5 Rental Sites You Should be Looking at for Your New Home

If you’ve ever hunted for an apartment or a home for rent, chances are, Craigslist is one of the first rental sites you look at.

While there is an abundance of rental properties, it’s also rampant with scams that make it more annoying and time-consuming to sift through to find the legitimate listings. There is no shame in looking on Craigslist – it’s a fantastic first place to start, but there are many other rental sites with hidden gems that Craigslist may not.

Want to explore other rental sites that are worthy alternatives to Craigslist? Below are my top five, go-to rental sites that offer similar services to Craigslist without downfall of less ad visibility, and is more user-friendly.

5 Other Rental Sites to Look at Besides Craigslist

    1. Apartments.com
      What makes this rental site so great are the customizable and innovative search tools that emphasize things everyday renters care about. With their POLYGON search tools, renters are able to draw their desired  neighborhood and search based on their preferred commute time/method. Not to mention, they aren’t lacking in the inventory department when it comes to listings so it makes finding your perfect rental that much easier.
      apartments rental site search
    2. Trulia
      Trulia, much like the others on this list, have gained a reputation as a large rental database that is legitimate and current. Trulia not only has rental listings, but for sale listings as well. Its map-based interface makes it easy to look at options available within each city. You can also search based on other settings such as school ratings, crime, commute, nearby food & drink places, affordability, hazards, and more. Almost all of the listings on the map interface show pictures to the left, and for each listing that you are interested in, there is a easy, one-click template to request additional information.
       trulia apartment rental site custom request search
    3. Zillow
      Trulia owns Zillow, so the two sites have a lot of similarities but are different enough that each one offers unique capabilities that the other doesn’t, as well as unduplicated listings on either rental site. Zillow is also a map-based interface, and has a feature that will only show verified sources – meaning they’re legitimate listings and not scams. Each listing also includes the property management company (or renter), and any contact information for additional information requests.
       zillow rental listing search website map interface
    4. Rentals.com
      Rentals is not only a hub for prospective renters, but for those looking to list their home. With a large inventory of up-to-date listings, you can also get nitty-gritty and customize your search based on what type of property, property & community features, distance, and more. If you happen to see several properties you are interested in, Rentals.com will also match you with the appropriate property management company and provide all of the necessary details to move forward.
       rental listings search site results
    5. PadMapper.com
      I love PadMapper because it actually searches legitimate rental listings from other rental sites such as Craigslist, ApartmentGuide.com, Rent.com, and other similar resources. It’s a map-based listing site, so it’s easy to see the available listings in your preferred communities, with all the set filters you choose. And if you really want to customize your filters even more, you can do so in Advanced Settings. These advanced settings include commute time from a specific apartment to another location (like your job), mass transit map overlays, crime rates, and more.
      padmapper rental site listings polygon search tool result

I think I found my new home! But first… how do I know that I can afford it?

Of course, this will depend greatly on many different factors, but there is a pretty simple and widely known rule of thumb I like to follow: your monthly rent expenses should not exceed 30% of your net income (net income meaning your after tax income). Depending on your spending habits, energy use habits, and overall lifestyle choices, this amount can vary greatly.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of online resources available that can calculate your rent affordability such as this rent calculator by Zillow. Bear in mind that this is an assumption of 25% tax rate, but that amount varies from state to state and the number of allowances you can claim.

Living in the city can be especially enticing for new graduates who want to be close to work and an abundance of dining and entertainment options, but living in the city comes with big costs. Living in a smaller neighborhood means you can afford a nicer place with the same amount, but it also means giving up the convenience of being able to walk down the street to your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. But if you are really keen on living in the city AND being able to afford it, here’s some survival tips to living in an expensive city.