Finding the perfect apartment can be a real pain. Trust me, I just spent four months doing that exact thing. You end up looking at specific features, making calls to see availability, and doing tours to see if that’s a place you want to live. It can be daunting and overwhelming. Where do you start? Try these apartment search tools to get your search started!
First up is the most obvious one and that’s apartment.com. It’s one of the most recognized apartment websites on the planet. It’s the most frequently updated and typically has most of the apartment complexes in your area. You can search by city, state, and zip code and sort by bedrooms, bathrooms, and price. The descriptions and floor plans are easily accessible and sending emails or making phone calls is pretty easy to figure out. It’s where every apartment hunter should start.
If you think this doesn’t work, then take it from someone who has tried it. I found my current apartment on Craigslist. You can find some decent selections on Craigslist that you can’t find on other sites. This is especially great for stuff like condos and very small, independent apartment complexes because they don’t want to go through the trouble of signing up for the other websites. You should always be weary of scammers but a good way to make them prove they are who they say they are is to simply meet up with them at the property. If they’re unable to, they’re probably scammers. Otherwise, you can find some amazing diamonds in the rough on Craigslist.
Hotpads is kind of a mix between Craigslist and Apartments.com. It has all of the main places like you’d find on Hotpads but it also has a lot of the smaller, out of the way, and independent places that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere. It also features a map-based interface so you can browse around in the area you want to live. You click on the building icons and see quick stats and contact details. This is a great way to see things on a wider perspective.
If you want to view Craigslist places but don’t want to use Craigslist bland interface, give LiveLovely a try. It’s another map-based website like Hotpads that lets you see places on a map rather than a list form. It sources information from Craigslist and also lets propery managers and owners sign up and post their stuff. It comes with a number of other features like the ability to pay your rent online, receive alerts, and messages. It’s a very robust site and worth checking out.
Trulia is one of those all-in-one property sites. You can search for houses or apartments for rent, properties to buy, and pretty much everything else property related. It offers more options than other places because it also shows places that you can buy but since you’re likely looking for just apartments, those other features won’t matter. You can save places on a favorites list for future reference, contact properties, and sort by a number of categories. Don’t forget to try their crime map beta to see if the neighborhood you’re moving into is safe!
Zillow is pretty much Trulia’s direct competitor so it should also be included on the list. I actually liked Zillow a little better than Trulia because it felt like a more comprehensive experience. It has pretty much all of the same features but like every site on this list, there always seems to be a few places that the others missed. They’ll even be so kind as to let you know when property owners trip red flags that could mean that they’re scammers and that’s always a nice feature to have. It also includes such features as integrated Walk Score scores, estimates on how much the property is worth, and other information.
This place is the Google Search of apartments. It has over 12,000 websites indexed so when you search on Rent Jungle you’re actually searching pretty much everywhere. There are some places that won’t show up like the independent places that only post on Craigslist or newspaper ads, but otherwise you’ll probably be able to find it here.
Walk Score is kind of a dual purpose site. You use it to see if the apartment you want has a good walk score. This essentially measures how much you can do within walking distance. Some people don’t mind driving everywhere but there’s something to enjoy about being able to walk places. It also has an apartment search tool that allows you to search based on, you guessed it, walk score.
For Rent offers similar features and reliability as Apartments.com and includes one of the nicer interfaces that we’ve seen. They make it very easy to contact the property management so you can get information you need. It’s a sleek interface and it has most of the options you’d find on these other sites.
PadMapper is one of the original sites that lets you search for your perfect apartment on a map view. It features easy-to-use sliders to filter your results until you find the ones that you’re really looking for. It also lets you search for individual rooms for rent, sublets, and vacation housing for those of you looking for something a little different.
Last and certainly not least is My Apartment Map. This awesome website lets you search using a variety of filters. You can search based on what pets you want, what amenities you may need, whether or not the apartment is furnished, and more. A fun strategy is to find a good number of apartments on the other sites then narrow them down further using the search on this site.
Apartment hunting is a rough process. You’re looking for a place where you’ll be spending a good percentage of your life. You need a place that’s best for you in terms of finances and the amenities you need. Having the right tools will only get you so far and there will come a point where you just need to go with the place that feels right for you.
Featured photo credit: World Property Channel via worldpropertychannel.com