There are lots of online tools you can use to find the perfect rental space, but because there are so many to choose from, we want to make your search a little easier, so we're conducting reviews of the search tools in order to help you decide which ones will work best for your particular needs. Here, we review the features and highlight the pros and cons of the rental search tool, Apartments.com.
We put the tool through a rigorous trial, looking for a short-term rental that allows pets and is in a walkable neighborhood. We also have a limited budget and would prefer an area that is community oriented. It's a pretty long list so let's see how Apartments.com stacks up against the rest.
Overview of Apartments.com
The first thing we noticed when searching using Apartments.com is that the majority of the apartments are complexes. We did find a couple of houses, but it's unclear whether these are homes for rent that are actually available or are just on their listing. Since the house asks that you contact the landlord directly, it's probably not an updated posted, meaning the property may not be available even though it's on the map.
Since they list mostly apartment complexes, Apartments.com can offer deals and savings if you rent a place through the site. A great way to save some money right upfront.
Like most search tools, Apartments.com offers the standard search parameters, such as a number of bedrooms, bathrooms, price range and additional amenities. Clicking the filter menu you can do a more targeted search. In our case, we have cats, so we could easily check the cat-box. If you have pets, it's important that the search function allows you to select either cats or dogs or both.
Map and listings
Once you've entered the city and checked all the necessary boxes in order to narrow your search to your specifications, then you're provided with a list of apartments that you can then click on to obtain more information. Prices are provided and unit size as well. On the same page, you'll see a map of the area with the apartments listed on the page located on the map. The map uses icons to show which complexes have availability and which don't. This is helpful to map where the apartments are located regardless of vacancy status.
Allows you to narrow your search to specific neighborhoods
Provides opportunities to save money on rent and deposits
Updates have included the ability to map amenities in the area
Easy-to-use search function
Mostly displays large complex apartment rentals
Limited neighborhood information
We did like using Apartments.com, but we found some features lacking, like a complete list of houses, condos, or townhouses for rent. Recent updates include reviews of the apartments, the ability to see all rentals on one map with listings updated as you move around the map or zoom in.
The site also now provides an accompanying map that shows you local amenities in the area, such as grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops. What they show is very limited; for instance, where we live right now, we can walk to lots of shops and restaurants, plus our local fitness club, but many independent shops, cafes, and restaurants aren't on the map. Looking at our current neighborhood, you'd think that there isn't much around that we can walk to, but that's just not the case.
While we can recommend Apartments.com, there are better tools out there that automatically link to Walkscore and that show all currently available units for any given area.