Trying to find apartments to rent can be exciting, overwhelming or a mix of both. Whether you are looking for your first place or have rented for years, it helps to know how to leverage housing websites to work in your favor.

If you are unfamiliar with doing an apartment search online, the task of finding somewhere to live becomes a lot more difficult. Thankfully, there are dozens of great apartment search engines that you can use to find your next home, and most of these sites are extremely user-friendly.

By learning about the best websites to find apartments, you can save a great deal of time and stress in finding your next place. Below, learn more about the best search engines to use and discover other tips for finding the perfect apartment.

How do I find apartments near me?

You can a place to rent through a variety of different methods. While some apartments are still advertised in the newspaper, the best way to find apartments today is to go online.

The vast majority of landlords advertise their units online, which means you are missing out on a lot of rental opportunities if you are not using search engines.

The best apartment search sites will allow you to narrow your search down using a very specific set of criteria. If you are wondering, “How do I find apartments near me?” the easiest way is to start by entering your desired city, neighborhood or street into a search engine.

It is easy to look for apartments anywhere in the country regardless of where you are currently living. Whether you are moving for a job or simply want to live in a different city, the best way to find apartments in that area is still to go online and start looking.

When asking how to find an apartment, another important consideration is the cost. Whether you are moving into an apartment to reduce your living expenses, relocate for a job or find your first place after college, the price is oftentimes the most important factor to weigh.

It can be tough to find an affordable rental that is affordable, in a safe neighborhood, has the amenities you want and is close enough to work, school or other destinations. While it may be hard to find apartments for rent that check all of your boxes, you can increase your chances of getting an affordable unit by doing the following:

  • Taking on a reliable, trusted roommate who can split the rent and utilities with you
  • Looking for housing during the “off” seasons
    • In most cases, the demand for apartments goes up at the beginning and end of summer when college students are moving and when the weather is more reliable.
  • Make sure you are aware of extra fees for things such as pet deposits or parking, which can vary considerably from one location to the next.
  • Consider brand-new apartment buildings, which may have great move-in discounts to attract tenants

Features to Consider While Apartment Searching

  1. Having space and storage. Paying attention to storage is important when you first visit an apartment. Walk-in closets are a prevalent feature for most renters. Knowing how much you will need to store will make choosing an apartment much simpler.
  2. Parking provided. Not all apartment complexes will offer parking. Certain buildings will allow tenants to purchase a parking space. However, having visitors may be difficult, especially if they plan to stay for a couple days. Check the lease in order to see if the complex provides these parking amenities.
  3. Reduced noise. When you share a wall with a neighbor, it can be challenging to find a quiet rental space. If you visit your future rental home, make sure to sit in the room while it is quiet. Take note of any bothersome noises and whether the noises are worth paying the rent.

Best Apartment Search Sites

Because your apartment search will more than likely take place online, it helps to start by learning about the best search engines. There are countless apartment search engines to choose from, but each one has different features and comes with its own benefits.

The best way to get a full picture of the apartments in any neighborhood is sometimes to compare results from more than one listing website.

For example, some apartment search websites will have good information on community amenities and local schools, while others will not.

By looking at multiple search engines, you can also get a solid idea of the best rental units available. With that in mind, here are some of the best apartment search sites available:

  • Craigslist: This website is a go-to search engine for renting or buying just about anything. In most cities, this website provides numerous listings for rental units. However, because Craigslist is used for far more than just rental listings, it should not be the only place you focus your search.
  • Zillow rental listings: Many Zillow listings are for houses for sale, but you may not realize that it is also possible to find rentals here. This website includes a walk score, basic school information, details on amenities and even allows you to schedule a tour or contact the apartment manager through the site.
  • If you want a large array of filters, map features and neighborhood information, this website is one of the most comprehensive options. If you have special search criteria, such as needing to find apartments for rent on a low income, this website can help you find units in your price range.
  • ApartmentGuide: Sometimes you can tell just about everything you need to know about an apartment based on its floor plan and photos. Most ApartmentGuide listings include floor plan details as well as everything else you would expect such as information on amenities and pet policies.
  • Trulia: If you are concerned about local crime, schools, commute times and other details, Trulia may be the best place to find that information. This is one of the most comprehensive apartment search engines and can be a great tool to use along with other websites.
  • Walk Score: If you care about finding a neighborhood where you can easily walk to parks, shops and other amenities that you need, Walk Score is a great place to look. This website provides a walkability score for different neighborhoods, allowing you to weed out results that do not fit what you are looking for.

Tips for Using Apartment Search Websites

There are many ways that you can streamline your apartment search by using the right websites. Whether you have plenty of time to spend looking for the perfect place or you need to jump on a rental unit quickly, you can improve your chances of getting the best apartment by following these tips:

  • Never hesitate to apply for a perfect listing. Because there is so much competition to find apartments for rent, it is usually a good idea to apply for an apartment you love right away rather than waiting a day or two to think it over. If you think an apartment is perfect, chances are someone else has their eye on it as well.
  • Prepare all of your application materials ahead of time. Similar to the point above, you can improve your chances of landing the perfect apartment if you have your ID, pay stubs, bank statements, references and vehicle information on hand and are ready to apply at any time.
  • Watch out for red flags such as rent that is way too low, fees that seem too high or a landlord who does not ask to run a background check or verify your income.