The cost of renting an apartment increased 31% year-over-year in 2021! With such eye-popping increases, finding a good value for your monthly payment is becoming more and more difficult. Most apartment shoppers opt to use more than one real estate website or app to compare inventory and options in order to ensure they find the best deal in the best location.
Apartment Rental Sites
Luckily, there are dozens of fantastic apartment and rental websites - whether you're looking to rent a new apartment, a single family house, a condo or a studio - you'll be able to find the right fit with one of these websites. Check out our top picks to help you manage your search:
June operates primarily in large cities, catering to a diverse clientele that includes young professionals, students, and those in need of temporary housing. The platform offers a range of benefits such as short- and long-term rentals, flexible furnishing options, 3D tours, and pre-approval features.
Apartments.com is one of the largest apps in terms of downloads and users. It offers millions of listings, an impressive range of filters, and a trustworthy reputation. It also has a convenient tool allows the user to draw search area borders, as well as a keyword search for listings.
The site offers a "Local Guide" feature, which informs renters about the latest market trends, top schools, most popular apartments, and more.
RentCafe is one of the largest apartment websites, offering renters all over the country a convenient and efficient experience when browsing for apartments. RentCafe offers access to multiple filters to curate the apartment search, varying from price and size to pet-friendliness, amenities, rent specials, and so much more. Using their e-commerce style compare tool, renters can see side-by-side descriptions of up to 3 apartments, which makes finding the best option very comfortable.
RentCafe takes all the steps in a rental process online, so from finding the apartment to contacting the landlord and signing the lease, all things can be done on the platform. Plus, the RentCafe blog offers informative articles and guides for renters, as well as detailed reports about the rental market and various issues in real estate.
Zumper has a simple, modern user interface, is easy to use and breaks down every neighborhood within a city. It offers national coverage, without many banner or display ads. It's a good option if you want basic search and filtering capability, without all the extra bells and whistles. It also shows amenities nearby like public transportation in popular cities.
Zillow is well-known as the biggest portal for shopping real estate to buy. But Zillow is also used by property managers, Realtors and apartment shoppers. They have tons of different filter and criteria options, plus their Zestimate tool lets you easily compare rent prices so you can determine if you're getting a good deal for the property.
Compared to other sites, Zillow is best suited for finding single-family homes for the same cost as an apartment. The "Zestimate" also allows users to easily compare the prices of the rentals and estimated home values. The app also has a messaging interface that help you make information requests from the listing page.
Realtor.com is one of the larger sites and also has a very good mobile app. The business is a partner of the National Association of Realtors and all of its listings are syndicated directly from local MLS (multiple listing services). So, you'll also be able to shop for condos and other styles of properties other than apartments.
Many users feel that it reflects the most accurate listing and property data versus some of the other apps, helping you save time and avoid searching on multiple apps.
Craigslist is well-known for selling and trading products, but is also a unique place for finding apartment listings. There are many "mom and pop" landlords that have used it for more than a decade and avoid listing through a Realtor or on a big site like Zillow. The listing detail and photos are not a curated or user-friendly as the other apartment apps, but it's definitely worth checking out when shopping for a new place.
RadPad offers a few unique features that other apps don't have. For example, it has a lease duration filters and an “I need a roommate” setting in addition to basic search for number of rooms and baths. Users can connect their RadPad accounts to Facebook as a way for social proof when meeting a prospective roommate.
While Rent has a smaller selection in terms of rental 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 that saves you time versus calling moving companies one by one for quotes.
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 recommends properties nearby. The website displays many times the property has been viewed, giving you a sense of how popular a property might be.
Local Facebook Groups
A great option for finding properties for rent is Facebook Groups. You can search for local groups that advertise homes for rent in your area. One advantage is that you can generally direct message the people who are renting their properties.
Apartment Finder is another good option that provides you with a comprehensive inventory of nearby, popular apartments and corresponding offers for various cities.
Lastly, you can search for top property managers and find apartments through large rental networks like Invitation Homes and Progress Residential. These companies focus more on renting single family houses, rather than apartments.
Renting vs Buying a Home
In general, you should make the choice based on your lifestyle, credit score, ability to make a down payment. If you're located in a market where the average home values are not substantially above the nation average, buying a home could certainly be the wise decision. To get started with buying, get pre-approved for preferred mortgage rates to see if you qualify to buy a home.
Apartment Rental Deals & Discounts
There are a ton of communities that have their own self-managed apartment websites where you may be able to find great deals that don't appear on sites like Zillow. Be sure to do a map search to find nearby apartments and check their individual websites for special pricing and to browse the most up to date inventory.
Many communities even offer discounts if you secure a unit through their website, rather than a search portal and offer an interactive map of the community that you may not find on search portals. Keep in mind, the landlord and property manager's goal is to fill vacancies, so it's worth asking for a one-off, special discount if vacancy is high.
You can also often get a special rate if you can make rent payments online. Many apartment communities require online payment, while others offer discounts for paying online.