Whether you’re finding an apartment while attending college, you have a summer internship that requires finding a new apartment or it’s your first time looking for one after graduation, one thing is for sure: The apartment hunting process can be overwhelmingly complicated. If this is the first time you’ve had to search for your own place, the task can be downright daunting.
Living in an apartment is an exciting change from the dorm lifestyle or living at home (sorry, mom), but you might be asking yourself: “Where do I even start?” Depending on your situation, there are many factors that go into apartment hunting. You have to decide if you want to live by yourself or with roommates, what your budget is, how long your commute is and what the parking situation is if you have a car, among other considerations.
There are many factors to take into consideration when looking for an apartment, but even thinking about where to start looking can be a mind-boggling task. Finding the apartment itself is arguably the most important aspect, and the most difficult. Luckily, there are plenty of apartment hunting sites out there to make the process easier.
As a student or recent graduate, it’s important not be taken advantage of, especially if this is your first time looking for your own place. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help; most likely someone you know has been through the process in the area you are looking at.
If you’re moving to a completely new city alone, however, you should utilize all of the online resources you can. There are plenty of apartment hunting sites that are easy to use for beginners, as well as other sites you should have in your back pocket.
Here are 10 of the best student friendly sites compiled for those looking for a new apartment.
Zillow is one of the most popular apartment hunting sites, and for good reason. Although it’s thought of as a homebuyers site, Zillow also features many apartments on their site.
One reason it’s so popular is because of the interactive nature of the site; you can physically draw a map around the areas you are looking at. This gives you complete control over the options you see, and you can mess around with specific locations and not be overwhelmed by an entire cities listings.
Apartments.com is also an extremely popular site. It is one of my personal favorites because it is easy to use and allows for specificity.
Another great aspect of the site is that it is easy to plan your commute and see how long it would be from certain areas. This is a valuable feature, especially if you are moving to a new city and will be commuting to work via public transportation.
Hotpads is a great site to find apartments because it has a variety of helpful features. The site is similar to Zillow, but it also has a commute filter, like Apartments.com.
It’s easy to tailor searches by using keywords such as “hardwood floors” or “swimming pool.” You can also sign up for updates about apartment matches that’re tailored specifically to your living preferences.
This site is unique because it allows virtual tours for many apartments. It also has a built-in Moving Center that will give you a quote on how expensive your relocation process will be.
Like other sites, Rent.com features many different search options.
Like Zillow, Padmapper allows users to draw a map of where they are looking for apartments.
Padmapper is unique because it allows you to look at up to five separate locations at once. The site is straightforward and easy to use, but allows you to search in a variety of ways.
Rent Jungle is a great apartment hunting site because it allows searchers to compare rent by using a handy tool. The algorithm will tell you if the rent for the apartment you are looking at is higher or lower compared to your neighbors.
It also shows you the walk score for the neighborhood you’re looking into, which tells you how easy it will be to get around on foot.
This site is perfect for those who like to analyze details.
On ForRent.com, you can look at floorplans, videos and photo galleries of each apartment. It also has a built in calculator that tells you how much rent you can afford to pay, which is critical to know while apartment searching.
Zumper frequently shows up on the top of the list when it comes to apartment hunting sites, and rightfully so.
The site gives you information about the exact neighborhood you are looking in, including what the schools are like, the walkability score, public transport and more. You’re also able to confirm rental tours on the site.
Although not a standard apartment searching site, Facebook can be beneficial to your hunt. Most cities have groups where people look for housing and roommates. Just be careful and make sure the people and apartments are legitimate, and don’t give anyone your information over the phone. Facebook is also a great resource if you are just looking to sublease for a shorter amount of time, like for a summer internship.
10. Local Newspapers
Although it’s old fashioned compared to using the internet, looking in the classifieds section of the newspaper in areas you’re interested in living can be helpful. Using this resource can be more straightforward than some of the websites listed above, especially if you want to talk to someone about renting/purchasing an apartment ASAP.
Although apartment hunting is challenging, these resources are a great starting point. New apartments pop up almost daily, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find a perfect fit right away. Getting your first place is an exciting milestone, using the apartment hunting sites above will make the transition go as smoothly as possible.