The 8 Best Apartment Finder Websites and Apartment Search Sites
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It’s that time again: you’re on the lookout for a new apartment to rent. But with the number of available units greater than ever, how can you make sure you don’t overlook your perfect abode?

It’s easy. You just need to thoroughly scout the leading apartment search sites. Sure, it’s not a fast process, but it’s one that’s certain to land you the accommodation of your dreams.

Here are some of the best apartment rental sites for the United States and beyond.

1. Rent.com

rent.com map for apartment rentals

Rent.com is an apartment finder site that covers both apartments and houses. All the properties you see are available for medium- and long-term rentals; it doesn’t deal with short-term accommodation or property purchases.

The site has a selection of tools geared towards different types of apartment seekers. For example, there are filters for pet owners, off-campus housing searches for students, a way to find independent living facilities for senior renters, and even military base proximity filters for members of the armed forces.

Some of the listed apartments have 3D virtual tours, but they are available on a case-by-case basis. There’s also a dedicated Moving Centre. It can supply you with free quotes based on factors such as moving distance and apartment size.

2. PadMapper

padmapper listing for apartments

One of the big problems with apartment search sites is that they typically require a property owner or letting agency to list their property directly. Ergo, all the properties are not available on all the domains.

PadMapper offers a solution of sorts. It pulls apartment listings from other companies’ data and plots them all on a map. Sites that have their listings on PadMapper include Airbnb, ForRent, and PadList. Craigslist used to be included but was removed after a particularly controversial lawsuit.

A couple of features are worth mentioning. Firstly, the Drawing tool. You can use it to simultaneously search disparate areas of a map at the same time. And secondly, there’s a way to hide listings that you’re not interested in.

PadMapper has apartment listings in both the United States and Canada.

3. Zillow

zillow listing

Zillow has built its reputation as a must-use website for buyers, but it’s also one of the best apartment finder sites on the web.

Apartment listings on Zillow are incredibly detailed. Yes, there’s all the usual stuff like floorplans and basic features, but there are also plenty of other features that you won’t readily find elsewhere.

For example, it integrates GreatSchools ratings so you can see the quality of the nearby education facilities. And there’s a “Walk Score” and a “Transit Score” for the neighborhood you’re looking at, thus giving you an idea of how easy it is to get around.

Zillow even provides a gateway for you to pay your rent, though not all apartments are supported.

4. HotPads

hotpads apartment search

The Zillow-owned HotPads is one of our favorite apartment search sites.

The site is primarily aimed at urban renters where competition for units is fierce and new listings disappear within hours of going live. To that end, HotPads offers phone notifications for new listings that match your customized preferences, a map search that supports everything from dog park proximity to nearby glass bottle recycling facilities, and a commute time calculator.

HotPads also tries to engender a feeling of trust. It provides landlord ratings, real-time reviews, updates from other users, and verified contact information.

5. Lovely

lovely apartment finder

You may have noticed a trend among the apartment search sites we’ve looked at so far—they all try to stand out from their competitors by offering dozens of fancy features.

But not everyone wants countless filters and endless amounts of information to filter through. If you would prefer a more straightforward apartment hunting experience, check out Lovely.

To begin your apartment search, just enter the city you want to live in; there’s aren’t dozens of questions you need to answer. And property listings are easy to digest— there are a few photos, the price, a list of basic amenities, and a short description.

6. ApartmentGuide

apartmentguides apartment search

Like Rent.com, ApartmentGuide is an apartment rental site that provides default filters that specifically cater to a certain subset of hunters.

With a simple click on the homepage, you can find college apartments, military apartments, corporate apartments, senior apartments, cheap apartments, and luxury apartments in the area where you want to live.

Perhaps the similarities shouldn’t be surprising; the same parent company, RentPath, owns the two brands. The firm also owns Lovely and Rentals.com, showing just how small the apartment rental world really is.

Note: Many of the properties on ApartmentGuide are owned and operated by large management companies. If you’d prefer to rent from a private landlord, look elsewhere.

7. Zumper

zumper apartment prices

Zumper (which also owns PadMapper) is the best apartment search site if you’re particularly sensitive to price considerations.

For example, it is one of the only apartment listing sites which lets you filter for Section 8 properties. For those who don’t know, Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 is a US government program which provides financial assistance to renters from low-income families.

And unlike many of its competitors, Zumper also offers short-term rentals. If you’re planning to spend a couple of months in a city—perhaps because of a work project—the site is definitely worth browsing.

8. Craigslist

craigslist apartment listing

Craigslist had to be included, didn’t it? With localized sites around the world, Craigslist should be able to find you an apartment regardless of where you live.

However, the site has a few issues which let it down. From a usability perspective, the available filters are nowhere near as numerous as those you’d see on a dedicated rental search site.

But more worryingly, Craigslist has a real problem with scam listings.

Remember the golden rule: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never hand over any money before you’ve thoroughly vetted an apartment’s authenticity.

Use Social Media to Find an Apartment

Finally, don’t rule out social media when you’re searching for a new apartment. Sites like Reddit and Facebook have plenty of groups and communities that’ll help you find somewhere to live. You might even be able to find much better deals than you’d find on regular apartment finder sites.

For more information about how to successfully execute a house move, look through the tips on how to find your ideal city based on work and lifestyle Thinking of Moving? Discover Your Ideal City Based on Work and Lifestyle Thinking of Moving? Discover Your Ideal City Based on Work and Lifestyle This questionnaire uses over 300 different metrics to determine the perfect city for you according to your work and personal preferences. Read More .

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  2. Ray
    December 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    You can check out RentHop (www.renthop.com), a nationwide apartment rental website. We filter listings based off of your preferences. Not only do we provide you with the best pricing options, we also use a special algorithm “HopScore” to sort the apartment listings. We take the quality of a listing, the performance of the agent and the freshness of the listing (i.e. how long it’s been in the market) into consideration so it is much easier and faster for you to find the right apartment. Hope it helps!

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  4. Madeline Coite
    March 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Hi there! Total shameless promotion here, but if you decide to update this post in the future, please consider adding Apartminty.com to the list! It really is a different way to search, more of a eHarmony type service that matches you with exactly what you're looking for and it's FREE for renters. We also have tons of great packing and moving tips, city guides and apartment hacks on the blog: blog.apartminty.com. Thanks for listening!

  5. Anonymous
    July 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    For Los Angeles area apartment hunters, LeaseMunky (www.LeaseMunky.com) is a startup focusing on good deals in good areas. There's less inventory than the large apartment sites, but every single vacancy is a good deal.

  6. Don
    January 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Hi Ryan,

    Nice evaluation of some of the top apartment sites. I agree that Apartmentguide.com has a great search and Move.com is very slick. We have made a lot of improvements at RentalsOnline.com but still have a ways to go to catch up. We are also finishing up a new site called ApartmentPublisher.com that will offer a great search and lots of local content for renters to learn about an area before moving there.

  7. Valerie
    January 12, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I really enjoyed your article. All the different apartment sites offer something a little different. I really love this site called Rent Jungle. It's an apartment search engine that takes results from the top apartment sites and puts them on one convenient page. It also has some neat features that I haven't seen on the other sites like a market trend guide and a tool that lets you see if you're paying too much for your place. Here's the link if you want to check it out!

    http://www.rentjungle.com

  8. Eric
    September 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    MakeUseOf has covered PadMapper Map-Based Apartment Search a couple of times before, but I just wanted to mention it for consideration if you ever compile another one of these lists again. It covers the entire US (largely major cities, but lots of smaller cities have listings also), and has an easy-to-use map-based browsing and search interface, with responsive filters, which make it go from showing a bit of everything to focusing on just what you want to see.

    I hope you'll check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

    Eric

  9. Kelly
    September 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for mentioning 4 Walls. We aim to please and are constantly improving to make searching even easier.

  10. Ryan Dube
    February 19, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Govind, thanks for your comment.

    I checked out your site and I have to say it's very well designed. It's interesting to see that you fill a specific niche of providing people who are searching for apartments in the most populated areas/cities of the country with extensive listings. Great work on that. The only drawback, as far as I can see, is that the vast remaining part of the country is left without any listings. However, considering the number of apartment hunters looking for rentals in the areas that your app focuses on - I think you're filling an important niche at Cazoodle. Great site - keep up the good work.

    -Ryan

    • Govind Kabra
      March 4, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for the good words. Given that your interests overlap with our technology, we wonder if you can review our products in more detail?

      Please let me know (pr at cazoodle.com), and I can send you more information, including, ofcourse, our plan for national coverage.

      Govind

  11. Govind Kabra
    February 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

    You should really check out Cazoodle's apartment search engine:

    http://apartments.cazoodle.com

    For your 3rd criteria, #results, cazoodle has far greater apartments than any other sites. Say, for Palo Alto, Cazoodle has over 600 apartments, compared to rent.com's 11, apartments.com's 6, apartmentguide's 16, move.com's 7, etc.

    For your 2nd criteria, Cazoodle actually provides very rich features to filter/sort the results assisted using map overlays, etc.

    For your 1st criteria, not only Cazoodle links to original landlord Website to see all the pictures, it also gives a mashup of streetview, to virtually tour the surroundings of the apartment.

    Try it, and let us know.

  12. Ryan Dube
    February 18, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Mark - thanks for your comment. Keep in mind, the article that I quoted never claimed to be based on traffic (neither did this article) - the claim is the number of times users "checked availability." I'll quote the article itself here for a bit more clarity on what that means:

    "The rankings are based on the number of times renters “check availability” online per property. When rental prospects check availability through VaultWare powered websites, they see current rental pricing and availability versus filling out an email form to request this information. Checking availability is typically the first step in the rental process after viewing the property online."

    Thanks again,
    -Ryan

  13. Mark Moran
    February 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Hi,
    The original article you quote is based on the largest sites that have integrated a particular vendor's software, and is not based on traffic. Using any Compete, ComScore, Hitwise or whatever your favorite traffic measurement tool, you'll find that the top 5 apartment sites in Jan'09 were:
    1) Rent.com
    2) Apartments.com
    3) MyNewPlace.com
    4) Forrent.com
    5) ApartmentGuide.com

    Thanks,
    Mark Moran
    MyNewPlace.com