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Apartment rentals in the United States have reached unprecedented levels in recent years, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. Still, finding an apartment in a decent location with all the right amenities remains an intimidating challenge. What is the best website to find rental apartments? Let’s take a closer look at five top websites and determine which one is truly the best.
Rent.com has listings for apartments and houses, but it doesn’t cover short-term rentals or commercial properties. People looking for long-term rentals will find many impressive details, including filters for pet accommodations, fitness centers, laundry facilities and other crucial amenities. You can also narrow your search down to these specific features:
- Customized price range
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Type of community, such as off-campus housing and senior living
The website has a convenient, scannable layout with listings on the left side and a map on the right. As you zoom in on the map, the listings automatically change to make your search easier. All listings have HD images of the available room(s) and the building’s various amenities. The most high-quality listings also have 3D virtual tours.
Rent.com automatically highlights the listings with ongoing deals and discounts, so it’s one of the best websites to find cheap rental apartments
Apartments.com is perhaps best known for having Jeff Goldblum as a celebrity ambassador, but it stands out from its competitors because of its emphasis on renters’ rights. The help center has great resources for struggling renters and the contact information for each listing is thorough and transparent.
It has a wider target audience than Rent.com, as it caters short-term and long-term renters alike. The listings have all the expected information, including monthly rent, square footage, floor plans, etc. The projected move-in date is also a nice touch, especially for people looking to change locations quickly for work or school.
The website’s layout is flipped, this time with the listings on the right and the map on the left. Each listing has a virtual tour with indoor and outdoor images, but not all of them have videos. Some listings also have detailed descriptions of the apartment’s culture and nearby attractions.
Zillow.com is a real estate website that focuses on the state of local housing markets as well as specific listings. It provides detailed market insights and predictions to help people find the most affordable homes and apartments. That means the number of listings exceeds most of its competitors. If you want all of the options, Zillow is the best website to find them.
Due to the number of listings, Zillow allows you to set extremely narrow search parameters. You can narrow it down to condos and one-bedroom apartments with unique floor plans. Each listing also includes helpful information about the price history, nearby schools, the neighborhood and legal protections you would receive.
PadMapper.com is all about maps, as the name suggests. It shows apartment listings just like the other websites, but there’s a lot more emphasis on location. It discusses the neighborhood, access to public transportation, local attractions and other helpful information about the community.
PadMapper also shows listings from other websites, including Apartment Guide, ForRent and Airbnb. That means you might run into older listings with outdated information or lots of short-term rentals. It might be the best website to find rental apartments based purely on location, but if you’re looking for the newest listings, other sites might be better options.
ApartmentGuide.com has a generic layout at first glance, but more unique features get revealed as you navigate the site. First off, the search function allows you to include custom keywords. Other sites have searches for specific types of apartments and locations, but Apartment Guide also allows you to make factors like air conditioning and pet availability your number one priority.
This website’s virtual tours also stand out from competitors. A higher percentage of listings have video and image tours, and some even allow you to connect with the property manager via Zoom or FaceTime. If you’re skeptical about scams and inaccurate listings, Apartment Guide is the website for you.
ForRent is great for finding the small details about different apartments in a chosen area. Using their features, you can get details about nearby businesses as well as photos, videos and virtual tours of the unit you’re looking to explore.
The website also has a built-in calculator that allows you to determine how much you can afford to pay monthly for rent, which eases some of the stress of budgeting and apartment hunting.
ForRent also has a Spanish translation built into the page making it more accessible to a larger group of prospective renters and landlords.
Google is a great place to find niche options that are only advertised locally. While many landlords advertise on rental websites, that isn’t always the case. Google allows you to find great apartment listings that you would have missed when sticking to the standard websites.
You can enter keywords about the type of apartment you want, number of bedrooms, amenities and where you are looking. The engine can provide you with websites for specific apartments websites where you can view images and get contact information.
Google is also a good place to find reviews from former renters, so spend some time looking through reviews for apartments you’re interested in. They may change your mind about an apartment or give you things to look out for when speaking to landlords or touring apartments.
Zumper is a website for people who want to be thorough but not overwhelmed by options. When you pull up the website, it first asks you what city you’d like to live in. It then lets you decide whether or not you need a short-term or long-term lease. You can then enter your preferred bedrooms and bathrooms as well as your budget.
It asks you these questions one at a time so you can focus on each aspect of the rental process. Once you’ve completed the questions, it will provide you with a list of apartments that meet your criteria along with the map to show you how their location compares. Zumper does all the hard work for you, taking away some of the mental spiral that comes with apartment hunting.
Which Website is the Best?
So, what’s the verdict? Which of these options is the best website to find rental apartments in your area? Based on our observations, the best overall website goes to Zillow. It has most of the same apartment information as the other sites, but it also provides helpful real estate market insights to keep buyers informed.
Still, other sites are better in specific categories. For example, PadMapper has the most comprehensive maps. Apartment Guide has the best filters and virtual tours. Each site brings something to the table that may be valuable for your needs.
Find Your Next Living Space
Searching for a new apartment is stressful, especially if you’re pressed for time and/or have a limited budget. These five websites will help you find your next living space with the right location, price range and amenities. Zillow might be the best overall, but another site might suit your needs better. You won’t know until you try!