On the hunt for an apartment? Try these 9 Craigslist alternatives (2024)

Let’s get real: Craigslist is the best way to find an apartment in the Bay Area. Replete with loads of listings and images, it’s where most people score a home in the city. But it’s not the only place to look. If you’re looking for a pad in San Francisco, give these alternative outlets a shot. While they can’t promise you a sweet deal on a living space—the median rent in San Francisco hovers around the $3,700 mark for a one-bedroom apartment—they can offer you a slew of apartments to peruse.

Besides, no one should have to sleep in a bunkbed for $1,200 per month.


This site, which is one of our favorite alternatives, has some exclusive features. It lets you draw your own neighborhood rather than sticking to the boundaries of a neighborhood that has been defined for you. (Ideal for large neighborhoods like SoMa and the Richmond.) There are property videos, 3-D tours, and more than 1,600 rentals currently available in San Francisco. There's also an option to plan your commute for each listing.


Zumper has been making a big effort in the San Francisco market with an outdoor advertising campaign. The interface is easy to use, and you can check availability of apartments and apply to most through the site itself. It also vets all of its listings, meaning that you won't get scammed. Like many other Craigslist competitors, Zumper can suffer from low inventory, and many of its listings are from the city's bigger, newer buildings.

Apartment List

Apartment List starts the rental search process with an interactive questionnaire that asks you about your ideal apartment, from size and price to pets and amenities. It even double-checks your income to make sure you are qualified for the price range you are looking at. Apartment List will email you new matches to make sure that you see all of the latest apartments that come on the market, but the downside is that you're not allowed to see your matches until you pony up your contact details.


It will only be useful if you want to move within your own neighborhood, but this local posting board often has ads from people looking for roommates. You can only sign up for the neighborhood that you currently live in, so it works as a great resource if you need to move but want to stay in the same area. Postings are irregular and there's no search tool, but you just might come across something here that doesn't show up anywhere else.


This site is based around a map search tool. It pulls data from several other sources, including Craigslist and Airbnb, to show listings. You can add filters to narrow down data both by normal search criteria like size and price and also what sites you want to pull from. There's also the option to add commute time. There are a lot of listings, but the interface isn't quite as slick as those on other sites.


Hotpads started out as a rental website but was acquired by Zillow last year and now shows properties available both to rent and buy. You can see how many people have recently looked at the listing and how often the listing's owner has been contacted lately, along with lots of stats about the neighborhood. It's easy to send the landlord a message through the site, but unfortunately many of the listings are weeks old.


The slogan of this roommate-finding website is "We take out the trash for you," meaning that humans review all roommate profiles to weed out the "scam, spam, or scum red flags." The site uses IP addresses to determine a potential roommate's exact location and has "roommate behavior ratings" that delete anyone who sounds "insincere, completely off base, or completely unwell."


This site allows people to look both for roommates and for entire places, something that many of the Craigslist competitors are missing. You can connect with other site members using social networks like Facebook to verify that people are who they say they are. Roomster has been around since 2003 and operates in 192 countries but still doesn't seem to have dethroned Craigslist as the place to go to look for a new roommate.

Facebook’s Marketplace

Facebook’s MarketPlace now comes with housing listings, including rentals. While the offerings are not as bountiful as the other sites listed above, it might have a home or two that’s not found anywhere else.

On the hunt for an apartment? Try these 9 Craigslist alternatives (2024)


How much should rent be of income? ›

It is recommended that you spend 30% of your monthly income on rent at maximum, and to consider all the factors involved in your budget, including additional rental costs like renters insurance or your initial security deposit.

How do I hunt for my first apartment? ›

10 Tips for Apartment Hunting
  1. Budget. Prior to touring apartments, know what you can afford. ...
  2. Consider the season. Most people choose to move in the warmer months so high demand can increase the price. ...
  3. Tour and Inspect. ...
  4. Measure. ...
  5. Ask Questions. ...
  6. Pet Policies. ...
  7. Research the community. ...
  8. Insurance.
Dec 20, 2022

Is apartmentguide.com a safe site? ›

We take great pride in the fact that the vast majority of listings on Rent. are legitimate; however, please be aware that some individuals may post property rental listings for the sole purpose of scamming a potential renter.

What is the best website to look for apartments in NYC? ›

Several trusted websites offer comprehensive listings to help you navigate this journey, including Zillow, Apartments.com, June Homes, uhomes, and StreetEasy.

Is 1200 rent too much? ›

A popular rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent. So if you gross $4,000 per month, your rent should ideally be $1,200 or less. Unfortunately, that's not always realistic.

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50-30-20 rule recommends putting 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. The savings category also includes money you will need to realize your future goals.

Why is apartment hunting so difficult? ›

One of the main reasons apartment hunting can be so difficult especially for beginners is because of the sheer number of options available. There are countless apartment complexes, rental websites, and property managers all vying for your attention.

How to apartment hunt like a pro? ›

16 Apartment Hunting Tips to Find Your Dream Rental
  1. Set a budget. ...
  2. Scout locations. ...
  3. Write out your rental 'wish list' ...
  4. Start your search online, but back it up with word-of-mouth recs. ...
  5. Schedule viewings. ...
  6. Don't be shy: Ask all the questions. ...
  7. Look with an eagle eye. ...
  8. Take pictures.

What is the 30% rule? ›

It's the idea that you should budget a minimum of 30% of your gross monthly income (i.e., your before-tax income) for housing costs, and it's practically a personal finance gospel. Rent calculators often use the 30% rule as a default assumption to determine how much house you can afford.

Are there fake listings on apartments com? ›

Note: We cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of listings submitted to Apartments.com, but we do monitor the site to create a safe marketplace for all. But if you come across a suspicious listing, we want to know!

How can you tell a fake rental? ›

Common signs of rental scams
  1. The listing is copied or vague. ...
  2. No lease is available. ...
  3. The address isn't verified. ...
  4. The listing agent or property manager asks you to wire money or pay in an unusual way. ...
  5. The listing agent or property manager asks for money before you sign a lease.

How do I stop being scammed when renting an apartment? ›

How to Avoid Rental Scams
  1. Check the listing for errors and accuracy. ...
  2. Visit the website of the community. ...
  3. Google the address. ...
  4. Request a tour. ...
  5. Do an online search of the rental company, property manager, or contact you're dealing with. ...
  6. Expect a credit check. ...
  7. Always sign a written lease.
Jan 25, 2023

How to find an apartment in NYC without living there? ›

Ways to Find an Apartment
  1. Real Estate Apps and Websites. There is an ever-increasing and changing set of websites and smartphone apps to help New Yorkers find a place to rent or buy. ...
  2. Brokers. ...
  3. Word-of-Mouth. ...
  4. Classified Ads. ...
  5. Walking Around. ...
  6. Housing Office. ...
  7. Finding a Vacant Apartment in Same Building. ...
  8. NYCHA.

Is 50% of your income too much for rent? ›

Here is an overview of financial guidelines for how much of your income should go to rent. The 30% rule. This classic budgeting “rule” recommends that people not spend more than 30% of their gross income on rent or housing, and it asserts that spending more can put you at a financial disadvantage.

What is the best rent to income ratio? ›

The gold standard in the industry is 30%, meaning no more than 30% of a tenant's gross income should go to rent. People who spend more than 30% of their gross income on rent are considered to be housing-cost burdened, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Is 20% of income on rent good? ›

But if you're the type of person who doesn't mind making a compromise or two to save some money on rent, 20% can be a good option for you. Spending around 30% of your income on rent is the golden rule when you're trying to figure out how much you can afford to pay.

Is the 30 rule outdated? ›

While the world of personal finance provides a percentage guideline for how much of your money should go toward housing, this rule is a little outdated in 2024. Rent prices are down from their peak in August of 2022, but they're still dramatically higher than before the pandemic.

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