5 Tips For Searching Craigslist Rental Listings More Efficiently

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While some locations may be better Craigslist markets than others, the online classifieds site still offers arguably the best source for rental listings. However, perusing the countless amount of apartments and homes can be a punishing task. From the spam to the frequent lack of contact or address info, finding and following up with anything on Craigslist often feels more difficult than moving itself! Here are 5 tips I've learned during my recent rental hunt...

  1. Map it. No map included in the Craigslist listing? Using an address or cross streets plot location using your favorite online map to see whether it's where you want to live. I went one further and created a custom Google Map and plotted each of the spots I wanted to follow up with. Now I was able to see which locations were closest to my new job and points of interest at a glance. 
  2. Start a Spreadsheet. I started a cloud-based spreadsheet (Google Drive to be precise) where I could jot down the details from Craigslist rental listings, as well as any others I obtained after following up with the info on the listing. This became my go-to place to refer to during the apartment hunt, helpful for sorting out duplicates (same apartment posted by multiple brokers).
  3. Bookmark it. Good Craigslist etiquette calls for removing a listing when the place is no longer available, so to keep track of what was still a live listing, I used a cloud-based bookmarks in my default browser for easy access regardless of device or computer I was using.
  4. Use Apps. Want a more user-friendly way to browse Craigslist than the website? Check out any number of Craigslist apps designed specifically for mobile devices. Buyer beware though: after trying 3 different apps, I was unable to find the same listings available directly on Craigslist. By using these alternative apps you may be missing out on a large number of potential listings. Some of the apps only work with listings formatted in a specific way, one reason why the listings in the app can look so thin (for example: many brokers will use giant images with embedded text). Out of the apps I tried, Lovely worked the best, even though it did not provide as many listings as what I could find on Craigslist.
  5. Flag. Although this isn't a tip that's going to directly help you in your search it could help the next person: remember to flag scams and spam to help make Craigslist better. 
What are your tips for looking for a new home on Craigslist?

(Image: Shutterstock)

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Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.