Best websites to find apartments for rent in NYC

By Najah Ayoub

Best places to find rental properties in NYCIf you’re moving to NYC, looking for an apartment to rent is likely high on your relocation checklist. In that search, you’re not alone. A large majority of New York’s population are renters, that means that there’s a lot of locations to sort through when it comes to finding a place to rent — and there’s a lot of competition when finding a rental.

To be prepared for your search and increase the likelihood that you’ll find a fitting place to call your own, it’s wise to narrow your search criteria to what meets your needs and doesn’t break the bank. That way, you can check out the listings that check all your boxes as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss the perfect rental by casting too broad of a search, because available spots can be leased quickly in some areas.

Determining your search criteria

Your first step, before even viewing available listings, is to better understand what you’re looking for in a rental. Answering these questions will help maximize time and effort in your search:

  • What do you want out of a neighborhood? Would you prefer to be in a particular part of the city because of its proximity to your place of employment? Perhaps the duration of your daily commute doesn’t matter much to you, but being close to exciting events and activities does. Knowing what your priorities are regarding where your dwelling is in the city is one way to narrow down the list of rentals.
  • What are your must-haves and would-like-to-haves in an actual apartment? What would make an apartment a perfect place to live? Do you need a certain number of bedrooms? Is accessibility (read: elevators or first floor apartments) a necessity? Maybe you’re flexible on “needs” but you’d really love to be able to do your laundry without leaving the building if possible. Or maybe having a built-in dishwasher would be really nice. Considering what are necessary and nice-to-have amenities can also be key criteria for your search.
  • What’s your budget? Considering what you can pay for a place to live, in relation to your other financial obligations, will be a big deciding factor in what housing options are reasonable for you. Further, it pays to know what upfront fees may be involved in securing a rental — such as security deposits and brokers fees. You’ll definitely want to consider your maximum dollar amount for monthly rent in relation to your overall budget as well.

Where to Look for NYC Rentals:

Once you know your budget, apartment needs/wants, and possible neighborhoods of interest, you can use them as criteria to inform your search. Whichever resources you use for your search, it’s good to keep in mind that no one resource will have every listing that meets your criteria. It’s not a bad idea to use multiple tools you have at your disposal to maximize your chances of finding the best place for you.

Though it’s not an exhaustive list, here’s a few resources to get you started:

For more general rental searches, that include plentiful search filters for amenities:

  • Street Easy: This is one of the biggest aggregators for real estate listings in NYC. It includes detailed information about apartment buildings and estimated proximity to nearby parks, schools, and even museums.
  • Zumper: With many search filters, this broad resource is worth checking out even though it’s not specific to just NYC listings. Like some other aggregator resources, some listings are exclusive to the site and you can see price trends to determine if you’re getting the best deal on rent.
  • HotPads: May be a good resource for those looking at all rental options from single rooms to rent and full apartments. Listings also indicate how recently they were posted, so you can keep your search as fresh as possible.
  • RentHop: This NYC-specific site has comprehensive listings, which includes a price comparison to the median rent in the neighborhood. It also includes a score related to landlords reputation and the quality of the listing.
  • Zillow: A popular and trusted rental listing search engine not only for NYC. There are plenty of property types on this listing site.

For finding apartment listings that don’t require a broker’s fee (“no fee” apartments) be sure to be careful of many scams:

  • Craigslist:It may not just be for searching for second-hand furniture or other treasures from local sellers. No-fee rental listings can be found on this site, particularly from individual apartment owners.
  • Transparentcity: This site is fully dedicated to featuring “no-fee” listings directly from landlords and property management companies in NYC. A great place to look if you’re only in the market for those listings without the help of a broker.
  • NY Bits: For a pared-down search experience, this site features over half of their listings as “no-fee”

If you’re in the market for some special requirements:

  • Listings Project: You can sign up for a weekly email newsletter to receive a carefully curated list of job, opportunity, and real estate listings with artists and creatives in mind. All listings are for “no-fee” rentals.
  • Gobii: This resource has very specific search filters that go beyond rent amount and borough. For example, you can search by proximity to a specific subway line, elevator availability, concierge or doorman, terrace, roof deck, and much, much more.

For getting a feel for the space and neighborhood:

  • Frele: In addition to many search filters, each listing includes video of the apartment for rent so you get more out of your online search than a few photos.
  • Localize: Listings on this site include information about recent violations, building complaints, and reviews about safety, services, and the landlord from actual neighbors!

Short-term rentals:

  • Leasebreak: If you’re in the market for a monthly rental or sublease, this may be a good resource for you. The site states that about half of their listings are furnished short-term apartments and half are listed by tenants who want to break their lease and find a qualified renter to take over.

After narrowing down the listings of interest, it’s not a bad idea to go see all the ones that might potentially work for you with a visit in-person. Many of the sites will give you an opportunity to communicate with the broker or listing agent to inquire about the rental availability and to schedule a viewing.

Ready to make your move?

Once you’ve found your perfect pad and have signed on the dotted line, Piece of Cake Moving and Storage has the know-how and services to make your move a breeze. If all you need is moving supplies (or the eco-friendly reusable plastic moving bin rental service), we’ve got you covered. But, we can also take care of all the details of your move, including packing, unpacking, and storage, if you’d rather get to enjoying your new NYC space sooner.


Ready to make a move? Get in touch today for an obligation-free guaranteed flat price moving quote.

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