Apartment List is a San Francisco-based online marketplace for apartment listings. It consolidates listings from across the internet, working with partners like Rent.com, Forrent.com, and others, to deliver it all via one website. Founded in 2011, Apartment List offers a cross-platform app that connects prospective tenants with those listing rental properties across the US. It uses a mix of questions, manual filters, and a visual interface that leans on photos and maps.
If you aren’t sure whether it’s a good idea to advertise on Apartment List, this article will share some of the benefits and drawbacks of using the platform, along with some popular alternatives that offer more comprehensive services.
How Much Does Apartment List Cost?
Apartment List follows a pay-per-lease model. This means you only pay when a renter moves in, whereas signing up for an account is free.
Initially, landlords had to pay to post their listing. However, the company recently changed its business model so that a landlord only pays when a tenant signs an actual lease. This helps Apartment List focus on providing high-quality, high-intent renters who are ready to move, which saves landlords time and money and results in leases.
For landlords with 1 to 10 units, Apartment List charges $359 per lease. You can learn more about their pricing here.
Reasons You Should Advertise on Apartment List
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using Apartment List to advertise your property.
The platform offers a range of unique features for comparing and sharing properties, as well as information on individual neighborhoods, such as “walkability” and “stroller index.” It also provides valuable insights to landlords, including budget recommendations, based on renter behaviors and market dynamics.
Most of the time renters don’t set a realistic budget range for their location. This is why Apartment List has the “Pay a bit more” category where a renter can find your property in case you are higher priced.
360 Tours and Prerecorded Video Tours
Your property pages can display 360 tours owned for distribution by you as well as pre-recorded video tours. To add a 360 tour to your listing page, you can send a direct link from Matterport, Helix360, LCP360, Panoskin, or Voix. At the moment, Apartment List can’t extract tour content from websites.
To add a pre-recorded video tour, send your original video file. Apartment List supports all video file types, including .MP4, .MOV, etc. However, it doesn’t support YouTube content or links to other video-hosting platforms.
Live Remote Touring Badge
You can also offer live remote touring to prospective renters via FaceTime, Zoom, or other video conferencing platforms. You only have to notify the website and they will put this badge on your listings.
When you advertise on Apartment List, you don’t have to commit to a contract. You can also adjust your price or pause your listing whenever you need.
Receive the Right Match
Collecting and analyzing tenant data allows the website to better match renters with your property.
The Apartment List team provides you with customized pricing recommendations to get the exposure you need to attract more tenants.
Their Client Engagement Team provides customized training for property managers and leasing teams via Zoom. This training helps ensure successful metrics by walking you through how the platform works, completing a thorough listing review while making live updates and strategizing ways to maximize performance.
The AI engine, Lea, helps nurture your Apartment List prompted leads until the tenant is ready to move. Lea maximizes your lead conversion with instant, 24/7 support, resulting in reduced lead-to-lease time and more tours generated. It provides real-time responses over email, text messages, and even voice conversations.
Reasons You Should NOT Advertise on Apartment List
Here are some of the reasons why it’s not a good idea to list your property on Apartment List.
Apartment List is Expensive
Each vacancy listing costs $359, which is due once the property has been filled. You only pay once a lease has been signed. Plus, getting good tenants in place fast is what really matters to any landlord. However, this is a steep price to pay when there are so many other free or inexpensive alternatives to advertising and screening vacancies. It might be a good option for professional property managers with large portfolios to advertise on Apartment List. But we think the limited exposure and high price make it a poor option for independent landlords.
Lack of Data Validation
Over the years, Apartment List users have been complaining of fake listings and old listings that are posted as new. Some landlords and real estate agents have found that Apartment List continues to post their listing as ACTIVE on the market even when it was taken off the market weeks or months ago.
Many landlords also complain that their listings on other sites are extracted automatically and posted to Apartment List with incorrect information. This makes it harder for them to find tenants. While the site performs basic data validation, it mainly relies on partner sites to verify the accuracy of their listings.
No Option to Browse Matches
The website takes users through one match at a time so that they can choose to add things to their shortlist or reject them. This can be quite frustrating for renters who are looking to explore multiple properties in a specific neighborhood.
Mandatory Account Creation
Renters have to create an account before they can even view the listings. This limits exposure as only people registered on the site can actually see your advertisement. Plus, users have to go through an extensive questionnaire to set up an account to see more. This is because their model is based on matching people with apartments that fit their preferences.
Once they sign up at Apartment List, some landlords have complained about receiving tons of spam emails and ads. It has also been reported that it can be quite difficult to unsubscribe or even delete an account, as you have to send them a request if you wish to do so.
Support for 20+ Units Only
As mentioned on their website, the company is only working with properties with 20 units or more. Their current inventory is optimized for larger apartment communities. Therefore, they recommend you work with their partners, Listhub and RentLinx, if you’re looking for single-family homes.
Even though Apartment List claims to generate over 5 million monthly views from renters, this doesn’t mean your listing will appear before ALL potential tenants. It is only shown to people that match with your property, based on the answers they enter in the initial questionnaire. So if a tenant has entered incorrect information, they will be excluded from viewing your listing. In contrast, there are several other sites that have huge viewership and many property management software services such as Avail, Hemlane, and Marble expose listings to many more prospective tenants.
Alternatives to Apartment List
While Apartment List is a great platform to attract qualified leads, we strongly recommend you explore dedicated property management tools that offer more comprehensive services. These tools allow landlords to work more efficiently, managing their properties better and frequently increasing the value of their investment.
Property management tools like Avail, Rentec Direct, Marble, Hemlane, and RentRedi offer a number of features that streamline rental property management, including advertising, tenant screening, lease signing, maintenance tracking, and more.
Another option is to opt for an a-la-carte approach. You can advertise on Apartment List and then use a different tool for each function it specializes in. For example, ApplyConnect or RentPrep have exceptional tenant screening services, whereas PayRent works great for rent collection.
Hybrid Property Management Services
Hybrid property management services like Marble or Hemlane are another alternative to Apartment List. At a flat fee, these tools keep landlords involved in some aspects of property management while adding technology features to help make the process smoother.
For instance, you can outsource all aspects of marketing, showing, applications, tenant screening, and maintenance to Marble, while maintaining responsibility for selecting your tenants, creating and signing lease agreements, and holding deposits.
Landlord Guru’s Takeaway
Apartment List is a tool designed to lighten the work load on professional property managers of large multifamily rentals. Given the barriers to the tenant – i.e creating an account and only seeing one property at a time – and the limited listing exposure, we don’t think it’s a good approach for independent landlords to advertise on Apartment List. It’s also very expensive when there are many other low-cost ways to list vacancies and reach millions of prospective tenants.
On the other hand, property management tools like Avail, RentRedi, Marble, Rentec Direct, and Hemlane offer far more comprehensive features than Apartment List. You can take a look at a number of products in our overview article and opt for the one that offers a more complete feature set. Alternatively, you can check out our choice tool, which will let you choose your favorite features and recommend the best products for your needs.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.