House-Hunting Horrors Be Gone

Localize.city brings city-dwellers the “full story” on their prospective apartments

Have you ever secured an NYC apartment, and once you moved in you started to notice issues with the building and neighborhood that you wish you’d known before you moved in? It’s a common problem; no one told you that the streets of your neighborhood flood at the slightest bit of rain, that the area has an above-average burglary complaint and arrest rate, or that your building is currently being inspected for violations of general repairs. Enter Localize.city.

Localize.city is promising to change the way we search for apartments, giving us a building’s “full story” by delivering the information about NYC apartments that brokers and landlords might not tell us before putting down a deposit on a new place.

Steve Kalifowitz, President of Localize.city, recognized that this was something city-dwellers desperately needed when he was on the hunt for his first home. “Why, when I want to buy something like a vacuum cleaner, or go on vacation, there’s websites like Amazon or Kayak who have done the research, recommend the good options and alert me to the problems I may face? When it comes to buying a home, there’s nothing like that, and we are essentially gambling with our life’s savings,” Kalifowitz tells Mann Report Residential.

Thus, Localize.city was born. The company had to start from scratch, as nothing like it has existed previously. “At the most basic level, we had to design a team structure that never existed before: bringing urban planners together with data scientists, economists, and GIS experts,” Kalifowitz says. “Once we had the core team in place, we had to develop unique technology that can solve not only one problem but a wide variety of problems. As we progressed, we attracted some of the smartest minds in high-tech. The best and brightest are motivated by solving hard problems, and ours is one of the hardest out there.”

Since its inception, the company’s artificial intelligence has advanced extensively, allowing Localize.city to compile data at a lightning-fast speed. Kalifowitz explains, “The AI takes in every bit of raw, unrelated data that exists about homes, the built environment, what exists today, what was in the past, and what’s planned for the future. This raw data is processed and analyzed with the hundreds of algorithms we created, working in real-time to produce the full story about each home presented in easy-to-understand language. To achieve this, we had to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists, urban planners, cartographers, and economists. This team developed proprietary algorithms using tools like deep learning, bayesian probabilistic programming, and computational geometry.”

The company, started in 2016, holds information on every building in the five boroughs of New York City. You simply type any address into the mobile site’s search bar and 20-30 insights become available to you, ranging from safety concerns and construction plans to demographic stats, local institutions, and popular activities in the area. Localize.city is continuing to expand, and by next year they expect to be in at least 20 more cities.

Localize.city is taking the residential real estate industry by storm, changing the way people search for a home as they’re now privvy to a lot more information than in the past, and thus more selective. One would imagine this might make brokers’ lives harder, but Kalifowitz promises that’s not the case.

“The real estate industry gets a bad rap for being anti-tech, which we haven’t found to be true at all. I have yet to meet a broker who wasn’t impressed with what we’ve built, and many are already leveraging our insights to help them service their clients better, as well as speed up the sales process,” Kalifowitz says. “Several agents have told me that before visiting homes with their clients, they send them links to Localize.city and ask their clients to pick which places they still want to see after reading the full story.”

With the support of brokers and the encouragement from grateful users who have had success in finding a home thanks to the company, Localize.city has already revolutionized the apartment-hunting process, but they have even bigger hopes for the future.

“People are making the biggest financial decision of their life without fully understanding what they’re buying. Localize.city will dramatically improve this situation. We will soon become the go-to resource that people around the world use to understand what is happening around their home and help them choose their next home. This will make the process more transparent for customers, more efficient for brokers, and overall more pleasant for everyone,” Kalifowitz says.

So the next time your lease is up and you’re on the hunt for a new home, don’t wait until you’re woken up at 6 a.m. each morning to the sound of a new construction project or until you have to run from rats on the streets from your neighborhood’s rodent infestation. Do yourself a favor and investigate a potential home’s full story, dodging all of the bullets with Localize.city.



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