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Toronto Apartment Finder

robot

This repo contains the code for a bot that will scrape Craigslist & Kijiji for real-time listings matching specific criteria, then alert you in Slack. This will let you quickly see the best new listings, and contact the owners. You can adjust the settings to change your price range, what neighborhoods you want to look in, and what transit stations and other points of interest you'd like to be close to.

The tool is ideal for people who are looking to find a rental with more than 1 person, since the same listings can be conveniently viewed by all people in Slack, and favourited listings can be tracked.

The project was inspired and based off the work of Vik Paruchuri. Please visit his repo for the original work.

Overview

overview

The apartment-finder works by scraping listings from Kijiji and Craigslist. A package created by juliomalegria was used for getting the Craigslist listings. The package was modified to scrape the first 3 pages of listings, rather than just the first page. I also changed it to use selenium + a Chrome webdriver in order to extract the image urls for previewing within Slack. The Kijiji scraping was accomplished using requests & BeautifulSoup (see src/Kijiji.py).

Latitude/longitude coordinates can be scraped from Craigslist. For Kijiji, I use the scraped address and Google Maps API to get the coordinates, which can then be used for location based filtering.

Each listing is then passed through various filters, including a check to see if it's already been posted, before listing the result in the relevant Slack channel.

Features

Hood

hoods

The neighborhood feature allows you to draw boxes around custom areas of the city that you would want to live in. In the src/settings.py file users can create their custom hoods as shown below. Only listings that fall within these areas will be returned.

BOXES = [
    ("distillery", [
        [43.650516, -79.35236],
        [43.655841,	-79.370513],
    ]),
    ("st-lawrence", [
        [43.644507, -79.370513],
        [43.655841, -79.376349],
    ]),
    ("financial-district", [
        [43.644662, -79.376521],
        [43.649879, -79.387422],
    ]),
    ("yonge-corridor", [
        [43.649879, -79.383602],
        [43.670557, -79.387422]
    ])
]

Distance to Subway Station

metro_dist

The distance to subway feature calculates the distance to the nearest subway station, and sees if that distance is less than the max amount specified in the settings file. The scrub can be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to the hood feature.

Users must define the subway stations and their coordinates, which can easily be looked up on Google Maps.

## Transit preferences
# The farthest you want to live from a transit stop.
MAX_TRANSIT_DIST = 2 # kilometers

# Transit stations you want to check against.  Every coordinate here will be checked against each listing,
# and the closest station name will be added to the result and posted into Slack.
TRANSIT_STATIONS = {
    "st_andrew": [43.647400, -79.384358],
    "osgoode": [43.650754, -79.386718],
    "union": [43.645599, -79.380367],
    "king": [43.648674, -79.377835],
    "queen": [43.652307, -79.379208],
    "college": [43.6613247, -79.3852633],
    "dundas": [43.6552859, -79.3797379],
    "st_patrick": [43.6548307,-79.3905372],
    "queens_park": [43.6598804,-79.3926655],
    "museum": [43.6671223,-79.3956618],
    "spadina": [43.6673568,-79.4059985],
    "st_george": [43.6682622,-79.402047],
    "wellesley": [43.6654593,-79.3860771],
    "bloor_yonge": [43.6709058,-79.3878259],
    "bay": [43.6701472,-79.3928834],
    'dupont': [43.6748551,-79.4092697],
    'bathurst': [43.6666064,-79.4110757],
    'christie': [43.6641199,-79.4205082],
    'ossington': [43.662437,-79.4283647],
    'dufferin': [43.6601077,-79.437617]
}

Commute Time to Work

Similar to the distance to subway feature, this option gets the travel time to your office.

Users must pass in the time they leave for work, their mode of transportation (i.e. public transit, driving, walking, biking), their work address, and the maximum commute time they are willing to have.

Listings that take longer than the specified MAX_COMMUTE_TIME are not posted in Slack.

#time of the day you leave for work
HOUR_DEPART = 8 ## 0-23
MINUTE_DEPART = 0 ## 0-59

## how do you get to work?
## accepts: driving, walking, bicycling, transit
TRAVEL_MODE = 'transit'
WORK_ADDRESS = "5140+Yonge+St+North+York+ON+M2N+6X7"

## longest work commute time your willing to endure!
MAX_COMMUTE_TIME = 90

Enhanced Posts

product_snapshot

I decided to take advantage of Slack's awesome API to create posts with more detail that will give users a better snapshot of the listing.

Enhanced posts include an image preview of the listing. They also include additional information like:

  • price
  • neighborhood
  • address
  • the nearest subway station & distance to that subway station
  • commute time to work

For several of these parameters, I colour code them as green, yellow or red based on their favourability. This configuration is completely custom and is specified in the settings file.

For example, with price, anything below $1500 will be green, up to $1700 will be yellow, and above $1700 will be red.

# True if you would like posts with the image preview, and other parameters
# False if you would prefer simple posts with default description & url
ENHANCED_POSTS = True

# enter the parameters you would like to have colour coded
# there are two types of colour coding methodologies
# 1) "range" will check if the parameter value falls within specified range
# 2) "list" will check if the parameter value falls within a specified list
# 3 standard colours - good is green, warning is yellow, danger is red.
# feel free to swap those out with any hex colour code
COLOURS = {
    'price': {
        'levels': {
            'good': [0, 1500],
            'warning': [1501, 1700],
            'danger': [1701, 10000]
        },
        'type': "range"
    },
    'area': {
        'levels': {
            'good': ['st-lawrence', 'queen-west', 'liberty-village',
                'ossington', 'Queen', 'King', 'Liberty'],
            'warning': ['distillery','financial-district', 'mid-west',
                'Spadina', 'College', 'Downtown'],
            'danger': ['yonge-corridor','bloor-west', 'Yonge',
                'Bloor', 'Toronto']
        },
        'type': "list"
    }
}

The enhanced posts also render nicely in the Slack mobile app.

product_snapshot_mobile

Favourites Tracking

favourites_arrow

Since my girlfriend and I will both be looking at the listings, I created a favourites channel.

In the src/settings.py file I created a MIN_THUMBS_UP variable. Currently, if either of us gives the listing a "thumbs-up" reaction, it will be posted in the favourites channel so we can follow up with the lister to schedule a viewing.

# Number of thumbs up required for favourites
MIN_THUMBS_UP = 1

Keywords

Use regexes to determine if the unit is furnished or a studio/bachelor apartment rather than relying on Kijiji/Craigslist filters.

For future work, the full listing description can be pulled in and parsed for relevant information.

Setup

This package was written with Python 3.5. I have not tested the compatibility with anything below 3.5.

To install the necessary packages, run pip install -r requirements.txt.

You will also need to download chromedriver in order to use selenium for scraping Craigslist.

The chromedriver executable will also need to be in your PATH environment variable. I added mine in my ~/Documents/Programming/Python folder.

You can add it to your path by adding export PATH="/Users/whitesi/Documents/Programming/Python:$PATH" to your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc.

You also need to get Slack, Google Geocoding and Google Directions API tokens and place them in a src/private.py file:

SLACK_TOKEN = 'XXXXXXX'
GOOGLE_LOCATION_TOKEN = 'XXXXXXX'  # (Google Geocoding API)
GOOGLE_DIRECTIONS_TOKEN = 'XXXXXXX'

TODO

  • Craigslist Integration
  • Kijiji Integration
  • Enhanced Slack Posts
  • Work Commute time
  • Parse additional listing info from the listing description
  • Scrape Viewit or other rental listing sites
  • Build a recommender based on liked listings
  • Refactoring
  • Add docstrings
  • Deploy on AWS
  • Turn this into a website (long term)

Questions or Suggestions?

Feel free to log an issue for any questions, suggestions or bugs you come across!

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[really old and probably doesn't work] Slack bot to post relevant Toronto apartment listings from Kijiji & Craigslist

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