The Most Helpful and Free Apps for Any Apartment Rental Search

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Hunting for a new apartment in a major urban hub can be overwhelming. Where to start? Like everything these days, there’s an app for that. And with our guide to the best rental apps, you should have no problem finding your next abode.

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If you’ve ever looked for a rental in a competitive real estate market, you know that good apartments tend to get snatched up faster than you can say “security deposit.” By using the best rental apps, you can simply hop on your phone (you don’t even have to get up and grab your laptop!) and scan your city (or the one you plan to move to) for places that are available in real-time. They’re also packed with convenient features, like the ability to submit your credit report and a rental application and the option to pay your rent directly through the app. 

Here’s the lowdown on some of the best apps available nationwide, including those most popular in major cities across the country:

Major markets: Major U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco, LA and Boston, or Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

What it’s about: For a simple, no-frills guide to renting an apartment, PadMapper is here to save the day. Simply set your price range and whether you’re looking for a short- or long-term rental, and you’re ready to start your search.

Standout feature: Can find short and long-term rentals. 

Major markets: Apartments.com services just about every major city in the US, and some minor cities too, like Irvine, CA, Federal Hill, MD, and Staten Island, NY. 

What it’s about: If your search focuses strictly on an apartment and not a home or room for rent, be sure to check out Apartment.com. This rental app returns a list of apartments with the most up-to-date availability based on the filters you select. This helps cut down on the amount of time and hassle it takes you to find a legitimate apartment that actually meets your needs. 

Standout feature: Each apartment listed is verified to reduce the possibility of scam listings or information that’s out of date. 

Major markets: According to their Rent Report, the most popular cities on the app include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas, among others.

What it’s about: According to Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades, the company aims to make renting an apartment just as easy booking a hotel by allowing renters to get prequalified and even make a deposit directly through the app.

Standout feature: Their “Instant Apply” feature, which guarantees that a landlord will review your application for designated properties.

Other useful features: Zumper allows you to filter listings by a variety of criteria, such as number of bedrooms, price range, and pet policy. You can also set an alert to get a notification as soon as a new property that fits your criteria hits the app so you have the chance to snag it before someone else does.

Major markets: Most (if not all) of them.

What it’s about: Zillow is pretty synonymous with people looking for a new home (or just looking because those real estate listings are so damn habit-forming). But even the most devoted user may not know that the site also has a rental app where you can search more than 400,000 apartments, condos, and single-family homes for rent across the country.

Standout feature: Been eyeing that trendy area of town, but not sure if you can swing the rent? Zillow offers a rent affordability calculator that filters for rentals that fit your budget.

Other useful features: Like Zumper, Zillow allows you to set up notifications for new listings. You’re also able to call or email directly from the app.

5. Trulia Rentals

Major markets: The popular rental markets featured on the app include New York, L.A., Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and San Jose.

What it’s about: Real estate isn’t just about the place or the price—it’s about location, location, location—and Trulia provides much of that local context all in one easy-to-use place.

Standout feature: Neighborhoods offers the skinny on everything from hot new restaurants to how dog-friendly the ‘hood is, all curated from surveys and reviews from real locals who live there.

Other useful features: Filter by the usual stuff—or choose proximity to public transit (available in some metro areas).

Major markets: Although they have listings in rental markets across all 50 states, HotPads names major urban hubs like New York, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, and Philadelphia among their Top Cities.

What it’s about: Got apartment-hunting FOMO? As the name implies, the map-based app lets you know which properties are particularly “hot.” The app will share how many times a particular listing has been viewed and how many times an agent has been contacted about a property, so you know what your competition looks like.

Standout feature: Signed a lease and now looking for someone to take that second bedroom? You can also post your available rental to find a roommate to bunk up with on the app.

Other useful features: Read starred neighborhood reviews and peruse demographic highlights to get a feel for the area.

Major markets: Available in most markets. The website features listings in Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Raleigh, Charlotte, L.A., Washington D.C., Columbus, Tampa, Chicago, Miami, Austin, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, Cincinnati, and St. Paul on the front page.

What it’s about: If the anonymity of searching for an apartment on the internet feels more impersonal than convenient to you, RENTCafé may be the app for you. It features listings exclusively from property managers, so you don’t have to worry about a third-party agent who may misrepresent a place just to score a commission.

Standout feature: You can also access a secure lease and submit a rental application through the app.

Other useful features: Once you’ve moved in, RENTCafe also has a “Resident” app where you can pay your rent, submit maintenance requests, and renew your lease.

Major markets: Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Washington, D.C. are all featured on their homepage.

What it’s about: Frustrated with listings that don’t give an accurate visual representation of what an apartment looks like? Photo-based RadPad requires that each listing has at least three photos, and owners also have the option to upload a virtual tour.

Standout feature: RadPad offers tenants the ability to pay their rent online, even if their landlord doesn’t use the app. You can use any debit or credit card and easily split rent with your roommates. ACH payments are completely free.

Other useful features: Connect your RadPad to your Facebook to scope out which of your friends is also looking for a new place to live. Their blog also offers helpful tips on topics such as how to care for your stainless steel appliances and soundproofing your apartment. 

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