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New Website Aims To Become An Encyclopedia For Condos, Co-Ops

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A new website is hoping to become the Wikipedia of condos, co-ops and apartments. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

When looking for an apartment, buyers want to gather all the info they can gather on a building, and one new site is becoming an encyclopedia of buildings. It's called Condopedia.

"Condopedia is a Wikipedia of condos and co-ops, so it basically covers residential buildings," says Laurence Putnam, founder of Condopedia. "You log on there and you get a page a lot like what you'd expect to find on Wikipedia. It's a lot of general background information on these buildings."

This site is the brainchild of Putnam, a Vancouver-based real estate broker who realized that there is no central library of information where people can get the full story of a building.

"We usually cover about 12 general sections, which includes a little on the background - the history, the construction, who designed it, who built it - some galleries that feature some of the common areas, the floor plans," Putnam says. "Probably the most popular is the trivia section, where you may learn about a famous person that's lived in the building or an historical event. Perhaps it was used in a movie. Something like that that makes the building stand out."

There is also a comment section where users can post information and reviews, something Putnam says is key for any buyer.

"If you are going to spend $50 on a book, you go on Amazon, you read some of those reviews before you spend that money," Putnam says. "If you go out for a nice night for a dinner, you might go on Yelp, you check out the reviews, see what you can expect there. But when you are going to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on a condo or a co-op, you've got nowhere to go. So we give people the ability to discuss and to rate buildings."

So far, the site has close to 300 buildings in New York City, and it's growing fast. Like Wikipedia, anyone can log on and add a building or change the information. The one thing you can't find here, though, is apartment listings.

"That area we don't go into. We don't feature listings on the site because there are so many other people doing a great job of that," Putnam says. "We are trying to tell the story. If StreetEasy is the brains of it, how much, how big, whatever, we want to be the heart of it. We want to tell you the story and the background."

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