By: Daniel Burt

If you have looked for housing in San Francisco, you are well aware of how overwhelming a task it can be. While the steep and rising prices of rents have dominated the headlines recently, the actual exercise of searching, visiting and choosing a place can be just as frightening.

The arrival of Urban Compass to San Francisco comes as atypical good news for apartment searchers. While it does not solve the problem of the low supply of affordable housing units, it does relieve the stress involved with the apartment hunt.

This New York based start-up, currently serving only the Big Apple, has recently announced plans to expand to San Francisco, Boston and Chicago and offer a more efficient and transparent way for people to find a place that fits their needs. While people in San Francisco have become accustomed to apps to look for restaurants, transportation and even dates, the real estate industry seems to be lagging behind in this area.

The Urban Compass app allows potential tenants to look for apartments based on neighborhood, price, size and other features such as laundry, elevators and the allowance of pets. Once the results pop up, users can see pictures of the apartments and be paired instantly with an agent to schedule an on-site visit. The app allows people to flag interesting properties as favorites and has a calendar to keep track of appointments. The app also offers similar advantages to people interested in purchasing apartments.

Usually an exporter of these types of technologies, San Francisco will be glad to make an exception and receive this service as it continues its efforts to solve the housing crisis.

Accessible from any mobile device, Urban Compass offers a faster and safer way to go about the housing search, compared to other Internet sites. With billions being invested into the expansion of Urban Compass, it is possible we will soon be looking for apartments in the same way we look for good sushi.