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Best apartment listing sites to help you find your new home
Compare top rental sites by feature and ease of use
Whether you’re new to a city or relocating to a different neighborhood, there are over 20 different apartment listing sites to help you find, filter, and even apply for an apartment. While there is no shortage of rental apps you can use, the truth is — they all look about the same (and in fact, many of them are own by the same companies). Which one is going to score you the best apartment, make it easy for you to filter from your mobile phone, or even streamline your application process?
Read on, we’ve done the research for you.
Top 3 best apartment listing sites
We reviewed each site and rated the rental websites based on usability, intuitive navigation, search and filtering, speed, inventory, unit and neighborhood detail, mobile app experience and unique or especially helpful features. Although many of the rental listing sites had similar features, here are the three we liked the best:
|Website||Description||Roost Rating |
|Zillow||Rated our top pick. Easiest to navigate, search and sort, with side-by-side unit descriptions and pictures. Strong inventory for all rental unit types. Integrated with school, walk and transit scores. High mobile app ratings — iOS 4.8 and Android 4.5.||4.9 stars|
|Apartments.com||Rated second best with search and detailed unit views. and neighborhood searches for all types. Strong inventory for all rental unit types. Integrated with school, walk and transit scores, plus neighborhood guides. Good mobile app ratings — iOS 4.7 and Android 4.2.|
|Zumper.com||Coming in third, this company is one to watch. Navigation is easy, map views included apartment rental costs for fast selection by area. Unit information was detailed including a quick label for pet-friendly apartments and market rent rate details. High mobile app ratings — iOS 4.7 and Android 4.5.||4.1 stars|
Honorable mentions: Other apartment listing sites worth mentioning
|Website||Roost Rating 1-5|
How each apartment listing site compares
You’ve checked out our rankings but you want more details. No problem. Here’s our overview of each apartment rental listing site and why you might want to check it out.
Apartment, house and condo rental listings are easy to search and navigate on Zillow and the user experience is superior to other listing sites. The default view is a map with a top filter bar and side column of rental listings.
Clicking into the unit detail, you’ll see two side-by-side panes with pictures and unit detail. Zillow makes it easy to sort by school rating, neighborhood in addition to the usual filters like price, rooms, etc. You can favorite, save searches and request tours as with other sites. It’s integrated with school, walk and transit scores.
Unique feature: Zillow provides extra services such as paying rent online. (Although not all apartments are supported.)
Apartments.com has robust rental inventory compared to other sites. Their default view is a user-friendly map with a top navigation bar for filtering and adjusting results. Filtering is quick and easy, however its usability score is ranked lower due to a few oddities including a dropdown bar that looks to promote keywords over usability and a property review rating search feature that’s confusing.
Apartments.com includes many of the standard features such as price range, unit type, etc. but also specialty features such as apartments and housing for students, cheap apartments, income-restricted and military. Unit descriptions are very detailed and the format is easy to scan.
Unique feature: Apartments.com offers neighborhood guides for the area, in addition to school, walk and transit scores information.
Rent.com includes a default map view but their search and filter is less robust than other sites. Inventory tends to consist of large apartment complex/management companies with less representation of private landlords.
Rentpath, LLC owns Apartmentguide, Lovely and Rent.com, Rentals.com and RentalHouses.com, so you will see a lot of the same features and functionality across the rental listing websites.
Unique feature: Some listings have 3D tour views and landlord ratings.
HotPads design is intuitive with a quick return and filtering of information. Basic rental unit detail is revealed when you mouse over the property map icons. Basic filter and search is included with easy filtering by commute time, travel modes (great if you bike to work!) and even rooms for rent.
You can favorite, save searches and get alerts as with other sites and request tours. Zillow acquired Hotpads in 2012.
Unique feature: Extra services include application management to landlords and paying rent online.
RentCafe’s default view is the standard map with filters. You can also search for neighborhoods by ZIP code, radius and polygon. Filter capability is good and descriptions of rental units are fairly detailed including integration with neighborhood information and even self storage unit companies. Rentcafe is owned by Yardi.
Unique feature: You can apply for apartments, submit maintenance requests and renew your lease.
PadMapper’s default view is a map with basic searching for immediate individual listing results. Filtering is less convenient than the other sites, but generally covers the basics.
You can also search for short term rentals and compare properties. However, the details per unit as other sites and information on the neighborhood is missing.
Unique feature: You can favorite, save rental searches and request tours.
ApatmentGuide’s default view is the standard map with filters. You can also search by school, do a draw search, and see detailed local guide information including descriptions, average market rents, school, walk, and bike scores.
Inventory tends to consist of the larger apartment management companies with less representation of private landlords. Rentpath, LLC owns ApartmentGuide, Lovely and Rent.com, Rentals.com, and RentalHouses.com, so you will see a lot of the same features and functionality across the rental listing websites.
Unique feature: Rental unit information is reasonably detailed, with videos and 3D tours.
Zumper (which also owns PadMapper) has the standard map and listing view with the filter bar above the listings. Basic filtering features are included as well as short term and long term rentals, neighborhood search and you can also draw circles on the map for detailed geographic searches.
Unit detailed information is good including floor plans and property information. Zumper includes trends information about things like schools, walk scores, and bus/rail lines.
Unique feature: Includes information about medium rent.
No matter which apartment listing site you use, you’re bound to find a great apartment to rent. First figure out how much rent you can afford if you need a roommate, must-have amenities, and the neighborhood you want to move to.
With a little bit of organization and effort, you’ll be in your new place, kicking back and watching a great show on Netflix before you know it.
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