The Best Rental Websites for Apartment Hunters (2022)

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by Gina Vaynshteyn

Gina Vaynshteyn

Gina is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats. She recently just bought a house, so she spends her free time googling rugs, accent wall colors, and how to keep an orange tree alive. She used to run HelloGiggles.com, and has also written for places like Health, PEOPLE, SheKnows, Racked, The Rumpus, Bustle, LA Mag, and more.

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updated Jan 14, 2022

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The Best Rental Websites for Apartment Hunters (1)

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Searching for an apartment to rent can be stressful, but we’re lucky we have so many online resources available. Can you imagine having to solely depend on newspapers to find listings? Forget filters or price comparison tools — it would be a struggle just to find postings, period.

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These days, the biggest hurdle is perhaps having too much information at our fingertips. Fortunately, there’s an online rental platform for just about anyone — no matter where you live or what your level of experience is. Here are the best rental websites that offer a wide variety of tools, filters, and intel that will make your search a smoother (and more fun, we swear!) journey.

I ended up using Zillow to find my house rental a couple years ago. It has the most listings and data out of any other real estate site, and even has an algorithm that caters to a users’ tastes and interests, with help from browsing data. While you can use Zillow to rent, buy, or sell, I liked using it to look for a house because it provides useful data on single-family dwellings. Additionally, the Zestimate tool lets you easily compare rentals so you can decipher what kind of deal you might be getting.

Acquired by Zillow in 2014, Trulia is another OG online real estate resource. You can use Trulia to rent or buy a home, thanks to its useful buyer and renter guides. One of Trulia’s standout features is the site’s partnerships with crime-mapping tools like SpotCrime.com and CrimeReports.com. In 2018, Trulia added a new feature that aids members of the LGBTQ+ community around potentially discriminatory housing laws.

Realtor.com is one of the most trusted rental resources out there. Operated by the National Association of Realtors, it only accepts listings from owners and property managers. It has a wide range of filters that help you curate what you’re looking for in terms of pricing, neighborhoods, and amenities, and its listing page gives you scores of of information about different neighborhoods, such as schools data and price comparisons.

Craigslist, a classic online classified ads resource, isn’t specifically for rentals — but it’s where I found four out of five of the homes I rented in California. You can find great deals here because landlords post directly to Craigslist, which usually bypasses broker fees. Plenty of landlords skip the bigger rental sites like Zillow and Zumper and instead opt for Craigslist, which means you can find gems you might not come across otherwise.

On the other hand, Craigslist isn’t as vigilant about vetting postings, so you have to be savvy about who you’re reaching out to. In my experience, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is — and if the photos of the apartment look like they’re taken from another rental site, the posting is probably fake. My rules of thumb are: The listing needs to have photos and an address, and the description needs to be professional.

It’s hard finding an apartment in the city, and it’s especially hard in New York, where the market is extremely competitive and prices are sky high. StreetEasy, which can be used for both renting and selling, is perfect for New Yorkers with specific criteria. You can browse categories like no-fee apartments, trending homes, amenities you can or can’t live without, and more.

Nooklyn is another New York City-based resource, and a great one at that. While the company is a full-service brokerage, its website acts as a neighborhood resource of sorts, advertising apartments for rent, rooms for rent, new residential buildings, and even job postings. Users can search for a new place on Nooklyn, or they can post their available sublets and more.

RadPad is a rental marketplace app that corrals apartment listings in cities across the country, from San Diego to Washington, D.C. The app, downloadable on both iPhone and Android, allows users to map how far a new listing is from their current home, and has filters such as lease duration and “I need a roommate.” Users can connect their RadPad accounts to Facebook to see which of their friends are also using the app to find a new place or roommate.

Renthop gives apartment hunters the standard map views and filters, but what’s unique about it is its “HopScore,” which rates every listing according to a variety of factors like value, the reputation of the management company, and more. “This website created a scoring system to score rental apartments based on their quality,” says Robert Rahmanian, principal and cofounder of REAL New York. “It’s very convenient.”

You can also use Renthop’s price comparison tool, which compares rent prices for similar homes in a neighborhood.

Apartments.com is a go-to for many renters. It offers millions of listings, an impressive range of filters, and a trustworthy reputation. It also has a handy tool that lets you draw search area borders, as well as a keyword search for listings.

The site offers something called the Local Guide, which informs renters about specific areas, along with their latest market trends, top schools, most popular apartments, and more. Furthermore, each listing outlines not only details about the apartment itself, but characterizes the neighborhood it’s in, and what’s around in terms of schools, transportation options. It’s a great resource for people who are looking to move to a new city and need extra intel.

PadMapper is an aggregate rental listing resource, pulling postings from ForRent, PadList, and Airbnb. Its coolest feature is the interactive map, which shows you how many rentals are available the in the areas you’re interested in.

Rent Jungle provides all your basic rental-hunting needs, but what differentiates it from the rest of the pack is that it has a Rent Comparison Tool, which lets you know whether you’re getting a good deal, or if the landlord or managing company is asking for too high of a number.

Abodo is another great rental site that provides some 3.5 million listings to users. The interface is super user-friendly, and right off the bat, it lets you choose what kind of living space you’re looking for, whether that’s a pet-friendly rental, a building with a pool or gym, and more. Abodo provides plenty of filters, as well as a handy mapping tool that shows you listings all over the city you’re searching in.

RentCafe gives you listings directly from top property managers in the area, so renters don’t need to worry about vetting the authenticity of each posting. Apartment hunters can use RentCafe’s tool that shows people a unit’s real-time availability (which is useful in competitive markets, where homes can be snatched up in hours). The site even serves as a management platform—you can use for things like communicating with your apartment manager and renewing your lease.

Zumper is wonderfully easy to use, as it breaks down every neighborhood within a city and then provides you information about the specific locations you’re browsing. This is helpful for apartment hunters who don’t actually live in the area and need a quick and easy download.

While Rent has a smaller selection in terms of listings compared to Zillow or Trulia, it does provide extra resources if you’re looking to save money. Use Rent’s Moving Center to get free moving quotes (you’d otherwise have to call moving companies one by one, and that’s a pain). Rent also has a blog that offers valuable insight on market trends.

Acquired by Zillow in 2012, Hotpads offers users a wide range of search customization in terms of neighborhoods, budgets, and apartment sizes. Hotpads also offers a “For You” section, which locates where you are and suggests properties in close proximity. The site conveniently shows you how many times the property has been viewed, plus nearby schools and unit reviews.

Facebook Groups

Another option for finding properties for rent is Facebook Groups. (There’s also Facebook Marketplace, but the listings there are pretty limited, and you most likely wouldn’t be getting anything you couldn’t find using more established rental sites.) To best use Facebook Groups, search for specific groups that cover rentals in the area you want to move to. (For instance, I’ve used Los Angeles LA – Housing, Rentals, Apartments, Rooms, Sublets.) In these groups, you can chat directly with people who are subletting their rooms, renting out their properties, or looking for a roommate.

Don’t you feel less stressed out already? Happy home searching!

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