Rental apps allow you to search for rental property using a variety of filters. Discover the best way to search and the top rental apps to use.
Searching for an apartment to rent is much different today compared to the past. Previously, it was unheard of to choose an apartment without physically going to the location. While there are benefits to looking at property in person, it is a time-consuming process. Many renters ended up picking apartments because they were burned out from searching. Today, rental apps make it much easier to find an apartment, whether for short- or long-term leases.
Even when using an apartment app, you are still encouraged to visit the property in-person whenever possible. Rental apps are primarily used to help you narrow down your selection. Instead of traveling around the city visiting each apartment site directly, you can filter your searches and look for listings using an app. This lets you cut out apartments you know you won’t be interested in and focus your search on properties that meet your needs and price range.
What to Look for in an Apartment
Apartment rental apps are useful tools, but only if you know how to make the best of the search functions. Many rental apps feature extensive filtering, so you can search by categories like price, distance or number of rooms. Some apps include even deeper searches, such as neighborhood score, distance to public transportation or walking score. If you go into an apartment app without an idea of what you want, you will become overwhelmed with options.
The best way to search for a rental property is prioritizing what you want. Most renters start with price. When looking at rental prices, you must consider more than the base price. Make sure you look up utilities in the area. Some properties will include utilities in the cost, with water, sewage and garbage being the most common. This means you only need to focus on electricity, gas, internet and cable. Some higher priced listings, especially if they are house rentals, will include all utilities but have a higher monthly cost.
Another important consideration for renters is whether the property allows pets. Most apps feature an option to search specifically for pet friendly locations. This is a useful feature, as there are numerous apartment complexes with no pet policies. Pet friendly locations often require paying an extra deposit. There may also be additional stipulations, such as a weight limit on dogs.
If you are bringing many items with you, storage space is another consideration. This is especially important if you have bulkier, seasonal items you do not want taking up space in your apartment. Apartments typically include storage space, but some locations charge an additional fee for this service. Another consideration is whether each tenant gets individual space or if it is a communal storage.
Zillow is mostly known as a site to search for houses, but it also has a rental section. What sets Zillow apart from other rental apps is the number of search options. There are many categories, both large and small, to help narrow your search. For example, you can only search for locations with an in-unit laundry or on-site parking. Once you find a property, you can use Zillow’s estimate tool, Zestimate, to compare the price compared to other rentals in the area. This lets you know whether the asking price is unusually high. While this is a warning sign, check the other properties to see if they include fewer utilities or perks to explain the pricing difference.
Trulia is another site mostly associated with searching for homes, but it includes options for rentals. Trulia has a few different features from Zillow. It places a greater emphasis on the community through the Trulia Neighborhoods feature. This includes information on nearby schools, walkability and general safety. It also mentions prominent or unusual laws and regulations in the area. There are even tools to search for employment and public accommodations. Applying for an apartment is also easier through Trulia. The site automatically generates an inquiry form, saving you the hassle of looking up a number or email address to contact the owner.
PadMapper is an extensive rental site. In addition to a number of filters, you can compare your chosen location with other rentals in the area. PadMapper also has one of the largest listings because it pulls from multiple sources. While other rental apps also have this feature, PadMapper uses a deeper list, pulling from sites like Craigslist that aren’t solely dedicated to renting properties. PadMapper also lets you differentiate between short and long-term listings. It has a greater listing of non-apartment properties, such as homes and condos for rent. You can also search for senior living or student housing through the app. There are additional filters to make searching easier, such as whether the location offers video or online live tours.
What sets Walkscore apart from other rental apps is the visuals. With Walkscore, whenever you look at a property, it displays where the property is located on a map, with all the nearby locations. You can then filter these locations, highlighting areas like restaurants, laundry services, grocery stores or parks. Each property also has a walkability rating score. This is displayed on the map, with the color of the route changing based on walkability. Gray means an area is unsafe or difficult to walk in, while green is the best path. You can even base your search around the average distance to amenities and public transportation. If you do not own a vehicle, Walkscore is a great rental app to find the most convenient property for your needs.
Airbnb Long-term Rentals
Airbnb is commonly associated with short term vacation stays, but many renters also use the site to find housing for longer periods. It became so popular Airbnb updated their website to include a special search, known as monthly stay. Monthly stay requires you to commit to at least a month in the property, with options to extend your stay for longer periods. Some renters even include listings for an entire year. Airbnb rentals is typically not for finding a long-term rental, but it is a great tool to find transitionary properties while you look for a more permanent location. For example, if you are moving someplace to work but know you will only be at the location for less than a year, it is significantly easier to find a rental on Airbnb versus a traditional rental site. Some locations also have discounts if you book it for longer periods, providing greater savings compared to other alternatives, like staying in a hotel.