Long gone are the days when apartment hunters had to carefully scan the newspaper classifieds to find a place to live. Today, any renter can easily access millions of apartment listings through hundreds of digital databases & rental search engines. Frankly, the options can be overwhelming.
You shouldn’t have to suffer through unhappy apartment hunting with a treasure trove of resources out there to help you through the process. So we spent some time sorting through the best rental websites so you know where to look.
At this point, it’s basically common law that finding an apartment cannot be easy. Whether it’s surprise fees loaded onto the final rent, or discovering (at the last minute) that the apartment you love is going to the super’s daughter, you have to be ready for a little disappointment before finding the perfect home. But, you shouldn’t have to suffer through the process. Here are the best sites to find the best apartment rentals.
A clean, clear website that helps those looking to buy, sell, or rent homes all over the nation. While the site is generally more popular with buyers, those looking to rent will also find great features to help in their hunt like extensive search filters. Pet owners will be happy to know that Trulia lets you search to find only apartments that allow four-legged friends, or even limits results by pet size allowed. The site is great for gathering all the information you’ll want to know about a prospective new neighborhood, offering maps of crime rates, schools, subways, and demographics.
If you have a smartphone, the Zillow app is a great accessory to add to your apartment-hunting arsenal. This site sends instant notifications of the latest listings to you based on the search filters you have in place. That kind of speed is key in always-competitive real estate markets. Also, Zillow does a good job of providing photos for each listing and telling users which apartments are from “verified” sources. Fair warning, we recommend you pay heed to the verification status as we’ve seen more than a few fake and/or expired listings floating around this site.
This site is made for rental apartment hunters with extensive lists of properties available in your neighborhood of choice. The best part, though, are the search capabilities: StreetEasy has some of the best filters around, including ones that let you search for specific school districts, the time it takes to walk to individual subway lines, and it even lets you add boundaries to your search. Not to mention the Editors’ Picks where StreetEasy employees tell you what’s currently on their radar.
Then, of course, there’s Craigslist. In terms of sheer number, the classified site is great. (We doubt you’ll ever make it to the end of the pages returned from your search.) And, we’ve all heard a Craigslist success story: that friend who found a place for cheap in the West Village, or the co-worker who found a loft with no brokers’ fee in Williamsburg. But those stories, unfortunately, are few and far between. The site is filled with fake ads that are misleading or simply incorrect, so it certainly takes some digging (and even a little luck) to find that pot of gold at the end of the real estate rainbow.
Apartments. com features an extensive list of apartment rentals, but most of the listing are large apartment complexes. It also offers single-family home and townhome listings. The interesting thing about this site is that it comes with a huge collection of filters, which lets you filter by certain categories such as military, housing, Income-restricted, etc. It also comes with an overlay system that allows you to view transit lines, neighborhood boundaries, local campus, and transit lines while searching.
Drive Around the Desired Areas
Although the internet can help you find the available deals, make an effort to visit the place and see it for yourself.
First, visit the area you want to live in. Stop into small business and local groceries and check for notices in bulletin boards. Stop by apartment leasing offices in person. You never know you might even receive a waived fee or free month’s rent. Go through the latest online reviews of resident or talk with tenants you might meet around the property.