2016 Comparison of Apartment Listing Websites

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There's a lot of websites out there that you can use to find your next apartment. We aren't one of them - our job is to serve as neutral and unbiased advisors, so we don't allow landlords to advertise their apartments here at RentConfident.

So, we're in a unique position to compare the performance of every major apartment hunting site that serves the Chicago area.

We created three different apartment searches, to check the listing coverage of each site.

The Searches:

  • Downtown: 2 bedroom apartment near Merchandise Mart, 60654, max budget $3300
  • North Side: 3 bedroom apartment near Loyola University, 60626, max budget $1800
  • South Side: 1 bedroom apartment near Midway Airport, 60638, max budget $900 (South Side)

The rent rates for each of these searches was found to be above the average rate for each area, so that we would be sure to capture the majority of available listings in each neighborhood.

The Sites

Below you'll find the basics for each website, along with how they performed on each search. PS - if we have reviewed your site and have found a factual error, shoot us a message on our contact page. If you have an apartment listing site you'd like us to add, leave a comment!

Apartable

Link: apartable.com
Date Founded: August 2011
Home Base: New York, NY
The Pitch: Provides a separate building database listing violations, permits and reviews. Their list is automated though, and contains a lot of missing data and inaccurate information.
Cost to the landlord: $30-50 per month for unlimited postings
Apps: None
Search By: Any Place indexed by Google Maps.
Filters:

  • Rent/Buy
  • Studio - 5 bedrooms
  • 1+ to 4+ baths
  • Can enter custom min and max rents
  • Dog/Cat
  • Doorman, Elevator, Parking, Gym, AC, Renovated, Hardwood Floors, Balcony, No fee, Verified, Exclusive

Downtown: 17 listings from $2595 to $2999 in River North.
North Side: 1 listing at $1610.
South Side: 0 listings.

Apartment List

Link: apartmentlist.com
Date founded
: September 2011
Home Base: San Francisco
The Pitch: Find an apartment and apply for it online. Long questionnaire tailors search results before showing you any information. Must register with site to view listings. Can only view one listing at a time, cannot compare them all on the same page.
Cost to the landlord: No way to post new listings at this time.
Apps: IOS
Search by: City/State, Zip.
Filters:

  • Studio to 3+ beds
  • No Bathroom filter
  • Rent in $500 increments
  • Distance to Work
  • Dog/Cat
  • On-Site laundry, Dishwasher, AC, Parking, Pool, Gym, Move Date
  • Affordability

Downtown: 22 listings from $2595 - $3300 in 60654.
North Side: 0 listings.
South Side: 0 listings.

Apartments.com

Link: apartments.com
Date founded: Relaunched and Rebranded in March 2014
Home Base: Washington, DC
The Pitch: Jeff Goldblum, big marketing budget, easy domain name to remember.
Cost to the landlord: Basic listing at no cost, premium listings at sliding prices depending on area
Apps: IOS and Android
Search by: City/State, Zip, Polygon
Filters:

  • Apartment/Condo/Townhome/House
  • Studio to 4+ beds
  • 1-3 or all baths
  • Can enter custom min and max rents
  • Distance to work
  • Dog/Cat
  • AC, In-unit laundry, Dishwasher, Wheelchair Accceses, Parking, On-Site Laundry, Gym, Pool, Elevator, Senior Housing, Military Housing, Student Housing, Corporate Housing
  • Affordability
  • Keyword search
  • Square Feet

Downtown: 256 listings from $1500 to $3300 in 60654.
North Side: 2 listings at $1650 in 60626.
South Side: 0 listings.

AptAmigo

Link: aptamigo.com
Date Founded
: August 2015
Home Base: Chicago, IL
The Pitch: Selects high rises in Chicago and solicits reviews from residents to include for each address listed. Search results included apartments of all sizes, saying that there were 29 listings available, but only 15 of them were actually 2 bedroom units despite us specifying as much in our search.
Cost to the landlord: Unknown. AptAmigo directly targets high end apartment communities to advertise on their site.
Apps: None
Search by: Neighborhood, Building Name/Address

Downtown: 15 listings from $2500 to $3000 in River North.
North side: not covered by this site.
South side: not covered by this site.

Chicago Reader Classifieds

Link: http://chicagoreaderre.kaango.com/browse/rentals/11367/
Date Founded: 1971
Home Base: Chicago, IL
The Pitch: Free weekly alternative newspaper that was the main source for apartment listings until Craigslist came to town.
Cost to the landlord: $30 for 14 days
Apps: None
Search by: State, Furnished/Unfurnished
Filters: None

Downtown: 0 listings
North Side: 0 listings
South Side: 0 listings

Craigslist

Link: chicago.craigslist.org/apa
Date Founded: 1995
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Free classified site with bare bones text-only postings and minimal fluff. Search results included all apartments with more bedrooms that fit our budget.
Cost to the landlord: $0 in Chicago. Craigslist does charge to post rental ads in some cities.
Apps: no native apps but many licensed apps for IOS and Android
Search by: Zip code, Full text of ad
Filters:

  • Apartment/Condo/Cottage/Duplex/Flat/House/In-law/Loft/Townhouse/Manufactured/Assisted Living/Land
  • 1+ to 8+ or all bedrooms
  • No Bathroom filter
  • Can enter custom min and max rents
  • Miles from zip code
  • Dog/Cat
  • Furnished, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair access, In-unit laundry, on-site laundry, parking, upcoming open house, No fee
  • Has image
  • Square feet

Downtown: 967 listings from $1925-3300 within 1 mile of 60654 with “River North” in listing.
North Side: 91 listings from $1250-$1800 within 1 mile of 60626.
South Side: 4 listings from $685-$800 within 1 mile of 60638.

Domu

Link: domu.com
Date founded: 2009
Home Base: Chicago, IL
The Pitch: Originally an aggregator of listings like Padmapper and Rent Jungle, Domu is the web presence of Schatz Realty, a Chicago real estate brokerage and developer. They started with a huge marketing push, putting door hangers on every apartment building in some neighborhoods, and advertise prominently on the CTA.
Cost to the landlord: $20-50 depending on how long the posting runs.
Apps: None
Search by: Neighborhood
Filters:

  • Short Term, 12 month or 12+ month lease
  • Studio – 8 beds
  • 1 – 6.5 baths in half bath increments
  • Rent in $50 increments
  • Dog/Cat
  • AC, Parking, Laundry
  • Keyword search

Downtown: 13 Listings from $2600 - $3300
North Side: 3 Listings from $1500 - $1680
South Side: No listings in Garfield Ridge or Clearing

Homefinder

Link: homefinder.com
Date Founded: 2009
Home Base: Chicago, IL
The Pitch: Sources listings for the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times. Previously known for having very old, out of date listings and not removing them for months, but were bought out by Boston real estate media developer Placester in February of 2016 and have improved their policies for removing out of date listings. All listings are from local Realtors only, few private owners or property managers listing here.
Cost to the landlord: Homefinder targets Real estate agents, and syndicates listings from the MLS only. Landlords could theoretically set up basic accounts for free but they are not Homefinder's target market.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: City/State, Zip
Filters:

  • Buy/Rent/Foreclosures/New construction
  • House/Condo/Townhouse/Co-op/Row house/Duplex/Multi-family/Patio/Manufactured/Farm/Houseboat/Commercial Building/Lot/Land
  • 1+ to 5+ beds
  • 1+ to 5+ baths
  • Rent in $500-$1000 increments
  • No distance or pet filtering
  • Assisted living, Basement, Central AC, Wheelchair access, waterfront, golf, family room, garage, fireplace, dining room, pool

Downtown: 76 listings from $2500 - $3300 in 60654
North Side: 6 listings from $1350 - $1800 in 60626
South Side: 1 listing at $850 in 60638

Hotpads

Link: hotpads.com
Date Founded: May 2005
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Acquired by Zillow in 2012, Hotpads was one of the first apartment search sites to use Google maps as a way to search for apartments visually.
Cost to the landlord: Free
Apps: IOS and Android
Search by: City/State, Zip, Neighborhood
Filters:

  • Rent/Buy
  • Rental/Sublet/Room/Corporate Housing
  • Apartment/Condo/Duplex/House/Townhouse
  • Studio to 8 beds
  • 0-8 baths
  • Can enter custom min/max rents
  • Dog/Cat
  • Has photos/number of photos
  • Square footage
  • Keyword search
  • Affordability

Downtown: 28 listings from $2500- $3300 in River North
North Side: 0 listings in 60626
South Side: 2 listings at $825 in 60638

Lovely

Link: livelovely.com
Date Founded: 2011
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Owned by apartment listing conglomerate RentPath (formerly Primedia), which also owns Apartment Guide, Rent.com, Rentals.com, Rentalhouses.com, and Newhomeguide.com. Markets to millennials with a faux-organic, hipster aesthetic. Along with Padmapper, Lovely was known for scraping Craigslist ads into a map-based format and was sued by Craigslist as this kind of behavior violates their terms of use.
Cost to the landlord: Ads on Lovely must be purchased through Rentpath, which does not publish their prices.
Apps: IOS and Android
Search by: City/State, Official Community Names
Filter:

  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • Dog/Cat
  • Has photos
  • Keyword search

Downtown: 60 listings from $839to $3000 in Near North Side (includes Cabrini-Green, Gold Coast, Streeterville and River North)
North Side: 8 listings from $1250 to $1800 in Rogers Park
South Side: 0 listings in Garfield Ridge and Clearing

Padmapper

Link: padmapper.com
Date Founded: 2008
Home Base: Bay Area, CA
The Pitch: This site along with Lovely was one of the first to scrape Craigslist ads into a map, and were sued for doing so. They still aggregate listings from a bunch of other sites along with their own native ads. They were purchased by Zumper in 2016.
Cost to the landlord: Padmapper gets its listings from Zumper, which is free for basic listings. Zumper charges tenants $30 to run credit reports.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: City/State, Zip, Community Area
Filters:

  • Full Lease/Sublet/Room
  • Studio - 10 bedrooms
  • 1-5 baths
  • Can enter custom min/max rent and rent per bedroom
  • Dogs/Cats
  • Keyword search
  • Source of listing (Padlister, Apartment search, AirBNB, ForRent.com, Homesuite, Etc.)

Downtown: 50 listings from $2500 to $3300 in 60610
North Side: 8 listings from $1400 – 1800 in 60626
South Side: 0 listings in 60638

Radpad

Link: onradpad.com
Date Founded: January 2013
Home Base: Los Angeles, CA
The Pitch: Mobile focused Radpad gained visibility by placing bandit signs on the laws on rentals listed on their site. They're focused on mapping and photos, and launched their IOS app first before creating a website. Landlords must allow online rent payments and provide photos to list on Radpad.
Cost to the landlord: Listings and credit reports are free, but Radpad takes a cut of all rent payments they process online.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: City/State, Zip, any place indexed by Google maps
Filters:

  • Apartment/House
  • Lease for weeks, months or year+
  • Roommate search
  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • 1-5+ baths
  • Rent in $100 increments
  • Dog/Cat
  • Furnished/Unfurnished

Downtown: 458 listings from $2208 to $3300 in 60654
North Side: 40 listings from $1300 - $1800 in 60626
South Side: 0 listings in 60638

Realtor.com

Link: realtor.com
Date Founded: Unknown. Oldest snapshot in the Internet Archive is from December 1996. Last revamp in 2015.
Home Base: Santa Clara, CA
The Pitch: The official website of the National Association of Realtors, owned by News Corp as a subsidiary of Move.com. Apartment listings on Realtor.com are provided by Apartments.com, so you'll find the same info here as you will over there, along with listings from full-fledged real estate agents.
Cost to the landlord: Realtor.com uses listings from apartments.com.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: City/State, Zip, Community Name, MLS Listing ID
Filters:

  • Apartment/House/Condo/Townhouse/Co-op/Other
  • Studio - 5 or any bedrooms
  • 1+ to 5+ or any baths
  • Cats/Dogs/No Pets/No policy/Any
  • Custom Min/Max rents
  • Hardwood floors, Fireplace, Energy Efficient, Wheelchair/Disability Access, In-unit laundry, Dining room, Laundry Room, Family Room, Basement, Den, Office, Game Room, Central AC, Central Heat, Forced Air, Single Story, Multi Story, Corner Lot, Cul-De-Sac, Waterfront, Waterview, Golf Course, Recreational Facilities, Common Security Features, Pool, Boat Dock, Clubhouse, Horse Facilities, Tennis Courts, Park, Senior Living, Hot tub, 1-3 garage spaces, Carport

Downtown: 72 listings from $2500 - $3300 in 60654
North Side: 12 listings from $1350 - $1800 in 60626
South Side: 1 listing at $850 in 60638

Rent.com

Link: rent.com
Date Founded: 2000
Home Base: Santa Monica, CA
The Pitch: Another RentPath subsidiary along with Lovely. This one ensures that rental listings are legitimate and offers reviews, floorplans and virtual tours Searching does not offer any sort of precision, including listings from anywhere in a 10 mile radius of the location you request. Map view broken in Firefox. This site only lets you search in $1000 increments, so we searched below $3000 only. Like AptAmigo it gave prices for apartments of all sizes for each address, making it difficult to filter by price.
Cost to the landlord: Ads on Rent.com must be purchased through RentPath, which doesn't publish their prices.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: Tries to search using places indexed by Google Maps but isn't terribly precise.
Filters:

  • Apartment/Condo/Townhouse/House
  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • 1-3+ baths
  • Rent in $100 increments.
  • Dog/Cat/Both/None
  • AC, Balcony, Cable ready, Controlled access, Dishwasher, Elevator, Storage, Gym, Wheelchair access, Hardwood floors, On-site laundry, On-site Maintenance, Pool, Some Utilities included, Walk-in closet, In-unit laundry, Income restrictions, Senior housing
  • Square feet in increments of 200'
  • User Ratings

Downtown: 1087 listings from $1383 - 3000 in Near North community area
North Side: 6 listings from $1795 - $1900 near Loyola University Rogers Park.
South Side: 0 listings in 60638, Garfield Ridge or Clearing.

RentBerry

Link: rentberry.com
Date Founded: August 2015
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Allows renters to publicly bid on apartments in an auction-style app. No public listings are available, but rather, you must know the specific address you want to bid on and go there directly to place a bid.
Cost to the Landlord: $25 on successfully closing a transaction.
Apps: None
Search by: Specific street address

As listings are not publicly searchable on Rentberry we could not figure out how many listings they had in Downtown, North Side or South Side.

RentCafe

Link: rentcafe.com/apartments-for-rent/us/il/chicago/
Date Founded: Unknown.
Home Base: Santa Barbara, CA
The Pitch: Owned by Yardi Systems, which creates property management software for landlords, RentCafe is the public-facing site for landlords that use Yardi products.
Cost to the landlord: RentCafe is free to use, but Yardi uses it to sell their property management software.
Apps: IOS and Android
Search by: Neighborhood, Zip code, Radius, Polygon

Downtown: 8 listings from $2505 - $3300 in 60654
North Side: 6 listings from $1375 - $1800 in 60626
South Side: 0 listings in 60638

RentHop

Link: renthop.com/chicago-apartments-for-rent
Date Founded: August 2008
Home Base: New York, NY
The Pitch: Uses a combination of listing “freshness,” completeness and user reviews of property management to create a “Hopscore” for each building. Nice easy search function although not good coverage of the Chicago area.
Cost to the landlord: $2.50 to $4 per listing.
Apps: For property managers and landlords only. No apps for renters.
Search by: Select Chicago neighborhood names
Filters:

  • Loft
  • Full Lease/Sublet/Room
  • Short term
  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • 1 - 5+ baths
  • Can enter custom min/max rent
  • Dog/Cat
  • Has photos/Has floorplan
  • Furnished, in-unit laundry, private yard, parking, doorman, elevator, gym, on-site laundry, common yard, no fee, reduced fee, exclusive listing
  • Keyword search

Downtown: 345 listings from $2000 – 3300 in Near North
North Side: 1 listing at $1750 in Rogers Park
South Side: Doesn't list further southwest than Back of the Yards.

Rent Jungle

Link: rentjungle.com
Date Founded: December 2009
Home Base: Pittsburgh, PA
The Pitch: Crawls and aggregates listings from everyone else. This site also restricts rent search criteria in $1000 increments, so once again we capped at $3000. Their crawler is a little weak, appearing to return results from every site that included the words “rent” and a price. We found everything from benefit concert tickets to parking spaces at the low end of our search. A list of neighborhoods you can click on in the website's footer included the misspelling “Pottage Park” and highlighted neighborhoods like North Park and Hermosa while not including Wrigleyville or Bucktown. (Guys, it's "Portage Park.")
Cost to the Landlord: $47 per month if you own 3 properties or fewer. Prices for larger companies are not listed online.
Apps: IOS only
Search by: City/State, Zip code, Community area
Filters:

  • Apartment/House/Condo/Loft
  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • Rent in $100 - $1000 increments
  • Pets or no pets
  • AC, Carpet, Dishwasher, In-unit Laundry, furnished, Hardwood floors, Patio, Walk-in closet, Yard
  • Has photos
  • Keyword search

Numerous listings and many duplicates and false positives. We couldn't get an accurate count or price range due to the complex nature of their interface.

Rental Roost

Link: Rentalroost.com
Date Founded: August 2012
Home Base: Pleasanton, CA
The Pitch: Uses data from your Facebook profile to find an apartment that suits your lifestyle. Searching for a zip code in their search box popped up five windows linking us to other established apartment listing sites, indicating that they have no native listings for the Chicago area.
Cost to the landlord: Costs are not disclosed on their website.
Apps: IOS
Search by: Zip code
Filters: None, other than choosing which of 5 outside sites to use for sourcing the listings.

No native listings for Chicago.

Trulia

Link: trulia.com
Date Founded: May 2004
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Bought by Zillow in 2014, Trulia is a publicly traded real estate listing site with apartment listings as one of their many focuses. Like many other sites, they bundle all bedroom counts together making sorting by price a useless function.
Cost to the landlord: Listings are free. Trulia makes its money from Realtors.
Apps: IOS and Android
Search by: Neighborhood, City or Address, school district
Filter:

  • House/Apartment/Condo/Townhouse/Apartment Community/Room
  • 0 - 5+ bedrooms
  • 1+ to 5+ baths
  • Rent in $100 increments
  • Small Dog/Large Dog/Cat/Other Pet
  • No fee, utilities included, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, disposal, in-unit laundry, air conditioning, fireplace, ceiling fan, cable/satellite, balcony, double pane windows, elevator, garage, gym, sports court, doorman, concierge, security system, gated entry, intercom, pool, patio, deck, porch, lawn, garden, hot tub, BBQ area, basement, attic, waterfront
  • Distance to transit, Commute time
  • Square feet in 100' increments
  • Keyword search

Downtown: 100 listings from $2400 – 3300 in 60654.
North Side: 22 listings from $1495 - $1800 in 60626
South Side: 2 listings at $825.

Zillow

Link: zillow.com/rent
Date Founded: 2005
Home Base: Seattle, WA
The Pitch: Founded by two former Microsoft execs, publicly traded Zillow is the largest online real estate marketing site in the world. Overall this gave our researchers the easiest time in finding the results we needed for our test. Renter Profiles allow you save a kind of housing resume to "sell yourself" to landlords. "Community Pillars" program highlights landlords who have agreed to relax their screening criteria for renters who might normally get declined due to low income, criminal records, etc.
Cost to the landlord: Free for properties with less than 50 units. Prices not published for larger properties.
Apps: IOS, Android, Windows Phone, Apple TV
Search by: City/State, Zip Code, Neighborhood
Filters:

  • House/Apartment/Condo/Co-op/Townhome
  • Studio - 6+ beds
  • 0 - 6+ baths
  • Can enter custom min/max rents
  • Pets or No Pets
  • Parking, In-unit laundry, Community Pillar
  • Square feet, Lot size
  • Year built
  • Keyword search

Downtown: 46 listings from $2495 - $3300
North Side: 18 listings from $1350 to $1800
South Side: 2 listings at $825

Zumper

Link: zumper.com
Date Founded: 2012
Home Base: San Francisco, CA
The Pitch: Zumper claims to have “real time updates” and online applications. What we liked was that they aggregate listings by building, but don't break their price sorting function when they do so!
Cost to the landlord: Free to list apartments. $30 per background check charged to the tenant.
Apps: IOS, Android
Search by: Google Places, rounded up to the nearest Community area or Zip code
Filters:

  • Apartment/Condo/House/Room
  • Long term/short term
  • Studio - 4+ beds
  • 1+ to 4+ baths
  • Rent in $100 increments
  • Dog/Cat
  • AC, Parking, balcony, carpet, ceiling fan, central heat, deck, dishwasher, fireplace, furnished, garden, hardwood floor, high ceiling, in-unit laundry, on-site laundry, walk-in closet, business center, concierge, doorman, dry cleaning, elevator, gym, garage, on-site manager, outdoor space, package service, lounge, roof deck, secured entry, storage, pool, wheelchair access, no fee
  • Has photos

Downtown: 217 listings from $1475 - $3300 in Near North
North Side: 12 Listings from $1300 - 1800
South Side: 0 listings

Published by

Kay Cleaves