What Websites to Use to Find a Home to Rent
Are you wondering what is the best website for finding rental homes?
When looking for a rental house for your next move, it can be challenging to know where to start.
While there seem to be countless options to help people find rental apartments, houses can be more difficult to find.
The best way to find houses for rent and probably the easiest is to search online using a rental listing website that helps you narrow down your search.
Online tools are the top way renters shop for a house to rent. Ninety percent of Millenial renters, 88 percent of Generation Z, 79 percent of Generation X, and 70 percent of Baby Boomers use rental listing websites. That’s a lot of people!
But what are the best rental home sites to help you find your perfect house?
When you’ve decided on renting a house and not an apartment, you’ll want to know the best rental websites.
We will help you choose your best site to search rental homes and show you what you need to do to narrow down your search.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how to find home rentals.
The Best Home Rental Sites
Rental sites give you many options to search for your ideal home. The best sites allow you to narrow your search to the exact ZIP code and the number of bedrooms, facilities, and amenities you require.
Some of the best rental listing websites will offer floor plans or a virtual tour so you can visually see property listings before visiting them in person. Let’s dive into some of the best houses for rent sites.
Multiple Listing Services
One of the best places to find your next rental home is the Multiple Listing Service. While the MLS is one of the best websites to find a home for sale, it’s also a good destination for rental houses.
What initially began as a way for real estate agents to network is now an online database that links up with more than 700 local services. You want to search for the listing service that serves the local area that you want to live in. You can access this through a local real estate agent’s website or possibly the city’s website.
Real Estate professionals will typically offer prospective renters access to their website if they’re actively participating in finding rental homes. Some agents choose to strictly work in the home sale end of the business and not rentals.
Other agents may choose to work with property owners only and not prospective tenants.
One of the best house rental sites is Zillow. Zillow has been in business since 2004 and is one of the best-known real estate marketplaces.
Landlords can list their property to rent through Zillow Rental Manager.
Zillow uses a map-based system to help you better narrow down your search to the area you want to live in.
Zoom in on a particular area to see all the available homes, then narrow down your search further. The map view is one of the best features for finding a new home to rent.
You can also search using a ZIP code or city name and filter out properties that do not meet your criteria, like price range, the number of bedrooms, or the home size.
They also have a mobile app that you can use to look for new listings right from your phone. The site has one of the largest databases making it one of the best sites to search rental homes.
If your long-term plan is to own a home, you might also be able to find a rent-to-own home.
Trulia is one of Zillow’s partner sites and is considered one of the best house rental sites. It is also one of the most popular real estate sites in general.
Trulia can be an excellent tool when you need help with finding a house to rent. It isn’t specifically a rental search website but has numerous rental units to comb through, similar to Zillow.
Some folks like Trulia because of how they display their search results.
Apartments.com should be on your list when looking for home rental websites.
Apartments.com has been around for a long time, starting in 1992. Given the site’s name, you may think it is exclusively for apartment listings, but that’s not the case.
The site charges $29, allowing renters to apply for up to 10 rental homes each month. While this might seem expensive compared to no fees to use other websites, the charge includes comprehensive screening reports, including credit and a background check through TransUnion.
You also only need to fill out an application form once, with your details being saved and used for additional applications. The site has more than 1.4 million listings, including all different types of single-family homes.
It allows you to search by property type to find the best deals in your price range.
This home rental website also streamlines signing your lease and even paying your rent, removing a lot of the hassle of finding a rental property.
Craigslist is the best site to find a rental home for properties not associated with a real estate company. Homeowners looking to rent their property will use Craigslist to get the word out on their house rental.
The site is one of the best places to find private landlords.
Using Craigslist to search for a rental property can be an excellent place to start, but it isn’t without its risks. Unlike many other options, listings aren’t checked, which is something that could be exploited to scam renters.
When you meet the landlord, meet them in public and bring someone else with you. Ask plenty of questions, so you know exactly what you are getting, and make sure you have a written lease that sets out the rental terms.
But even with his risks, you could find a good deal on your next rental through Craigslist.
When looking for where to find house rentals, you may not have considered Facebook Marketplace. Like Craigslist, there will be homes for rent from owners who choose not to work with a real estate agent or property managers for their rentals.
It is the perfect place to try if you want to work directly with a homeowner.
With Facebook Marketplace, you can shop by category, such as if you are specifically looking for a three-bedroom or a four-bedroom house.
You can also use the search tools to filter by price on what you can afford for rent.
Facebook Marketplace may not be the best place to search for rentals, but you may get lucky finding something in your area.
If you need a no-credit-check property, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist will probably increase your odds of finding a landlord who may consider it.
Look at the advice for increasing your odds of landing a home when you don’t have great credit.
Whether renting a home or buying one, it makes sense to work on increasing your credit score. You’ll find that Credit Karma can be beneficial.
Without a doubt, Zumper is one of the best rental homesites. Millions of potential renters use Zumper. As far as rental search engines go, Zumper is top-notch.
Zumper allows you to set real-time alerts so you’ll get notified when a new home for rent is listed. Their online tools will quickly enable you to search by your price range, location, bedroom count, whether it needs to be pet-friendly, and more.
When looking for the best website for rentals, you’re bound to come across Zumper. It is a rental platform that has become extremely popular.
Rent.com has been designed to target millennials and first-time renters to guide them and connect them with suitable properties. To achieve this, Rent.com has first-time renter guides to educate millennial renters. Rent.com also has a good set of options to narrow down the search.
If, for example, you want to home with hardwood floors, you can filter your search to just properties that offer that. While this site may not have as many properties as others we’ve looked at, it might be just the sort of thing you are looking for.
If you have specific needs for your next home to rent, it may be a helpful place to look.
While the main focus of Realtor.com is homes for sale, you can find rentals listed as well. Though you probably don’t want to make this your only source of rental listings, it can be a great additional place to check.
It is considered one of the best websites for rentals because it has a feed from every MLS listing service in the country.
When a real estate agent lists a property to rent in the local MLS, it will appear on Realtor.com.
The site offers a lot of detail with their listings, allowing you to pinpoint clearly if this is the sort of home you want to rent.
For example, if you are looking specifically for pet-friendly rentals, real estate agents can delineate that when listing a house rental.
Through rentals.com, you can find houses for rent as well as condos and townhouses. The site carries listings in some of the most popular cities in the United States.
You can easily narrow down your house rental search by choosing what is most essential to you.
You can search by price range, the number of bedrooms, pet policy, and other crucial criteria.
Even though HotPads has more apartments than houses, it could be worth a look.
The website does have some other excellent features, however, like being able to quickly check how long your commute to work will take using different methods of transportation.
Like Hotpads, Padmapper has a greater focus on finding the best apartment to rent. There is a large selection of apartment complexes to rent. However, there are houses to rent as well.
Like Zillow, PadMapper also uses a map-based interface to make searching easier. Their map features are excellent, making it a great way to look for homes near other amenities you might be interested in.
Maybe you’re interested in finding out how close public transit is nearby or the best grocery stores?
They also have a slider to set the rental range you are looking for and other options to cut out the homes that aren’t suitable in your chosen area.
While Airbnb is known for vacation rentals, it also allows long-term stays. Also, if you only need a rental for a short amount of time, it makes sense to choose this site for more flexible landlords.
When you are looking specifically for short-term rentals, Airbnb is where you will want to look. It has a significant amount of monthly visits for a good reason.
There are also many properties listed, making it easier to find a rental exactly where you need it.
Search Rental Homes Near Me
Another method of finding home rentals is doing a Google search for them.
When you have pinpointed the area where you want to live, you can also try an online search before hitting some of the most popular websites for rentals. A good search term to plug into Google is rental homes near me.
You should see some results for local property rentals. If you are looking for private landlords, try rental homes near me by owner. Another good choice is rental single-family homes near me.
How to Find Your Ideal Rental House
To take the stress out of searching for your next rental home, follow our steps:
1. Pinpoint The Are You Want to Live In
Most of the sites we’ve featured will let you narrow down your search using ZIP codes, so you don’t waste your time searching for homes too far away from where you want to live.
If you don’t already know the area well, you want to do your research in advance by visiting the area at different times of the day. Doing so should show you if it has the amenities you want and if the area is the sort of neighborhood you want to live in.
You might also want to try Walk Score, a fantastic site that will give you the distance to your favorite amenities.
2. Select Your Best Website For Rentals
Pay a visit to whichever website we’ve listed that seems to meet your requirements. Enter the zip code of the area you want to search, and make sure you search for rentals instead of houses for sale.
3. Narrow Down The Search
Use the filters the site has available to reduce the number of results. Even if you aren’t entirely sure about all of the things you want to filter out, you can narrow down your search by the number of bedrooms and possibly cost.
If the site also allows you to filter the search criteria by the amenities available, do that.
The more filters you can use to narrow down your search will make it easier to search listings for the home that’s right for you.
4. Review The Listings
Now that you have fewer results go through the listings you like the most. Check the photographs to see if the home looks like the place you want to live in, but also pay attention to the description.
While many house rental listings do not provide you with a floor plan, reading the description should indicate what the home is like.
The description could also reveal some other pieces of information the photographs don’t show. It could tell you something that makes a difference between your next rental home and one that is utterly wrong for you.
5. Search Other Websites
Even if you think you’ve found a good selection of properties, check other websites as well. Not every website will have every rental property in the area you want to live in, and studying different sites could pay off finding a home that best fits your expectations.
You may think you’ve found the best website for rentals but could miss out on your dream home but not do a broader search.
Even if you find the same home listed on another website, check that listing as well. You might find additional information not shown when you first saw the house on the previous website.
6. Touring The Rentals You Like
When you have your shortlist of properties that fit your requirements, you can request a tour of your favorites. Your job during a house tour is to try and decide if the home is right for you, but as well as that, you have to check the home is in good working order.
You can point it out if you find issues like broken windows, locks, electrical switches, or anything else. If the problem requires any severe improvement, it’s a good idea to have it included in the lease agreement to ensure it gets completed.
When you have found the rental house you want to move into, you will be able to fill out the rental application and pay fees online.
8. Do a Comparative Market Analysis
Once you have found a house to rent, it will be wise to see if the asking price makes sense. There is no doubt you’ll have to pay what the landlord is asking for rent in a hot seller’s market.
However, if the market is not crazy, you might want to ask your real estate agent to do a competitive market analysis to make sure you’re not overpaying on the rent.
9. Find Out The Requirements For Renting The House
Find out the specific rental requirements once you’ve identified the property you would like to rent. Speak to either the owner, property manager or real estate agent.
Get a list of things that will be required in order to complete the rental process. Understand the rental agreements before signing them.
Questions to Ask Before Renting a House
Before renting a house, these are some of the questions you’ll want to get answered by the owner or property manager.
- What utilities, if any, are included in the monthly rent?
- How much security deposit will I need to pay?
- How quickly will the security deposit be released to me when I am done renting?
- When is the rent due each month?
- How will I need to pay the rent?
- Is there any grace period for late rental payments?
- What is your pet policy?
- Is there a homeowners association and specific rules I should be familiar with?
- Do I need renter’s insurance? Is there a minimum coverage amount?
- Is there anything I can’t do, such as painting various rooms?
- How much notice will you give me when entering the property?
- Am I able to rent a room to a friend?
- How quickly will you respond when there is some problem?
- What is considered an emergency?
- Will you consider extending the lease if needed?
- What is the procedure when I decide to move out?
These questions should be answered to your satisfaction before renting a house.
Helpful Moving Resources
- One of the most vital tasks when moving is to forward your mail and have a change of address checklist. You want to ensure that you get all your critical mail, especially bills, so your credit score doesn’t get dinged.
- Hiring movers: another critical task is to find one of the best moving companies. See our guide to know some of the highly-rated movers, whether moving locally or long-distance.
While finding an apartment is more straightforward than searching for houses to rent, there are still many options. Use our list of rental websites to help you find the one that you find easiest to use.
Narrow down your search to create a list of potential rental properties in your desired neighborhood. Then with your shortlist, you can begin the process of visiting them to make your final choice.
You should now have a much better understanding of how to find house rentals.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on the best rental listing sites was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for 35+ years.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.