10 Best Websites For Renters To Find The Perfect Space

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: July 1, 2021

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In today’s digital world, there are all sorts of great websites designed to help renters find the perfect place to live.

Whether you’re looking for a short-term rental in the city, or a long-term rental in the suburbs, there’s a website or app that can help you find what you’re looking for.

In fact, for the rest of this guide, we’re going to reveal 10 of the best websites for renters. 

So, if you’re ready to take your rental search to the next level, keep reading.

10 best websites and apps for renters | Be The Budget

1. Apartments.com

Apartments.com is one of the most prominent sites for finding rental properties. The site boasts over a million listings across the country, including everything from apartments to houses, condos, and townhouses for rent.

I will say that it is predominantly used by large developments and apartment complexes, but you can also find a handful of single-family homes as well.

The listings provide a lot of details about the walkability, school districts, and nearby public transportation.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of information available about specific neighborhoods beyond high-level city information.

The search feature provides plenty of options and criteria to help narrow your search down to a smaller list of properties to examine further.

All things considered, apartments.com is definitely one of the best websites for renters.

Are you a renter? If so, check out a few of our other helpful guides on renting:

2. Realtor.com

Realtor.com is another widely used rental property search engine.

However, while property managers can list some of their properties directly on the site, you probably won’t find many listings that aren’t available on Apartments.com.

While there are quite a few rental listings on the site, it’s clear that the site’s primary focus is on buying and selling residential properties.

One of the things that make Realtor.com stand out from the competition is the heat map feature which lets you see crime rates, noise levels, flood zones, and school rankings.

So, if you really want to take your rental search to the next level, we recommend combining Realtor.com with Apartments.com.

3. Zillow

Zillow is probably one of the most popular real estate sites on the internet.

The site has data on over 100 million properties, including a good mix of apartments, condos, and single-family homes for rent.

The site has also has a user-friendly interface, along with a very popular mobile app.

The search feature has unique criteria that you won’t find on many other sites including 3D virtual tours, the number of stories for those concerned about accessibility, and the type of view (city, mountain, water, or park).

One of the coolest features of Zillow is a tool called Zillow Applications.

This allows tenants to fill out an application that can be used to apply for multiple properties without having to fill out a new one each time.

This is a particularly nice feature if you’re considering applying to more than one rental property.

4. Apartment Finder

Apartment Finder has a large selection of rental properties.

You won’t get a robust set of tools on this site, but the navigation and search feature are easy to use.

The site also taps into large amounts of real estate data to help renters find the best deals.

The site uses special symbols to identify listings in three categories — price drops, best value, and rent specials.

  • Price drops are properties that recently decreased their rent price.
  • Best value properties are ones that have a high ranking, but lower cost compared to comparable listings.
  • Rent specials include other special offerings such as discounted rent or waived deposits.

5. Rent.com

Rent.com isn’t as widely used as larger sites like Apartments.com or Zillow.

However, this might actually be an advantage for you since you might be able to find properties that have less competition.

The listings are more focused on apartment complexes than condos and single-family homes, and their search feature is easy to use.

Rent.com also has many tools available to renters including educational resources, checklists, and a Moving Center which lets you get moving quotes directly from their site. (We really like this feature!)

6. Zumper

While Zumper has lots of rental property listings, the main feature of this site is the wealth of information available to people who are searching for their next place to call home.

The search and map features are easy to use, and in our opinion, the best search option is the ability to look at listings by neighborhood instead of just the city.

Zumper also has an Instarent tool that helps expedite the rental process.

You can tour the property virtually, pay a small fee to reserve the unit for 24 hours, and apply online. And the best part is, you’ll know within 24 hours if your application has been approved.

This can really work to your advantage if you want to avoid competition with other renters in a tough market.

7. Sublet.com

If you are looking for a short-term rental or affordable rent, you might want to consider subletting a property.

And that’s exactly why Sublet.com made our list as one of the best websites for renters.

As you might suspect, the primary focus of the site is subletting, but you can find some other traditional rentals also.

The search feature lets you narrow your search to whole units, a private portion of a rental, or a room with a shared space.

The site also has listings from all over the world which is great for people who are planning to move abroad and might want to find a sublet overseas.

8. Homes.com

Homes.com does have quite a few rental listings but is mostly used for homes that are for sale.

Renters in remote areas or smaller cities may not have listings as the site is primarily focused on major metropolitan areas.

The site’s search engine is pretty basic and includes options to narrow the results down by price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and common amenities. So, if you want to keep things simple, this might be the right website for you to use.

9. Trulia

Trulia, which is owned by Zillow, is also another giant in the real estate space.

Like Zillow, they have one of the largest rental property listings database online, along with a great mobile app.

The listings are for everything from full, private units to private rooms.

One of the benefits of Trulia includes an affordable calculator that recommends an annual income that is right for the listing. Of course, you should use their best judgment and align your rental costs with your budget.

Another great thing about Trulia is that you can search the property reviews by category.

For example, renters who have a dog can click on the Dog Owners category to see what other pet owners are saying about the property. Other categories include community, parents, and commute.

10 best websites for renters | Be The Budget

10. RentCafe.com

RentCafe.com is another one of the best websites for renters, as it takes an entirely different approach to rental property searches.

Not only does the site have listings for properties that are available for rent, but it is also a portal for residents to continue using the site after they rent the space.

The portal allows renters and landlords to collaborate by tracking rent payments, requesting and processing maintenance, and completing lease renewals.

The site has many specialty rental listings including student, low-income, and military housing.

There are also tools such as a rent affordability calculator and historical market trend charts.

Tips For Finding The Best Properties For Rent

Finding a rental property can be overwhelming.

So, it’s important to keep the budget in mind as you tour properties looking for your next home.

Fortunately, there are some easy strategies that you can use to keep your rental cost down:

  • Explore Multiple Sites – Many of these sites charge landlords and property managers to post their listings. This means that most properties aren’t listed on every site. To find the most available rentals, you should check a few different sites.
  • Look at the Comps – In order to understand if a rental property is reasonably priced, you should take a look at other similar properties. Check apartments or houses with a similar number of bedrooms, square footage, and conditions.
  • Dress Nicely – When you are taking a tour of a rental property, you should be aware of your appearance. Landlords and property managers treat these visits as an “interview” to find the best tenants.
  • Ask Your Friends and Family – In many cases, the people closest to you know might know of available rental units. A referral can also help you get a step ahead of other potential tenants.
  • Set Goals – When looking for a rental, think about your long-term goals. Just remember that you won’t be in the space forever. So, just because you plan to start a family in the future, doesn’t mean you need to pay for additional square footage that you don’t need today.
  • Ignore Unnecessary Amenities – Don’t overpay for amenities that you won’t use. If you don’t like to swim, there is no need to pay a premium for a property that has a pool.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt, searching for a place to rent can be stressful and overwhelming. With so many options, so much competition, and rising rent prices, it can be difficult to find the perfect space.

My only hope is that by reading this article, you’ll feel confident when shopping for your next place to live.

So, what are your favorite websites for renters? Be sure to drop your suggestions in the comments!

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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