This is the second article in a mini-series on how to find an apartment in Norwalk (or pretty much anywhere for that matter).
In this second article, I will touch base on what resources a tenant should use when looking for an apartment.
What website(s) should I use to find an apartment in Norwalk?
We have already assumed that a website should be your first stop. In this day and age it certainly should be. The common percentage given for people who start their real estate search online is 90% with some sources estimating as high as 94% of people start their housing search online. I touched on this point in the last article in this series, but it is clear why this is the case. The internet offers amazing access to pictures and information about the property, as well as information about the neighborhood and town.
The top choices:
Here is a list of the most common website that renters use to find apartments. Also included are their unique visitor count according to Compete.com:
- Zillow.com 12,218,250
- Trulia.com 9,734,571
- Realtor.com 7,970,776
- Craigslist.org Unknown
- HotPads.com 1,380,428
- Listingbook.com 406,057
- Postlets.com 249,025
Each resource has their benefits. The problem with most of these sites is that they are “aggregator” style websites. What does that mean in layman’s terms? It basically means they constantly are pulling data from the MLS database in almost every area of the country. The MLS database is where Realtors add listings. The MLS database has the most up to date real estate data on property availability.
Aggregators pull that data off, and post the listings on their websites. The problem is that they just keep pulling data, and don’t update the data they have. In most cases they just set an expiration date on the data to disappear from the website in 30-60 days or so. That means that you can be looking at a listing on Zillow or Trulia that rented more than a month ago, but it still appears on their website.
Listingbook is the most accurate way for consumers to access the MLS. It isn’t a household name because it is only available to certain MLS databases around the country. Fortunately it is available to the MLS database here in Fairfield County, CT. For more information on Listingbook, visit:
Craigslist is really the only site in the list above where you can find places for rent by owner. Zillow and other sites are starting to allow owners to post their rentals directly on their websites, but it isn’t as popular. Craigslist, the juggernaut of classified ads, is still the most popular place to find apartments for rent by owner. However, it is very common for real estate agents to post their rental listings on Craigslist also.
It comes down to preference
Renters use many different websites when looking for an apartment. I find that renters use all of the websites I listed above when looking for rentals in Norwalk. It really comes down to their personal preference and which site offers the most user-friendly interface.
Call a real estate agent
Many renters don’t know that they can use a real estate agent to help them in their search. They might also think that there is a fee involved when using a real estate agent. Technically they are right, but landlords in Fairfield County almost always pay the fee, and there is no fee to the tenant. That isn’t the case in other areas, like New York City, where tenants often pay the real estate agent fee when finding an apartment.
A real estate agent can make efficient use of your time as long as the agent is familiar with the market. They can take you to only the best properties and book all the appointments at the same time, so you can see 4-8 places in less than 2 hours. They also offer lots of information on the neighborhoods and typical rental rates for the area. Working with an agent is like having your own private advisor to help you in your rental search, and it is FREE TO YOU!
Are you looking for an apartment in Norwalk? Check ou: http://norwalkrealestatetodd.com/services/renters
Questions about what is written here? Email Todd by visiting: www.NorwalkRealEstateTodd.com