Diving into the city's housing market can be a scary prospect, made even more daunting by the fact that the available housing stock is tough to track. Aside from going straight to a building’s management company or landlord to beg for an apartment, using a website or an app is the best way to find your perfect place.
But there are so many sites to choose from in your quest to find a new home, it can be tough to figure out which ones are the best, and which ones you should avoid (ahem, Craigslist). Plus, every major brokerage in New York City—Corcoran, Douglas Elliman, Compass, Brown Harris Stevens, etc.—has its own website with apartments available to rent or buy. So how do you figure out where to start?
Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite tried and true options. But first, a tip: No one site is going to have all the rentals that are on the market, any more than a single broker would—so try all the tools that are out there. (Looking for a no-fee apartment to rent? We’ve got you covered.)
This site offers broker reviews and the option to search by fee or no fee apartments, but the most useful features are the clearly-formatted listings and the option to receive daily e-mail notifications for listings that meet one's search criteria. A prospective renter can also communicate anonymously with the brokers and landlords listing particular apartments.
StreetEasy is probably NYC’s best-known listings aggregator, tracking both sales and rentals. StreetEasy became so popular thanks, in part, to its myriad search options, which allow users to filter results by location, amenities, square footage, whether or not there’s a broker’s fee, and plenty of other criteria.
In addition to providing listings for apartments that are for sale or for rent, Localize provides information that’s pertinent to the quality of life in those neighborhoods: whether it’s bike-friendly or near a dog park, how quiet it is, and more. And once you’ve found a place, you can search the address to get details about nearby transit options, schools in the area, and other issues.
On-the-go: There is no Localize app.
Zumper’s platform is pretty straightforward, making it easy for apartment hunters to search by neighborhood, price range, number of bedrooms, and amenities. Its layout makes it easy to see the newest listings, apartments with no broker’s fee, and to schedule a tour. The website also provides easy-to-digest neighborhood reports and tracks rent trends across the city.
Renthop lets users see when new spots have been listed in real time and get in touch with the listing agent directly. It also has a “HopScore” for each apartment, which correlates to factors the site says show a listing’s quality—like how recently it was listed, or the reputation of the landlord or manager.
Triplemint prides itself on offering “pre-market access” and “personalized service” for its rental listings. The website has a map that lets you know how many listings are available within New York’s various neighborhoods; the downside is that many listings will require you to sign up before you can see more details about the property.
On-the-go: There’s no Triplemint app.
Here, you can find everything from cheap rooms for rent to apartments leasing in new rental developments. It’s pretty straightforward and does a good job at keeping a steady stream of new listings on its site, while promptly removing ones that are no longer available. You can also search for a wide variety of housing types, including sublets and income-restricted apartments.
As the name implies, this listings site is organized around a map of the five boroughs, which makes it easier if you’re looking for an apartment in a particular neighborhood. Otherwise, the search features are similar to those found on other sites—you can search by number of bedrooms, price, etc.— but you can also look for short-term rentals, too.
If you’re looking for a flexible renting situation, then Roomi is the app for you: Users are not required to sign year-long leases and can easily find something that’s more short term. There are many in-built safety mechanisms for both the renter and the person seeking a roommate in terms of background checks and an in-app payment method. You can refine your search based on the number of months you’re interested in renting, the neighborhood, price, and other metrics.
Listings project began in 2003 as an email service sent out by artist Stephanie Diamond, who shared information on listings she’d gathered from friends and other connections in a weekly email blast. Close to two decades later, the concept has essentially remained the same: You still get the email in your inbox every Wednesday, but there’s also a website where you can search for listings. The team still individually emails with everyone that’s interested in listing their apartment; this helps weed out brokers and managers and connects potential renters directly with folks looking to rent.
On-the-go: Listings Project does not have an app.
This app presents itself as an alternative to Craigslist and functions like a dating website, except that you’re there to find potential roommates. The services matches you up with potential roommates based on your budget and your living habits. You answer a series of questions about yourself, and RoomZoom provides with you a ranked list of potential roommates. All you have to do then is message the person, and see if it’s a right fit.
On-the-go: RoomZoom does not have an app.