If you're moving to a new city or town, or to another state or to another country, and you need to find a rental home, there are a lot of great online tools that can help make the task a lot easier. Hot Pads is an online search device that will allow you to determine your particular features, including price, size, and location, and the ability to map the options.
HotPads.com is only available for those renters in the United States. With that said, Hot Pads offers some great features that make finding a rental a lot easier than pounding the pavement or hunting through pages and pages on Craigslist.
Before you start selecting parameters, choose the state where you'll be moving, and then zoom into the city or area you're considering. Once you've located the correct spot, set your personal parameters.
If you just want to perform a simple and quick search, enter information regarding price range, number of bedrooms, and any keywords that are important to you, such as "beach" or "garage." Just remember that the more keywords you use, the fewer options you'll have to choose from.
Use the zoom tool to locate available apartments. Hover over the house or apartment icon for quick info, such as cost and number of bedrooms. If you want more details, click the icon and a call-out box will appear with a picture, if available, price and size information, address and contact phone number, plus a clickable link that will show more details in a separate box. The detailed information box appears next to the map, so you don't need to open up more tabs or windows.
If you have more specifications, there is an "advanced" link that will take you to features not listed in the quick search tool. If you need a space that allows pets, for instance, or care what kind of rental it is—apartment vs condo vs house, for instance—then you'll need to select options from the advanced form.
You can also select personal options to customize your search history, allowing you to remove those apartments you've already viewed or your favorite listings just to make your search that much easier.
You can also choose to look at the text and pictures in a list format. This preference is best if you've narrowed down the neighborhood enough or know exactly where you want to live before you start searching.
HotPads.com also has a free account sign-up that allows you to save searches and options and to return to view listings you've kept on file. Setting up an account also allows you to receive email alerts about new listings in your chosen area. This is a great feature that can save you a lot of time.
There's a feature on HotPads.com that shows apartment rentals as colored dots with the color indicating the price in comparison to surrounding rentals. For instance, a red dot indicates that that rental property is high compared to other rentals that would then be listed as green or blue. It's a great way to quickly see how expensive neighborhoods are in comparison to other areas.
Add Custom Points
If you have places that you want to include in your search, you can add your points to the map. The search will then highlight all those rentals that surround that point so you can ensure an easy commute to work, school, the gym, or your favorite coffee shop.