Remember those days when apartment hunters had to carefully scan the newspaper classifieds to find a place to live? Neither do I. Nowadays, millennials are able to search millions of apartment listings through hundreds of digital databases and rental search engines. It’s nice and all for finding affordable apartments, but the options can be overwhelming.
I’m here to help ease your next apartment search. I spent some time researching and using dozens of rental websites. Many of them share the same basic functions, allowing you to search through a price range, size, and location, but each tries to stand out with extra features.
Below, you’ll find a list of 20 national rental listing websites for finding affordable apartments. I even threw in search tips for each one to make it even easier for you.
Apartments.com is one of the comprehensive search engines out there for renting affordable apartments. There’s a large range of filters, from the usual price range and apartment type, to the more special features like types of apartments: military, income restricted, and student housing.
Search Tip: You can filter your search according to commute time from the apartment to work via any mode of transportation. The website’s “Plan Commute” feature lets you choose how long you want your commute to be!
Abodo provides a visually streamlined way to search for rentals based on basic requirements: rent, number of bedrooms, and a few specific factors that may be non-negotiable (i.e. air-conditioning, pet-friendly). Details for each listing open right up over the search results, which can be sorted by relevance, price, recency, and popularity.
Search Tip: In the map view, listing icons turn grey after you’ve clicked on them, so you don’t keep looking at the same listing five times. Finally, a website that gets it!
I think we all know this one. The OG rental website, Craigslist is still a must for nearly all apartment hunters. You’ll have to wade through a lot of scams and duplicate listings, but Craigslist still offers some of the best deals for affordable apartments since owners and small landlords can post listings directly for free. You can filter searches by fee or no fee, price range, and apartment size. Also, you can even indicate a few amenities.
Search Tip: The main key to Craiglist is to search for your requirements every day. This is how you spot the best deals before anyone else!
4. Home Finder
Home finder isn’t the fanciest website for affordable apartments, but it does offer a simple list of locations and their housing details. What this website lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in the exhaustive number of houses available for viewing. All over the United States! You get details about the neighborhood, including median homeowner age, and years in residence.
Search Tip: Homefinder.com lets you search by the age of the home. You can specify a wide variety of types too, including farms and house boats!
Hotpads is an incredibly in-depth and dynamic search engine for affordable apartments to rent across the country. Of course, you can set the basics: price range, size, and type, but there are no filters for neighborhoods or amenities. Instead, you can search for keywords. The user-friendly map is the default view, with a list alongside it. There are even overlays that show an apartment’s proximity to public transportation and bike lanes!
Search Tip: If you’re like me, listings with no pictures seem more than untrustworthy. Well then, Hotpads is for you! There’s a filter that lets you search only for listings with multiple photos.
PadMapper pulls information from other companies such as Airbnb, ForRent, and PadLister to form a comprehensive rental map. While looking over the details of a listing on the map, PadMapper continues to show other affordable apartments nearby. You can easily hop around the neighborhood without continuously going back to the main map.
Search Tip: You can favorite and hide listings quickly and easily mark the places you’re interested in and ignore the rest.
Moving to a new city can often bring new expenses, taxes, rent increases, and utilities. Rent.com looks to save you money in one regard: Through the website’s “Moving Center,” where you get free moving quotes by simply listing the size of your house, its location, and where you’re headed. Rent.com also offers a virtual tour through many affordable apartments if you want an insider’s look.
Search Tip: Rent.com has one of the most robust selections of filters, which allows you to specify if you need income-restricted housing, or a place where the utilities are included in the rent.
RentHop serves more major markets in the U.S. by offering a standard fare of list and map views, plus a good range of filters from “Has Floorplan” to “Common Outdoor Space.” What sets this affordable apartments site apart is its own “HopScore,” a rating of how good each listing is based on its freshness, listing quality, and manager reputation.
Search Tip: Look for the “Price Comparison” in each listing, which tells you how the rent for a certain pad compares to median rents for similar affordable apartments in the same area.
Sublet.com has been around since 1999, and it looks like it probably hasn’t been updated since then. The site is – not surprising – mostly sublets, but it also offers regular rentals from smaller landlords, as well. You can sort by neighborhood, and pick whether you’re just looking for a single room or an entire apartment. There’s also a filter for the length of lease you need.
Search Tip: Sublet.com isn’t limited to the United States. You can use this site to find rooms and apartments in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Central and South America! Now that’s convenient!
Zillow is one of the most established brands for online real estate and affordable apartments research, with data on more than 110 million homes! While the neighborhood displays are a little less detailed, Zillow has one unique strength. When you type in a neighborhood’s zip code, the “Zestimate” tool provides an estimated price for rent, or purchase, of properties within the given area.
Search Tip: In map view, you can draw the region that you want to search.
11. Apartment Guide
If you’re wanting a website that provides a plethora of photos and floorplans, this your stop. Apartment Guide give you 360-degree tours, videos, and photos for most listings.The listings feature intuitive icons to indicate amenities, like if there’s a dishwasher or if dogs are allowed.
Search Tip: This website has SO many filters, including ones that allow you to search apartment and community features like swimming pools, fitness centers, and a waterfront.
12. For Rent
This website’s strength lies in the detailed information it provides about affordable apartments. You can get an overview of the building amenities, and often that’s paired with a short video and photo gallery. The site also offers free moving quotes and a calculator to help you figure out how much rent you can afford.
Search Tip: ForRent.com has a plethora of filters, including neighborhood options.
Homes.com is definitely geared more toward buyers, but it does offer a wide database for rental listings as well. This site sorts the properties listed into categories like retirement communities, off-campus housing, and short term housing. Each listing offers info on nearby schools, including a grade calculator by state test performance data.
Search Tip: You have the basics to work with (price, size, year built, building type). but not filters for amenities. Map view is easy to use when you want to explore a location.
I know what you’re thinking, but this is still a website for affordable apartments across the country. The search engine listing is fairly standard. Just type in your price range, neighborhood of interest, and size of the household. While it seems like nothing special, the Times does offer a lot of great context for neighborhoods: reviews of nearby food, fitness, and more. Also, there are links to recent real estate articles.
Search Tip: For New York neighborhoods, the Times also provides a deeper dive into the housing market of that are (but I think that would be obvious from the site name).
Realtor provides almost everything you need in a real estate website. It’s fast, you can personalize your search with the basics, plus there’s a lot of amenities. The listing pages go into a lot of details about the neighborhood. There’s also a price comparison with nearby homes, stats on schools, and a Yelp-powered map that shows restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, and more!
Search Tip: If you scroll all the way down on the listing page you’ll see suggested listings of affordable apartments with similar features in the same neighborhood.
RentCafe is different than other rental websites in that they only have listings directly from property managers. Renters can check real-time unit availability and apply for apartments online. Even after you’ve secured a place, you can still use RentCafe to manage your rental. The map interface is your standard look with filters.
Search Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, you can search for lower-than-average-rate listings. Simply check off “cheap apartments for rent” under the Rentals tab.
17. Rent Jungle
Rental prices often seem sporadic and random; a good deal today is a bad one tomorrow. With its “Rent Comparison” tool, Rent Jungle is able to to provide a quick judgment on whether you’re receiving a fair deal or not. The website’s geomap also distinguishes between single and multiple occupancy dwellings through straightforward graphics, and the icons turn grey after you click one. Easy Peasy!
Search Tip: You can also search for military housing.
This is one Zillow’s many owned properties. Trulia has been in the affordable apartment search engine game since 2005. Thanks to partnerships with CrimeReports.com, EveryBlock.com, and SpotCrime.com, they’re able to offer users location-specific information regarding crime, local schools, amenities, and commute times.
Search Tip: For cities with robust public transportation options, a “Near Transit” button appears in the search bar to easily filter results.
Zumper is known for its easy-to-digest rental market reports and deep knowledge of local rental markets. For affordable apartments hunters, this translates to details on city landmarks, weather, and culture when you enter a location. Zumper also gives a breakdown of several neighborhoods that may interest the potential renter.
Search Tip: The “Zumper Select” feature connects you with a “rental expert” that will schedule and confirm tours