“Where do people find their apartments these days?”

by Prince Of Petworth June 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm 34 Comments


“Losing a long time tenant in our 2BR and after glancing at Craigslist – where we’ve found great tenats in the past – I can’t imagine who is looking at all those glossy listings.

Are we out of touch and have to up our game – or is there somewhere that real people go to find apartments?”

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  • skj84

    RadPad, Roomster and Cozy are great non craigslist options. And if you have belong to any social groups on Facebook and in real life, word of mouth!

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      Oh, that reminds me. We also posted in the Queer Housing Exchange on FB and had a few leads there as well!

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    We found our tenant on CL. We also posted on zillow, postlets, and padmapper. We had responses from all the sites, but I’d say the most came from CL.

  • anon101

    Everyone I know who rents still mostly uses Craigslist to find new places, so it’s probably still a good idea to post an ad there.

  • Anon Spock

    Take good pictures, be honest with the description, and set a fair price…cl has been fine for me to find tenants and apartments.

  • SaraEP

    I found my new place on Craigslist. I knew what neighborhoods I would consider living in so I just typed those names in to the search. RadPad is great but I found most people didn’t leave phone numbers and were unresponsive to emails. Also, if your neighborhood has a forum you could post something there.

  • Erin

    As a renter who is unlikely to become an owner any time in the near future, CL is pretty much the only place I will look. I don’t want a building with amenity fees. I just want a real human being as a landlord. I actually prefer the non-fancy ads, too! Easier to read, less possibility of missing important info.
    As long as you’ve got (lots of) good photos, CL should work out.
    PS – longtime friend moving to DC soon for a new job at a law firm is looking! What neighborhood is this? :)

    • HillEast

      when are they moving? we have a free bedroom on Capitol Hill available August 1st.

      • Erin

        Sometime in August I believe. I do think she’s looking for an apartment to herself, though. Thanks for looking out!

        • eckingtonamy

          hi! i have a 1br condo i am renting out with availability sept 1 in van ness if your friend is interested

  • Mug of Glop

    I found both of my DC apartments so far on Craigslist. Most everyone I know that doesn’t rent from a large apartment building/complex found theirs on CL as well, and most people I know that are renting, subletting, and looking for roommates also post those ads on CL.

    But yeah, like Anon Spock says above, post a good description, including good photos of a clean-ish apartment, give a good description of the place, and at least put the block the unit’s on, if not the actual address, people will snap it up in no time if the price is right.

  • Hill Denizen

    A lot of the glossy listing are also scams. Sound like a human, provide a decent description, and include pictures and you’re going to get a ton of interest. It doesn’t hurt to list in other places, but Craigslist is still king.

    • elly2

      Yeah, I usually ignore the glossy listings, or anything posted 5 times a day. I am always specifically looking for postings from an individual owner.

  • anon


  • textdoc

    Not sure what kind of glossy listings you’re looking at, but if your rental is priced correctly and your listing has decent photos (they don’t have to be fancy), you should get some “bites” — there are LOTS of people looking on Craigslist this time of year.

  • Andie302

    You can also go into the housing wanted section of craigslist and see if anyone has posted something that matches the description of your place. I’ve found a couple tenants that way without the hassle of posting the ad and wading through a ton of responses.

  • Nancy

    I don’t go near Craig’s List – fear of all the bad things I’ve heard about it I guess. So I am a fan of the glossy listings. That’s how I’ve gotten 3 of my last 4 places, loved them all.

    • textdoc

      What bad things have you heard about it? (Are you the same Nancy who’s a longtime resident of Adams Morgan?)

      • Nancy

        Oh just those lovely news stories of women killed by men they met on Craig’s List. Or apartments listed on Craig’s List for rent that actually belong to other people who are away, etc. Of course media loves those stories.

        And yes, the same Nancy who loves her Adams Morgan.

        • textdoc

          I think your Craigslist fears are about 15 years out of date. The main thing for prospective renters to look out for is scam ads.
          I suppose there’s more risk in Craigslist ads for prospective renters than there is for prospective landlords. But the OPs are prospective landlords. So it makes sense for them to advertise on Craigslist, and to provide enough information, details, etc. that potential renters think it sounds like a legitimate place rather than a scam.

        • textdoc

          The main Craigslist-associated danger these days is with people who advertise expensive items (say, a smartphone), get the victim to meet them someplace relatively isolated (I think this happened once in the parking lot of the Harriet Tubman Elementary School), and then rob them of the hundreds of dollars of cash they brought for the transaction.
          For this reason, MPD is now offering the district police stations (if I remember correctly — the details might be off) as “safe places” for Craigslist buying/selling transactions.

        • Anon Spock

          I’ve always heard the murders coming from sex or buying/selling items. Never heard of such from an apt.

          • textdoc

            That too — I think the murders were mainly associated with people offering massage/prostitution services.

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            There’s a big case up here right now. This poor guy went to show the truck he was selling to two guys one night never came back. The two guys are on trial for his murder. (Tim Bosma trial if you’re interested)

    • CHGal

      I can’t imagine life without CL. Apartments, jobs, buying/selling, and of course, missed connections!

    • Hill Denizen

      I think the glossy listings the OP is talking about are the fancy looking listings on Craigslist. Those always seem shady. It doesn’t sound like he/she is referring to ads from management companies or building websites.

  • MFinSW

    I just moved in April (I am no longer actually in SW… perhaps should change my username) – and after living in a terribly-run building, wanted an actual human being as my landlord, which I found on Craigslist. I looked at other sites somewhat (on PoPville, Apartments.com and Zillow), but frankly only really had luck with getting responses from Craigslist. You don’t need a shiny ad, necessarily – I was looking for a reasonably priced place in specific areas from a person that didn’t sound like a scam.

    • Tom


  • Katie

    I just found a new apartment using HotPads, Zillow, and Apartments.com. The last time I’d looked for an apartment, CL had been the way to go, but I found nothing but scams or listings for places that were no longer available – seemed like the game had changed. I found HotPads to be the most use-friendly.

  • Tom

    Craigslist, baby, Craigslist! Since moving to the area, I’ve been back and forth between D.C. and Virginia six times, and each place I found on Craigslist. (Only one less-than-stellar landlord out of the bunch, too.) My general rule is to look for the non-glossy listings, but to make sure the ad is well-written and descriptive.

    • Tom

      Related: My girlfriend lives in Silver Spring, and she had good luck with Trulia.

  • JohnWashDC

    Anyone can use Zillow and Apartments.com to post their rentals at no cost. I just put my 2BR on the market this way about 4 days ago. and on CG as well. The listing went all over the internet and I’ve gotten better responses from Zillow et.al. than CG. The Zillow listing goes to many many sites as well.

    • Anon

      +1 especially to Apartments.com. While a lot of the listings are for huge expensive fancy apartments, the fact that they allow individuals to post a single apartment for rent is pretty clutch. Makes it easier to compare what’s out there in the Craigslist world of homeowners renting english basements vs the larger developments (which are actually occasionally somewhat competitive on the price).

  • anonacostia

    I ALWAYS use CL to find apartments. As posters above said, take lots of realistic and clear photos and include a lot of detail and renters will take you seriously. I use the ‘map view’ to scroll through apartments by neighborhood, so make sure you use accurate cross streets that make your apartment show up on the map function. One tip: I always steer clear of posting titles with excessive use of all caps, exclamation points, and other punctuation, so it is fairly easy to screen out the glossy ads/scams. Good luck!


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