Online apartment search tools are available through a variety of websites nationwide. These websites offer renters access to available listings nearby, and can help reduce the time spent looking for new accommodations. In order to find apartments for rent, applicants must learn how to narrow their searches and use websites that best suit their needs. 

For example, using specific criteria when searching Zillow’s rental listings or other popular websites can help filter-out unwanted results and highlight the best apartments in the area. Tips on how to use these tools and what steps to take when looking for new accommodation can help renters find their dream home quicker.

Best Websites to Find Apartments

There are a variety of websites offering comprehensive apartment search tools and access to extensive databases. With this in mind, your location, budget and personal priorities may impact your decision on which search engine to use. The following websites are just a few of the options available to renters nationwide:

  • Zillow listings allows consumers to view “zestimates” of nearby homes and rental properties. These estimates are calculated using public data and can help renters compare costs and find the best deals in their area. 
  • Apartments.com’s comprehensive search tool allows renters to find properties near their work or based on their commute. 
  • PadMapper draws results from Craigslist, which means renters can cover two databases in one search. 
  • Hotpads also draws results from Craigslist but includes information from a variety of other top websites. Therefore, searches made on Hotpads can give renters an overall view of the best apartment search sites online without having to visit multiple websites. 
  • Rent.com has an entire section devoted to moving. Consumers can find cheap moving quotes, as well as useful tips on packing and settling in. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers rental assistance to eligible applicants. The HUD Resource Locator can help renters learn how to find an apartment in their city and where to apply. 

Listings are typically run through local agencies and subject to availability. Public and privately-owned apartments are available through this service. However, eligibility is based on income and other socio-economic factors. 

Best Ways to Find Apartments

Conducting a thorough search involves more than just entering ‘find apartment near me’ online. Knowing how to utilize apartment search engines and other resources can help yield more accurate results, faster. 

One of the most important ideas to remember is to stick to your budget. When looking for apartments, it may be tempting to see what is available in a higher price range. However, signing a lease on an apartment above your price range can cause severe financial issues down the road. 

You want to make sure you set your priorities as well. While you may want a balcony or garden, the option of having an onsite laundry room may outweigh the benefits of outdoor space. By setting these priorities early, you can find apartments that include your must-haves, and then look for any bonus characteristic once you have the basics covered. 

It also help to take your time, if possible. If you don’t need to find an apartment within a set number of days, take your time and watch the market. Conducting regular searches over several months can reveal trends and fluctuations in rent pricing. Below are a few other tips to keep in mind to improve your search:

  • Move during the winter – Apartment searches conducted during the summer months typically produce excessive results and higher prices. Generally, people are less likely to move during the winter or around the Holiday season, which creates a lull in the market and produces lower rent prices. 
  • View the apartment first – If you find an apartment you like, visit the property and look at all of the features available to you in the building. Viewing a property in person is very different from seeing pictures online. Even the profiles on the best apartment search sites can’t compare to seeing the room in person. By inspecting the property, you can get a better feel for the apartment and make a more informed decision about moving in. 
  • Ask about move-in specials – Some apartment buildings offer discounts to new renters. These discounts may not be included in your online apartment search results. Therefore, it’s worth asking the management team if any offers are available when you arrive for the viewing.  
  • Research lease details – Apartment search websites may not list pet fees, lease terms, trash rules and rent control on their site. When viewing an apartment, ask what utilities are included in the rent, how the parking works, if there are laundry facilities onsite and any other information that may impact your stay and budget. 

Lastly, you want to make sure you use the apartment search tools wisely. If you are looking for an apartment in the center of the city, make sure you reduce the search area to only cover the boroughs you want to live in. 

Similarly, if you have pets or require elevator access, make sure you select these features as part of your search criteria. Different apartment search websites have unique refining features. Choosing a site that has the features you need can help produce more relevant results.