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 to avoid being scammed on Craigslist rental? ›

Always check the property's address on search sites, and if you can, research the owner. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers want to attract you with amazing amenities, luxurious homes, and great deals. If the landlord makes the rental too easy, then you should be careful.

How much should rent be of income? ›

A popular standard for budgeting rent is to follow the 30% rule, where you spend a maximum of 30% of your monthly income before taxes (your gross income) on your rent. This has been a rule of thumb since 1981, when the government found that people who spent over 30% of their income on housing were "cost-burdened."

What is the best website to find apartments in NY? ›

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

How do I hunt for my first apartment? ›

We made the process simple, so you can get back to finding your new place (and avoid any unnecessary renter's headaches).
  1. Determine Your Budget. ...
  2. Check Your Credit. ...
  3. View Multiple Rentals. ...
  4. Consider Roommates. ...
  5. Consider a Cosigner. ...
  6. Gather Your References. ...
  7. Check Out the Neighborhood. ...
  8. Check All the Websites.
Jul 12, 2022

How to verify a rental is legit? ›

Talk with neighbors about the property and ask who owns it, and ask a lot of questions about the rental history of the property. If dealing with a property manager or leasing agent (who does not live at the property), look them up on the CalBRE website (www.bre.ca.gov) to see if they are licensed.

How do you know if a buyer is scamming you on Craigslist? ›

Craigslist does not back any transaction on its site. If you receive an email or text trying to sell you purchase protection, you're looking at a scam. There is no such thing as a Craigslist voicemail service. If a contact asks you to access or check your “Craigslist voicemails,” you're dealing with a scammer.

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50/30/20 budget rule states that you should spend up to 50% of your after-tax income on needs and obligations that you must have or must do. The remaining half should be split between savings and debt repayment (20%) and everything else that you might want (30%).

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.

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

The 30% rule says no more than 30% of your gross monthly income. The 50/30/20 rule says to allocate 50% of your income to necessary expenses, including rent.

Where is the best place to rent in New York? ›

Best Places to Rent a Home in New York City
  • Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
  • Lower East Side, Manhattan.
  • Park Slope, Brooklyn.
  • Sunnyside, Queens.
  • Washington Heights, Manhattan.
Mar 28, 2024

How to get an apartment in New York right now? ›

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.

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 popular rule of thumb when renting an apartment? ›

How much should you spend on rent? It depends. One popular guideline is the 30% rent rule, which says to spend around 30% of your gross income on rent. So if you earn $3,200 per month before taxes, you could spend about $960 per month on rent.

Should I dress up to tour an apartment? ›

It's always best to look clean and presentable when touring. Dressing formally is not required. Jeans, a nice shirt, and nice shoes will suffice. There's no formal dress code, but you want to look like the type of person someone might want to rent to.

How do I stop being scammed for rent? ›

Protect yourself from scams
  1. Never deal in cash. ...
  2. Never rent sight-unseen. ...
  3. Don't provide confidential info that can be used for identity theft. ...
  4. Meet the landlord in person. ...
  5. Speak with the current tenants. ...
  6. Conduct basic research. ...
  7. Be aware of too-good-to-be-true rent rates. ...
  8. Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics.

How do I deal with a scammer on Craigslist? ›

Craigslist Scam Alert

If you suspect that an item posted for sale on Craigslist may be part of a scam, please e-mail the details to abuse@craigslist.org. Be sure to include the URL (or 10-digit post ID number) in your message. Please use the “spam” flag link in the top right corner of a spam posting.

What to do with Craigslist scammer? ›

If you're the victim of a scam, make sure to: Flag the listing on Craigslist by clicking the red flag icon so that you can warn others. Also send a detailed report to Craigslist. Report the scam to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint.

How do you avoid getting scammed? ›

Avoiding Scams and Scammers
  1. Do not open email from people you don't know. ...
  2. Be careful with links and new website addresses. ...
  3. Secure your personal information. ...
  4. Stay informed on the latest cyber threats. ...
  5. Use Strong Passwords. ...
  6. Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs.


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