Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Best Apartment Search Spreadsheet

Looking for spreadsheets for apartments? Introducing the best apartment hunt spreadsheet!

I’ve created a new and improved version of my Apartment Search Spreadsheet template. I spent countless hours maximizing the design until I was certain I had created the ultimate apartment comparison worksheet tool. Like any other product, apartments also have certain attributes (rents, utilities, community/neighborhood, etc.) that need to be identified and prioritized/rated based on their relevance or importance. The importance of these attributes varies from one person to another. The number of parameters involved (easily in excess of 20 parameters) creates a need for a framework that measures and normalizes the results to arrive at a numerical “score” to simplify the decision making process. An excel-based product was created to organize apartment data, assign weights and finally compute scores automatically for the user to evaluate in order to easily figure out which apartment best fits his needs. So, how does it work?

Understanding Bubble chart and Slider:

I use the Apartment Search Spreadsheet to compare features of different apartments using a bubble chart in Excel. A bubble chart is a variation of a scatter plot where each of the data point in the series is represented by a bubble that can vary in size or color depending on the area of the apartment being considered. Larger bubbles represent larger apartment scores.

The bubble chart in the scoring model uses three values per data point:

  • X- Axis value : X axis represents the total scores
  • Y-Axis value : Y axis represents the total monthly cost
  • Bubble Size : Bubble size is proportional to the total area (in square feet)

The apartment search bubble chart is created by an embedded macro which runs through the score data and adds the bubble series, adjusts the colors and fills effects. The chart needs to be updated every time data is modified in the apartment sheet. Once updated, adjustments to the slider updates the chart automatically. The bubbles can also be replaced with apartment pictures, if available and desired. It is advisable to update the chart manually using the command button provided on top right corner of the chart.

To create Bubble charts in Microsoft Excel:
1.      Select data series
2.      Click Insert, Select the Charts
3.      Select the chart type as Bubble

The sliders are added as:
1.      Select Developer
2.      Click Insert
3.      Select the combo box in the form control box
4.      Use Format Control to Cell Link

Excel Sheet with Weighted Rankings

Weights are assigned for each of these categories based on relative importance/relevance. The slider assigns a number ranging from 1 to 100 for each category. The weight for that category is then calculated as “the assigned number divided by the sum of all the assigned numbers for all the categories”. With this weighting logic, an adjustment to the weight of a category automatically changes the weights of the other categories while keeping the total percentage at 100. The horizontal bars, next to the slider, graphically represent the values set by the slider.

Watch the video embedded below to learn how to use the slider and bubble chart features for apartment rent comparison: 

I have invested a significant amount of time and effort into perfecting the comparison spreadsheet as well as researching the best methods to find an apartment. Included in the download is a free pdf copy of my Apartment Search Guide which contains many tips on searching for a new apartment as well as how to use the new spreadsheet and an apartment hunting checklist.

Thanks, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments
P.S. YOU can earn 75% commission for every friend you refer. Visit our affiliate page for details.

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