don't say craigslist
January 19, 2012 1:18 PM   Subscribe

i am looking for an apartment and don't want to use craigslist. can you recommend anything but craigslist?

it seems craigslist has the market cornered. i don't understand this because its a terrible website. besides that i've already checked craigslist, of course.
posted by skwint to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Many other options are much worse and are pay-to-post (Craigslist isn't, most places). Where do you live? Why are you there? Other apartment-finding services will depend on those points.
posted by nat at 1:22 PM on January 19, 2012

Where are you located?

There are lots of options if you are looking for an apartment building, depending on where you live. Online 'apartment finders' like,, and your local newspaper website. Commercial apartment finders who are payed a fee by the building manager. Just driving around the neighborhood you want to live in.

If you are looking for an apartment house to rent, I've had luck with my paper's online classifieds. Once I find a listing agent who works in the neighborhood I want to live in, they'll have tons of houses to show, and again they're payed by the management company.
posted by muddgirl at 1:22 PM on January 19, 2012

Where do you live? Lots and lots of towns have local websites that are better than Craigslist, but we can't help you find 'em if we don't know where you live!

It contains Craigslist results, but Padmapper is amazing. It places results from multiple websites on a zoomable map of your town, so you can see exactly where they all are.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

You might also want to check your local phone book for contact information of property managers. Give some of them a call to inquire about vacancies.
posted by nerdcore at 1:24 PM on January 19, 2012

Have you tried Kijiji? There's often better pictures, information, and general friendliness!
posted by cassini at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2012

Where are you looking for an apartment?

I guess most of the alternatives will be somewhat more local. For instance in Baltimore there are a number of property management companies that manage many different properties (but don't themselves own them), so their websites are one source of semi-aggregated listings. Also, there are lots of signs on buildings in the neighborhood I live in.
posted by advil at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2012

Go to Contact one of the agents representing a property and they will be able to show you all other MLS properties in your area. The selection generally isn't as good as Craigslist but it can be a more "civilized" experience.
posted by The Lamplighter at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2012

Used to be that when you were searching for something like this, you'd go to the classified advertisement pages in your newspaper, printed on real genuine newspring. I know that's pretty retro, but it may still work.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:37 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also wanted to recommend Padmapper. It uses Craigslist postings, but it's about a million times easier to filter results.
posted by pemberkins at 1:39 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the last city in which I lived, a sort of smaller city away from major metro, Craigslist had not really fully taken off with landlords, who were mostly homeowners and not multiproperty companies. They were still pretty loyal to the local newspaper. The newspaper's listings were reproduced in the online paper. The deals and listings in the paper were always, always better than those on Craigslist. This depends on how good your local paper is, but it was a good lesson that Craigslist hasn't cornered every market.

Use word of mouth, and also find the bulletin boards that are most used in the area. If you don't see apartment for rent signs, consider putting up your own "apartment wanted" signs.
posted by Miko at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2012

Another vote for Padmapper! Bigger cities tap into more of the website's features, like mass transit overlays and walkability from place to place.

It's amazing.
posted by Chutzler at 1:57 PM on January 19, 2012

Pick up actual paper copies of newspapers for your city. A lot of older landlords aren't internet savvy and still place paper ads. Plus, I've found that the listings there are cheaper, because the same folks who don't use the internet also often don't understand when their neighborhood has become more popular in recent years, so they haven't raised the rent to market levels.
posted by decathecting at 2:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Start researching property management companies in your area, and find their websites. They will often have the vacancies of their properties available from their websites.

Otherwise, walk around your desired neighbourhood looking for for-rent signs.
posted by cgg at 3:04 PM on January 19, 2012 is a great site. A bit like padmapper, but I believe picks up more than just craigslist. Loads of stats on each property too.
posted by atlantica at 3:14 PM on January 19, 2012

Start researching property management companies in your area, and find their websites.

Another great tip like that is to look for your basic realtors. I didn't realize this til last time I moved, but almost all realtors who mainly specialize in home sales also carry rental listings. They are often the first to know about potential vacancies (as when a sale moves a house from an owner-occupied to rental property) and can hook you up. Some charge a broker fee. Many list rentals on their websites and often have really thorough listings. THey will also sometimes pre-screen listings for you if you tell them what you want in terms of size, location, monthly rent ballpark, etc.
posted by Miko at 3:53 PM on January 19, 2012

Look for listings in the local university newspaper's ad section (online or in print).

Use Craigslist only for surveillance in the sublet section. See where people are listing sublets for, and then check out those apartment complexes independently. This is how I found my current apartment complex - they never advertise themselves and I would have never heard of them but for seeing a sublet ad on Craigslist.

Drive around and see if there are any signs up advertising apartments.

Tell future/current colleagues, friends, etc. about your apartment hunt as they may know of a place.
posted by vegartanipla at 4:12 PM on January 19, 2012

Whatever local colleges/universities there are may have a section on their website. I think the bigger the school, the more likely they are to have this. My school has a very nice, searchable website.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely depends where you live and what you're looking for. Check the local papers, freebie magazines, etc. If you want to live in a big complex, websites like and are a good place to start.
posted by radioamy at 8:45 AM on January 20, 2012

I didn't see anyone mention Trulia. It's not bad. Just be sure to specify what property type you're looking for so you don't get homes if you prefer only apartments.
posted by kpetrich at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: thank you everyone!
posted by skwint at 4:47 AM on April 10, 2012

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