When the time comes to find a new apartment, searching for the right place at the right price can take up a good deal of your free time. With millions of rental properties across the U.S. to choose from, how do apartment seekers know they’re finding the best options out there from the sheer number available? You may fear missing out on good options just because you don’t know the best places to look for apartments.
But, if you know the right places to search for apartments, you will find the cream of the crop.
Where to look for apartment listings, from rental websites to word of mouth
Thanks to the convenience and accessibility of the internet, you can search for your next apartment anytime, anywhere. But, there are plenty of other excellent places to look for apartments that fit your price range and lifestyle.
Nowadays, the internet is our go-to for pretty much everything. That makes it the best place to look for apartments.
Using any internet search engine, do a keyword search for “apartments in [your city].” Add descriptors like the size of the unit or amenities like pet-friendliness or having air conditioning.
Use the search filters to look for the most updated listings, and voila! Scroll through the search results to see what catches your eye and branch out from there.
Apartment rental sites like Rent.
Apart from a straightforward internet search, using apartment search sites like Rent. is one of the best tools in the apartment hunters’ arsenal. These easy-to-use sites show renters tons of rental options within a certain area, with customizable options to hone your search.
Starting with the home page, type in the name of the city or place you’re looking to rent. The site directs you to a listing page full of available apartments and units. As landlords and property managers can post listings directly, you have easy, instant access to hundreds of units all in one place.
The best rental websites also have map views for more precise apartment hunting. The map view feature allows you to zoom in or out to focus on specific areas or expand your search radius.
But, the apartment finder site often has hundreds of units to scroll through. How do you hone your search? On a banner near the top of the page, you’ll find multiple-choice fields. These allow you to customize your search. You can look for apartments by price range, unit size, square footage or amenities. You can also search by disability access or income-restricted housing.
Highlighting the amenities that are the most important to you is one of the best ways to weed out undesirable apartments or focus on luxury properties. For pet owners in search of dog-or-cat-friendly units, there’s an option for that. You can also search by whether or not it includes utilities, if units come with air conditioning or if the complex has parking. Once you update the search filters with your filtered options, you can do price comparisons and compare the best features.
Apartment search mobile apps
If you’re always out and about, many apartment finder websites now have rental apps, allowing you to search for apartments on the go.
Simply download the app, put in your search criteria and let the hunt continue no matter where you are.
Community gathering places
Go analog by checking the notice boards at community spaces. Libraries, gyms, parks, grocery stores and other gathering places often have notice boards for local events, businesses and even available apartments. Smaller landlords in your community sometimes post adverts looking for new tenants. This is also a great way to find short-term rentals.
If you’re in a new city, searching these boards is another way to learn more about your new home and connect with the community.
Real estate websites
Real estate websites aren’t just for buying anymore. Many now have separate sections for rentals, offering similar customizable search features.
Since lots of people don’t realize they can look for apartment rentals on a real estate website, that gives you an edge. You may find that the site offers new listings unavailable elsewhere online, giving you a step up in applying first.
Online neighborhood groups
If you’re seeking rentals within a specific neighborhood, see if the area has an online group you can join. Social media sites like Facebook have neighborhood community groups where residents can interact.
Whether you’re new to the area or a long-term local, add a post asking if there are any available apartment rentals. Just be sure to not give away too much personal information.
Property management companies
Large management companies often have their own website where they share available listings in their buildings. If there’s a particular operator you’re interested in renting from, go to the managing company’s website to see if they have anything posted.
Apartment complex websites
If there’s a particular apartment complex you’re interested in living in, you can look directly at their website, as well. Along with photos and information about the unit size and square footage, the listings will include how much rent is for different-sized apartments.
Newer apartment buildings will often have multiple units available and sometimes, have special deals to celebrate their opening.
Ask your landlord or property manager
If you’re happy with your current landlord and living situation but are looking to upgrade your apartment size, ask the landlord or property manager if they have any other units available.
Sometimes, landlords and property managers own or operate multiple apartment buildings. If you’ve had a good experience renting from them in your current unit, ask if they have similar apartments or other buildings you can look at.
Like a real estate broker, a rental broker holds your hand and guides you through the apartment search process. Taking your list of requirements, they look through all the available search options to bring you a curated list. They can direct you to listings you may otherwise have missed, narrow down your options and ultimately help you save money.
With them doing all the grunt work, working with a rental broker is also useful if you’re in a time crunch or moving from far away and can only do video tours.
Unlike real estate brokers, though, rental brokers can earn compensation from landlords or management companies for bringing them new tenants in the form of referral fees. If the broker comes well-recommended, you’ll know that they only partner with respectable, top-quality landlords.
Ask friends and family
Who can you trust more to give you honest advice or feedback than your loved ones?
Whether you’re moving cities or moving neighborhoods, ask family and friends in the area if they know of any apartments available for rent. You trust their word and they can direct you to some good finds.
Tour prospective neighborhoods
If you have a specific neighborhood in mind you’d like to live in, scope it out in person to see if you find any “For Rent” signs. Exploring a neighborhood in person also gives you a better sense if you’ll be happy there or not. You can also check if it has all the amenities you need like nearby schools or public transportation.
Reading neighborhood guides in magazines and websites will also give you a good sense of what the area has to offer. These informational guides give you an overview of the area, with practical information, such as its walk score and if public transit is nearby. But, it’ll also list fun benefits of living in the area, like cool restaurants, stores and neighborhood activities.
What to look for in a new apartment
Every renter’s needs are different, so what exactly you need in an apartment varies by person. But there are some things all worthwhile apartments should have in common. You don’t want to pay rent for a unit that’s in bad condition or unsafe to live in.
Here’s what to look for in each apartment you visit during your search:
- The entire unit is clean and in good condition, with no mold, mildew, water stains, peeling wallpaper or other signs of neglect
- The appliances function properly (stove, fridge, oven, etc.)
- Water runs properly in the showers, sinks and toilets, and hot and cold water options work
- The electrical outlets work
- All doors and windows properly close and lock
- Functional heater and AC
- Check for signs of rodent infestation like chew marks or droppings
How to stay organized during your apartment search
As you look through all the apartment search sites during your apartment hunt, you need to keep track of all the rental listings you like. Otherwise, you could forget where you found that one listing that was just right and miss out on applying in time.
As you find apartments that catch your eye, save listings in your bookmark tab. You can also organize them in a spreadsheet or word document with direct links for easy access.
This can also help you weed out duplicate listings if landlords list properties in multiple places, as well as share your finds with your roommates or live-in partners.
When should you start looking for your next apartment?
It’s a good rule of thumb to start your apartment search one to two months before your expected move-in date.
There are several reasons for this. First, you’ll need to give notice that you’re leaving your current apartment. Some landlords require that you give notice 30 days before vacating, others require 60 days. Check the terms of your lease agreement to know exactly when you need to notify your landlord that you’re leaving.
Secondly, you don’t want to start your apartment search too soon. If you find a unit you like but your move-in date is too far away, the landlord may not hold the apartment for you. A couple of months gives you ample time to search and apply for your new home.
Be prepared when you find the best apartment for you
Good, well-priced apartments go fast in today’s competitive rental market. As you’re searching for your new apartment, it’s a good idea to have all the documents and information you need to apply ready to go. That way, as soon as you find an apartment you like, you can apply instantly and start the process.
Using the best apartment rental sites gives you an edge in the apartment hunt
Giving you the most listings in rental markets all over America, Rent. helps you find the best apartment for you with ease.