We understand how dire wading through Craigslist can be. You find what seems like the perfect place only to find out it's already been rented, or worse, it's a scam. And let's be frank, Craigslist is lacking in the aesthetics department. Below, our selection of top tier Craigslist alternatives for folks on the hunt for roommates or an apartment.
What it does: Still in beta, Crashpad is a great website that helps folks who are searching for roommates or have an available room by creating an aesthetically pleasing profile that you can eventually publish to Craigslist if need be. The site's users seem to mostly be in the Bay Area, and there's an active message board.
[Small sampling of some of the profiles currently listed on Crashpad]
You can put up your photo, tell people your deal (including your rent cap), what you're looking for, how awesome you are and any requirements you may have (like you have a dog). Crashpad's ultimate goal is to vet people through social networks, providing match suggestions, and guiding the application process. We're big fans because the people who use it look and sound like they'd all be cool roommates.
We like it more than Craigslist because: All the vital information is right there on the main page, no need to open one thousand tabs to review your options.
[You can click the above image to see a larger view, or visit Zumper to see the site in action]
What it does: With outlets in Chicago, NYC, and SF, Zumper took on the difficult task of vetting any landlord, property management company or broker that wants to list with them. This significantly decreases the odds of getting scammed. This also means that the bulk of the listings on Zumper are exclusive to the site, meaning you won't see the same listing on Craigslist. The site also gets an A+ in the aesthetics department.
We like it more than Craigslist because: You won't get scammed because Zumper first approves all landlords who list with them.
[You can click the above image to see a larger view, or visit ApartmentList to see the site in action]
What it does: ApartmentList is the fastest-growing apartment search engine on the Web. it delivers a comprehensive set of apartment listings in one elegant interface. It sources its listings from hundreds of well-known listing services.
We like it more than Craigslist because: As you can see from the screenshot above, ApartmentList provides colorful neighborhood information like 'Walkability' and 'Stroller Index' scores. For instance, Pacific heights gets 1.5 stars for its cheapness (meaning it's not cheap at all), but 4.5 stars for its safety. Whereas SoMa gets 5 stars for 'Party' but only 1 star for safety.
[You can click the above image to see a larger view, or visit Livewith.us to see the site in action]
What it does: If you're looking for a shared apartment or already have a place and looking for a roommate, livewith.us created a slick interface so you can manage all of your Craigslist applicants, or bookmark Craigslist listings and easily send great looking applications. If you're tired of copying and pasting the same description of yourself into every email, use the livewith.us widget to quickly send a profile when you're viewing a Craigslist listing.
We like it more than Craigslist because: It speeds up the Craigslist vetting and application process.
[You can click the above image to see a larger view, or visit Lovely to see the site in action]
What it does: Lovely is a beautiful way to search for apartments. It sources listings from various sources (including Craigslist) and even gets listings that you won't find elsewhere. It takes listings and loads them into a single map-based search interface that's loaded with ways to customize your search, including creating alerts if an apartment lands on market with the criteria you're looking for. We're also big fans of the Lovely Renter Resume, which helps renters create a resume for themselves for potential landlords.
[Sample of the Lovely rental resume builder, which you can send via email or print it out and bring it to a showing in person]
Unlike other services, Lovely was built for the iPhone to automatically sync with the Lovely website because users should be able to conduct their apartment search from anywhere and at any time, without needing to start from scratch.
We like it more than Craigslist because: There's an app. Dear readers, did we miss your favorite Craigslist alternative? Let us know in the comments or drop us an email.