Rent

Brick Underground's guide to rental apps: StreetEasy, Naked Apartments, Replay Listings, and more

Brick Underground tested seven of the most popular apartment rental apps to make your apartment hunt easier.

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Rental apps makes finding an apartment in New York City almost as easy as ordering your dinner—but there are many different ones to choose from.

Brick Underground recently tested the most popular apartment rental apps over a two-week period to see which are the best suited for finding an apartment in this competitive city. We evaluated apps with the following checklist: 1) Does it have customizable features, 2) a map view, 3) direct links to a broker or management company, and 4) neighborhood information?

Read on to find out which app offers features that suit your apartment-hunting needs, like one-click to contact agents or mapping your daily commute.

HotPads 

Recent updates/features: A "for you" tab that provides personalized recommendations and updates based on what you've been searching.

How does it match up against our checklist? 

  1. You can create custom alerts through your profile which allows the app to notify you when new apartments are listed within your preferences.

  2. The standard view is a list, but you can change to a map view by toggling “list/map.”

  3. There’s an option to call or email the listing broker for the listing’s availability. 

  4. The app provides highlights that show essential factors such as parking availability, and “competition for this pad,” which shows you how often others are looking at the listing.

What sets it apart? The ability to pay your rent directly from the app is convenient. Your landlord needs to register the building with the system, and it does cost $9.95 for debit card transactions and 2.95 percent for credit card transactions, but there is a free bank transfer option if you link your bank account to the app.

Who should use it? If you’re competitive and want to know who else is looking at the apartment you’ve been eyeing.

Trulia Rentals

Recent updates/features: Last year, Trulia released a new feature called Trulia Neighborhoods—a product that gives consumers intel about a neighborhood with original photography, drone footage, and crowd-sourced local knowledge.

How does it match up against our checklist? 

  1. The most customizable feature that we discovered is the “draw” feature where you draw a boundary on a map using your finger, similar to the website version.

  2. Map view is standard—which updates the results of your search as you navigate the map, preventing you from having to start a search over when changing areas.

  3. There is a “check availability” button native to the app that gives you the option to call the agent directly or email a pre-filled form.

  4. The app features a neighborhood overview, providing information on the area’s real estate inventory, and a “what locals say” section that has factors like the quality of street lights on the block voted on by Trulia users.

What sets it apart? The “local info” feature offers useful info like “crime” and “live well,” and highlights corresponding areas on a map of the neighborhood.

Who should use it? If you want to get into the nitty gritty of your prospective neighborhood.

Zillow Rentals 

Recent updates/features: Zillow added floor plans to its rental listings on mobile apps, and you can also view all available floorplans for rent in a building you’re considering.

How does it match up against our checklist? 

  1. The app lets you save your search and get updates such as price cuts. 

  2. You can toggle between map and list viewing options.

  3. You have two options when it comes to contacting the listing agent by calling or filling out a form. If you want to jumpstart the process, there’s an option to request an application.

  4. The listings show nearby schools and an interactive map with nearby amenities such as grocery stores, but it seems to be up to the user to navigate the map and find other important factors like nearby subway stations. 

What sets it apart? The app has a “renter profile” feature that allows you to fill out information like pets and household size that can be shared with brokers and landlords when you inquire about an apartment, making you stand out from other applicants.

Who should use it? If you want an app to function just like the Zillow website that you’re used to.

StreetEasy 

Recent updates/features: New this year is the ability to map your commute from listings, the launch of Experts, a program that helps connect users to an agent who is an expert in the building, and access the blog One Block Over, and other content.

How does it match up our checklist? 

  1. StreetEasy allows many customizations when setting up your account profile, including you desired move-in date, making your apartment search specific to your preferences. 

  2. The standard view is a list that matches the aesthetic of StreetEasy’s website, but you can opt for a map view.

  3. The app has a “contact agent” button that appears at the bottom as you scroll, making it easy to contact the agent from anywhere within the listing.

  4. Just like HotPads, when you add an address, the app will save it and advise you of the commute from a listing via walking, public transit, and car.    

What sets it apart? The app is powered by StreetEasy’s website and promises to include every listing, building, or property in New York—so you won’t miss any available real estate inventory on this app.

Who should use it? If you like to save time and prefer to make a profile and let the app do the searching for you based off of your preferences. 

Naked Apartments 

Recent updates/features: The most recent features were released back in 2017, including a feature that simplified the process of saving searches by grouping saved listings and saved searches into a single screen and an easier way to contact agents.

How does it match up our checklist? 

  1. Other than a “favorites” feature and basic filters such as neighborhoods and amenities, the only other customizable feature that stands out is the ability to save a search.

  2. There is no way to browse listings in a map view, but it does allow you to browse a map once you click on a specific listing.

  3. You can call the listing agent directly or reach out via an email form.

  4. Naked Apartments includes a link to a neighborhood profile that highlights characteristics of the area as well as the real estate inventory. 

What sets it apart? Naked Apartments is New York City’s largest rentals-only platform which implements NYC-specific filters like searching for no fee, low fee, by owner, and exclusive listings in all five boroughs.

Who should use it? If you don’t mind giving up some of the flashy features other apps use, and want to be able to find out more about your potential new neighborhood.

Replay Listings 

Recent updates/features: In June, the app released a feature that allows users to share listings directly to their partners or roommates. Other new features include map view with filters. When the app first launched, it was required for users to create an account to access listings, but the team recently opened up, allowing you to view listings without having an account.

How does it match up our checklist? 

  1. When you set up your profile, you can set your max rent, apartment size, move-in date, and preferred neighborhoods for search optimization. 

  2. There is a separate tab for map view, which makes it easy to toggle between list and map view. Map view also has filters including price, size, and amenities. 

  3. Perhaps this app is the one that brokers engage with most, you can read more about that below, but there are links to call, email, and even text the listing agent.

  4. Replay Listings does highlight amenities the building offers, and provides a map at the bottom of the listing, but it does not have direct information regarding nearby subways.

What sets it apart? Brokers sign up for a paid subscription and record their own videos for listings. The company is also set to release the premiere episode of a podcast within the coming weeks.

Who should use it? If you’re skeptical of apartment listings, the videos ensure you’re seeing what you’d actually be renting.

Honorable Mention

RadPad 

Recent updates/features: Some of the most recent features include floor plans of listings, showing available apartments in the building on the listing page, and easier map navigation. It offers the cheapest rent payment option compared to other apps we tested, but there are noticeably fewer listings on the app compared to others, so we are including it as an honorable mention. 

How does it match up our checklist? 

  1. There is an activity tab that allows you to connect to your Facebook account and see who in your network is using the app. Your profile includes customizable features such as your credit score and income to help find potential apartments or roommates. 

  2. There is an alternate map view and it features a smiling yellow character holding a magnifying glass that marks your search results.

  3. There is a “Request Info” button and a “Message Me” button that generates a text message to send directly to the agent, making it easy to reach the listing agent.

  4. The listings provide information like lease term and pricing, but when it comes to  nearby subway stations, you have to tap a “directions” link that takes you to GoogleMaps.

What sets it apart? The app allows you to pay your rent, and unlike apps with similar features, your landlord does not have to register the building or make an account. When you pay with a credit or debit card, the fee is $4.95, cheaper than other apps with the same feature.
Who should you use it? If you want to use the app to see what your friends’ moving trends are, or if you want a cost-efficient way to pay rent via an app.