Have you ever searched for an apartment and run into a wall where you can’t find what you’re looking for? What if you find too many apartment listings, and you feel overwhelmed by the data?
Fortunately, there are tools to help.
HotPads lets you search for houses and apartments to rent in a visually enhanced way. You can search by typing the location you’re looking for with a few clicks of the mouse, then zoom into a map to find “hotpads” for rent.
Here’s an introduction to the website, and how to use it to find your next apartment.
What Is HotPads and Why Is It Important?
HotPads is an apartment-listing website that allows you to search for apartments in city areas. If you have a condo or house of your own—and you want to rent it—you can also list your rental on the site.
Overall, hotpads.com is an intuitive website that is easy to use. When you sign up for an account, you can receive search alerts for apartment listings that match your criteria. You can also pay your rent through the website.
The only downside to HotPads? It’s US-based when it comes to data, so if you’re looking for rentals outside the country, you’re out of luck.
How to Navigate the HotPads Website
When you open up the HotPads website, the front page will seem very simple. If you’ve visited the website before, there will be a welcome sign at the top, along with a search bar for you to find new listings.
Below the search bar, you’ll see the For You section. Here, a small group of personally tailored HotPad listings will show up.
On the right, you’ll see an Expand my search section, where you can quickly search for apartments in nearby areas next to the ones that you’re already looking at.
At the top of the page on the far right side, there will be options to Sign in or Register.
On the top-left, you’ll see the HotPads toolbar. If you click on the three grey bars at the very end of this toolbar, you’ll be able to access the expanded menu:
In the expanded menu, you’ll see more options for what you can do with HotPads. Among them, you’ll find:
- Search for rent. This will allow you to find HotPads for rent based upon a set of parameters.
- My List. This allows you to save the listings from your search to look at later.
Because HotPads’ search function is the website’s most popular feature, let’s go through the basics of how to use it.
How to Search HotPads for Apartments
So let’s say that I want to search for HotPad houses to rent in Portland. I don’t plan to move there, of course, but it works well for the purpose of this article.
To search for an apartment, either click on the Search for rent button in the dropdown menu or use the search bar on the main web page to type in the name of the city where you’re looking for accommodations.
When you type the name of your desired city into the search bar, you’ll see a map pop up that shows you all the places where you can rent an apartment. These places are marked down in orange.
Along the right side of the screen, you’ll see a bunch of listings with the picture, price, the number of beds, and location of each listing.
There are a lot of listings in Portland, however—over 4,000—so let’s narrow it down.
Narrow Your List With Filters
First, click on All filters. Under All filters, you can pick out specific factors that you may be looking for in a new apartment, ranging from the type of laundry facilities to the property type and size.
Basic filters like these are super important, as they usually include items that are a “make or break” deal for most people.
For example: Would I rent a place that splits my utility costs with another unit? Nope. I hate surprises, and I want to know exactly how much I am individually spending on utilities per month.
Next, click on the filter that says Any price. This will help you narrow down your listings based on cost. To set your price range, simply type a minimum or maximum amount into the Price range bar.
Then click Done when you’re ready.
The last two categories for filters are bedrooms and bathrooms, along with pets. For pets, the process is simple enough, but for bedrooms and bathrooms, you can click as many options as you’re willing to take a look at.
For me, that ranges from a studio to a two-bedroom apartment, plus one bathroom. Anything above that is too large.
Note: HotPads does not allow you to filter for bedbug reports. When you’re hunting for a new place to live, however, prior reports on pest infestations are something you’ll need to be aware of. Here’s how to check for bedbugs in your apartment.
Once you have your search parameters finalized, click Done again. You’ll see that your overall list of rentals will have been narrowed significantly.
Reorder Your List
There is one more thing that you can do to make your rental browsing easier, and that’s choosing how your HotPad list is ordered. To choose a format, simply click on the dropdown menu that says Sort.
Then choose your favorite way to view the list:
- Most popular.
- High price.
- Low price.
I prefer to order my list by Newest, because the best deals for apartments often go fast:
Now that you know how to use the search function, let’s take a look at a few more key features for this website.
Use HotPads to Contact Landlords
Once you have your search parameters mapped out, you can start looking at individual listings. To look at a listing, either click on one of the orange markers or click on the listing’s snippet along the right.
In each listing, you’ll be able to see the cost of the apartment, when it’s available to rent, the building type, and amenities. You’ll also be able to see pictures of the apartment, along with a big green button where you can click to contact the landlord.
This is how you schedule a viewing.
When you click on that green button, your screen will grey out and a message box will appear.
In this box, you’ll see the landlord’s contact info, along with a stock message in the Customize message box. You can reword this message to your heart’s content.
While your name and email are required to contact the landlord, phone numbers are optional. Once you’re done filling out the form, click Send message.
HotPads will send off your questionnaire to the landlord.
Use the HotPads App for Android and iOS
Before we wrap up this article, we need to mention HotPad’s apps.
HotPads has highly rated apps for both Android and iOS. Through them, you can basically do the same things that you do on the website, just in mobile format.
Rental apps like these are handy because they allow you to bring your HotPad information to any rental viewing that you attend.
Find a Cheap Apartment
Apartment hunting is often stressful because of the money involved. There’s usually a limited amount of housing, and you’re competing against other people to find a place that fits within your budget. However, websites like HotPads can make this more manageable.
For more services like HotPads, check out these sites to search for your next apartment.