviously, everyone has different reasons and priorities when it comes to looking at certain places, so to each their own when it comes to column headings. But this whole process has made the slog of rental searching vastly easier for us, and I highly, highly recommend it. It's been a sanity-saver for me, and having the Google Drive app on my phone allows me to access it as a mobile spreadsheet, which is definitely easier than sifting through emails looking to see if I emailed that person about that post, or worse, sifting through Craigslist on the mobile site to find that place you think you remember when out and about.
Now if I could just get the rental that's highlighted in green (well, the one I reaaaally want, I mean -- the other is the backup silver-medal winner; cross your fingers for me, Internet...)...that's the one thing the spreadsheet can't do: grant wishes.
And sorry about the party hat intro. It's just.....you guys, I can't do much else to make a post about spreadsheets look even passably clickable.
*chirp chirp chirp*