An Honest Review of the Most Popular Apartment Listing Websites

We are so glad you are joining us for our special guest blog series. In this article, long term renter Destiny will share her review of some of the most popular websites that apartment homes can be found. To learn more about Destiny, keep scrolling through. Now let’s hear Destiny’s thoughts as she searches for her next apartment home.


So , you’re looking for your first apartment, but don’t know where to start! 

When I got my first apartment neither did I.

But have no fear!  I am here to breakdown apartment search platform tools and how each one can help you find your next home.

Google

I know it seems simple, but you can always just type “apartments near me “into the Google search bar to find tons of apartments in your local area.

This method might seem simple enough on the surface, but you’ll soon realize that Google is pulling up EVERY SINGLE AVAILABLE apartment in your area. This includes the ones that are within your budget along with the ones that exceed your budget.

 The downside to this wealth of information is that it can seem a little overwhelming and make you feel like you won’t be able to move out of your parents’ house.

Nevertheless, Google is a great starting point.

Googling places in your area will give you a good idea on how many apartment complexes are near you and allow you to see if you want to live in the area you are searching.

One thing to make note of during your search is that certain cities are more residential.

If you are looking to live in one of these areas, it may be more difficult to find an apartment because that city has a high amount of real estate for sale and little availability for rent. 

One big perk that Googling “apartments near me” can give you is the Google reviews. Which I believe is the most important part of anyone’s apartment journey.

TRUST THE REVIEWS.

I used to believe that people only left a review when they had something bad to say, but I’ve come to find that’s not always the case.

I have seen apartment complexes that have had 5 stars and 230 reviews saying overwhelmingly good things.

Remember one thing… people will NOT hold back from giving their opinion good or bad.

Another perk to searching on Google is you can see pictures of the property from multiple perspectives instead of the professionally shot, edited, and filtered photographs posted by the owner of the property/complex.

This means that if someone has taken pictures of the complex without their “Instagram filter” you will be able to see that.

I remember seeing photos of beautiful apartment complexes only to click the “see photos” button and think to myself “This can’t be the same place?!” because the complex was completely trashed!

Just like I said, trust the reviews, trust the pictures.

Another helpful feature is the Directions button.

If you allow Google to access your location on your phone or computer, it can let you know how far the apartment is from you from your current location.

If you want to change your starting point to another location all you will need to do is change the From Address line and it will give you an updated time and proximity.

You also could click the Website and review all the property details.

One of the coolest features to me (if your computer supports it) is Google’s Call option.

I loved having the ability to search for apartments on my MacBook and if I wanted more information, Google’s call feature was a great convenience.

Lastly, if you are casually browsing and you have a Google account you can always Save your apartment search and revisit for a later time.

Facebook Marketplace

I love Facebook Marketplace…when looking for cheap furniture… when looking for apartments… eh, not so much.

Here’s the thing, anyone can list apartments on Facebook Marketplace.

You will be able to find tons of rental options when looking on Facebook Marketplace; sub-leases, rooms to rent, apartments, houses, and townhomes to rent.

The possibilities are endless.

Just watch out for the scammers, the ghosters and most importantly the inaccurate description and pictures.

If you steer clear of all of these, you will find on the other side a useful tool for your apartment search.

On a positive note, Facebook Marketplace’s abundance features paired with a familiar interface make it essential to first time apartment hunters 

You can select how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and even rental types!

Which to me is the thing I love the most because you can think you want an apartment but if you can rent a house for the same cost… wouldn’t you prefer the house?

After you have found a rental that peaks your interest you can find more details about the unit such as how long the lease is for, what it includes and if you have kiddos you can see nearby schools.

One thing I hope that Facebook will improve overtime is being able to create a profile solely to be on Facebook Marketplace, because once you’ve messaged someone about the property, they are able to see YOUR ENTIRE FACEBOOK PROFILE…

I don’t know if you have ever gone through a 90s pop phase…but…my hair, my clothes and literally everything from the late 90s and early 2000 is… ugh… neverminded…

If you are fine with people seeing your personal profile (if you have your public settings on) then I think you should give Facebook Marketplace a try!

Craigslist

YES… People still use this platform.

Surprisingly enough I know a few people that have rented houses and townhomes from Craigslist.

I called them the “hidden gems” because most of the time you can find really nice rental properties for an affordable price.

Now… Please be warned that Craigslist is a scammer’s hunting ground.

When it comes to scams on Craigslist, the most common offender is what I like to call the “too good to be true”. Look at this 3-bedroom 2-bathroom house listed for $1,000 a month.

Which sounds awesome right!? Incredible even?! Almost too good to be true?

Well, that’s because it is. Most of the time when you see listings like this it’s because it is a scam.

How do they get you? They ask for a deposit as a money order.

And then… you never hear from them again and the listing is taken down…

The sad truth is that Craigslist knows about the scammers, and they have written a long list on what not to do on the website click here to learn more.

When it comes to your apartment search, I would only use Craigslist at your most desperate times…

Honestly, I would trust a “for rent” sign on the street before I trust Craigslist.

ApartmentList

I have one word for ApartmentList… WOW!

This website is amazing… which is why it doesn’t surprise me that over 175,000 people found their next home by searching on Apartmentlist.com

They also have something for everyone! Budget friendly, pet lover’s paradise and city views. With approximately 5.5 million properties on their website, I am confident that you can find your next home here.

Now let’s dive into it!

ApartmentList starts your journey by asking you a list of simple questions such as size of the apartment you are looking for, do you have pets, budget, what amenities are you looking for etc.

Once you have answered all these questions, they give you what looks like a Pinterest board of apartment choices, and I LOVE IT!

Everything about this makes an apartment search so much easier!

It makes you start to think if some of your wants are really your wants, or can you live without them to save a buck?

The user experience just gets better when you can select nope, love it or maybe.

Once you have made a selection only the ones that you selected Love it or Maybe will go on to the “Short List”

This list will separate the ones that made you say, “OMG YES” and “eh” to.

Another helpful feature of apartmentlist.com is the amenities section.

It’s particularly helpful when searching for appliances that are a massive pain to travel with but an even bigger pain to live without.

Just select the amenities you’re looking for and apartmentlist.com will show you the properties that offer it. My only advice while browsing the amenities section, is to verify the details with the owner before you make any final decisions. This will help you avoid any possible surprises before signing a lease.

I highly suggest using this platform in your apartment search!

If you’re “click happy” like me and find your email inbox filling up with all of your “love its”, I’d recommend creating a folder in your inbox specifically for apartment hunting to keep track of your favorite properties.

Conclusion

Searching for your first apartment is such an amazing adventure!

Yes, you will need to decide between carpet or hardwood or being on the first floor or third, but all these are exciting decisions to be making.

Nevertheless, have fun, take your time, and tour every apartment your heart desires!

Happy apartment hunting!



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