Look no further if you’re looking for a place to list your rental!
Finding reputable venues to list your rental property has never been easy, but it’s become significantly more difficult in recent years. Most of the ostensibly “competitive” sites are actually owned by the same businesses, which have been aggressively boosting rates. However, there are a few fresh entrants who provide cost-effective alternatives, while the heritage sites continue to receive a lot of traffic.
Best Sites for Listing your Apartment or Home for Rent in 2020:
1. Apartments.com – $$$$
Apartments.com is currently the most heavily advertised apartment website on the internet. As part of the CoStar mega-platform, they have significant finances, which has helped them constantly rank at the top of search results. That implies a lot of visitors to their site, and a lot of prospective visitors to your listing. Unfortunately for the landlord who pays for this type of advertising, Apartments.com understands the value of that traffic and charges full price for it.
Prepare to pay some of the industry’s highest charges. Also, be prepared to pay a lot of extra fees because they have a plan similar to an airline plan where you have to pay extra fees for everything. However, as we all know, it only takes one good quality enquiry to pay for the listing, and Apartments.com can generate a large volume of leads.
2. Apartment List – $$
Apartment List, as one of the few independents in the market, takes a different strategy than the majority of the other listing companies. Rather than providing simple access to listings, they take renters through a series of procedures and questions to figure out exactly what they want, and then present them with a list of options that fit their stated preferences.
The good news is that Apartment List is less expensive than some of the others, and you usually only pay if you sign a lease. However, when they find a match, they label it a lead, so be prepared for a flood of queries, not all of which are interested in your location.
3. Apartment Guide – $$$
Apartment Guide began as a street corner circular, therefore it’s possible that this is the initial listing service. It was previously part of the RentPath platform, but is now being absorbed by CoStar and will become part of the Apartments.com behemoth.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen, but if you’re searching for a listing service in the near future, Apartment Guide could be a good fit. It’s said to be particularly strong on the East Coast and in the Southeast.
4. Dwellsy – FREE
Dwellsy, the newest major on the scene, has quickly established itself as one of the largest – if not the largest – listing services. One of the reasons for their quick rise is that they operate on a distinct business model, with no fees for listings, leads, or leases. Dwellsy offers essentially everything that the others on this list do for a fee.
Furthermore, because they only present organic search results to renters and do not employ paid placements, their leads are of higher quality. The disadvantage is that Dwellsy is a newer platform that doesn’t appear to be generating the same volume of leads as the others on this list. But, with their current rate of expansion, who knows what they will be able to accomplish in the future.
5. Rent.com – $$$
Rent.com, another of the old school majors, was a part of RentPath and is currently being acquired by CoStar. Rent.com, like Apartment Guide, has been a reliable option for many years and continues to be one of the better paid listing services, especially on the east coast, where property managers report receiving more leads than on the west coast. They’ve always been stronger with smaller assets, but now that they’ve been absorbed into the CoStar platform, who knows what the future holds for them.
6. StreetEasy – $$
If you live in New York, you’ve probably heard of StreetEasy; they’re everywhere.
They were also the market leaders until recently. However, they were sold to the Zillow Group a few years ago, and what was formerly free is now not, so their inventory has been dwindling, and they no longer have the same grip on New York as they once had.
For New Yorkers, though, it’s difficult to advocate any other platform because StreetEasy still maintains a firm grip on the city’s distinctive renting market.
7. Trulia – $$$$
Trulia is a household name in the real estate industry, and one of the industry’s most revolutionary brands, yet they’ve never focused on rentals. They do, however, have one of the strongest “home” brands in the industry, as a result of which they attract a disproportionate percentage of the market. Trulia is the number two brand identified by most rental searchers, according to dozens of recent renter interviews. So, there’s a lot of traffic, but…
8. Zillow – $$$$
Today, using Trulia is the same as using Zillow — since the two are identical! Though the two brands have different looks, they share inventory, so if you buy one, you get both. In renter interviews, Zillow is by far the most popular brand in the space, with renters naming Zillow as the first place they seek for a rental 5 times more than any other. All of that brand power pays off.
Zillow, like Apartments.com, can generate a high volume of leads for high-volume properties. However, similar to Apartments.com, the price can be fairly high, but you get a lot of leads for that. Many property managers also point out that Zillow is more effective on the west coast than other sites, but has a smaller footprint on the east coast.
9. Zumper – $$
Despite the fact that Zumper has been around for more than a decade, they still consider themselves a startup. And, after the Zillow Group and CoStar, they recently raised $60 million from venture capitalists in a bid to become the new #3. What does this imply for you personally? They still have a lower traffic volume than the giants, but they can be a good value bet.
Because of their smaller scale, they are unable to charge a flat rate, so you must pay only when you receive a lease. That can get expensive quickly for larger property managers with regular rentals, but it can make sense for smaller property managers when Apartments.com charges a flat rate for a property or when you need more leads than a newer platform like Dwellsy can provide.
What about the other rental listing sites?
What about Hotpads, for example? Padmapper? Apartments with no walls? All of them are now owned by Zillow and are part of their company. What about ForRent, ApartmentFinder, Rentals.com, and Westside Rentals (if you live in Los Angeles)?
CoStar, which is focused on growing the Apartments.com brand, owns it all.
As a result, recommending any of them is difficult. What about Craigslist, the original classified ad site? Craigslist has always had a problem with fraud, but in recent years, some really clever scammers have taken control, making it impossible to recommend.
Unfortunately, there is simply too much risk.
Here’s our summary rundown of the options available to you:
- If you’ve got a big budget or you need a ton of traffic to keep your places rented, then it seems like Apartments.com or Zillow (western U.S.) are the best recommendations.
- Dwellsy is new and not driving as much volume, but since it’s free, it can’t hurt to list there, especially since the leads are so high quality.
- Zumper and ApartmentList are also out there if you’re not quite ready to spend the big bucks for the major-major platforms, but need more volume than Dwellsy can offer.
Good luck getting your place rented!