How to Find an Apartment Online

Each year, more and more people are turning to the internet to find an apartment. No longer are we sifting through rental ads or driving around town trying to find “For Rent” signs. Instead, a quick google search can provide you with more options than you could have wished for. However, this can also be a drawback. With so many choices, it can be difficult to narrow down on the right apartment, and it can also be difficult to know which listings to trust. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to helping you find an apartment online! 

Know what you need How to Find an Apartment Online

Before you start searching for an apartment, you should first have an idea of the kind of apartment you’re looking for. That means figuring out a budget, deciding on features, finding a roommate (if you want one), and more. Getting these details ironed out first will help in the searching process, as many online tools provide filters you can apply (such as a one bedroom apartment, or off-street parking) to narrow down your list of choices. 

Start with apartment search websites 

If you go to Google and just type in “apartments in Buffalo,” you’re going to have so many search results you won’t know what to do with them. Instead, head to one or two apartment search websites to better control your results. These websites will typically have the filters we mentioned above so that you’re only looking at the apartments that meet your criteria. There are many types of these websites available, and they all typically have the same listings, so choose one or two of the following to get started: 
  • Apartments.com allows you to narrow down by location, the number of bedrooms, a price range, and more. It also has a map feature where you can circle a specific area and find homes just within those boundaries, as well as school scores, walkability scores, and virtual tours. 
  • Craigslist doesn’t have as sophisticated of features as some other sites, but it does have a filter features and it is one of the most commonly used sites for landlords to post their listings. 
  • Padmapper is a great starting point as it pulls listings from a number of property rental websites that you may not have seen on Apartments.com or Craigslist. Alongside a filter option, it also features “Super-Secret Advanced Features” such as commute times, crime ratings, and more. 

Watch out for scams 

Unfortunately, one of the risks of finding an apartment online are scams. While sites such as Apartments.com usually filter these out, this is not the case for Craigslist. You can usually spot a scam if the photos don’t match the description, or if the apartment just seems too good to be true.  

Read online reviews…but take them with a grain of salt 

The best way to know what an apartment complex is like is to go and visit, but if you don’t have that option, you can always read online reviews. You should, however, take online reviews with a grain of salt. Most people only ever write reviews in order to complain about something, which automatically gives things a negative tilt. Some complexes even try to counteract this by getting their employees to put up positive reviews. In that respect, overly positive and/or negative reviews should be treated with suspect. Instead, try to keep an eye out for detailed, well-balanced reviews. Additionally, if many of the reviews all complain or praise about the same thing (for example, if multiple reviews complain about bugs), you can safely bet that those complaints or praises are honest. 

If you can’t visit in person, get a virtual tour 

If you’re moving across the country, chances are you won’t be able to go and visit the apartment in person before you sign your lease. If this is the case, try and get a virtual tour. Many complexes often have virtual tours of their apartments up on their website or on sites like Apartments.com. If they don’t, call the leasing office and see what they can do to help, even if it’s just doing a video chat as a leasing agent shows off the apartment.  At Sinatra & Company Real Estate, we have many of our apartment listings available on our website, and all of our leasing agents are available online or by phone to help you with your online search. For more information, contact us today!