using IFTTT to help find awesome rental housing

Finding good rental housing in Vancouver is hard. A recent study showed that Vancouver is the second most expensive housing market  in the world. Rent is quite expensive and decent apartments or rental houses get snapped up pretty quickly. A dear friend is looking for a new place to move as their landlord has sold the house they’ve been living in. It’s a stressful situation.

Elaine Miller had a bright idea on using IFTTT to keep tabs on a specific search on Craigslist’s Apartments/Housing for Rent boards and drop the results into a Google Drive spreadsheet.

Here’s how you would do this.

  1. Create an account on IFTTT.com
  2. Figure out your Craigslist search. This example is for a 2 bedroom that is less than $1600/month.
  3. Use this IFTTT recipe: searching for what? a Craigslist spreadsheet. A recipe is a simple program that says if a certain condition is met, then do something.
  4. You will be prompted to activate the Craigslist and Google Drive channels. A channel is IFTTT speak for an input or output.Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 8.31.04 PM
  5. Copy/Paste the URL from your Craigslist search. For this example it is http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/search/apa?sale_date=-&maxAsk=800&bedrooms=1
  6. Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 8.31.43 PMGive your spreadsheet a useful name. For this example I’m calling it “2 bedroom $1600”.  Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 8.32.15 PM
  7. Click on the big blue “Use Recipe” button at the bottom of the page.
  8. In Google Drive you’ll see a folder for IFTTT. The spreadsheet 2 bedroom $1600 will be in this folder. New results for your search will show up as a row in the spreadsheet. You can share this spreadsheet with other people, thereby saving your housemate’s time. You also save time (and perhaps the added anxiety) repeating the same search.

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