Become a Craigslist Pro to Score Your First Apartment

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You’ve already decided that with or without roommates you’re moving out — sweet. And, you’ve figured out how much to spend on rent. You’ve  told everyone you know  what you are looking for in an apartment and what neighborhood you’re targeting.  But, if you’re like most of us your search now continues with. . .

Step 3. Craigslist

Like it or not, Craigslist is pretty much the best way to find an apartment sans broker. So, why not master your primary source?

Here are some tips that should help you navigate.

If it’s too good to be true — it probably is. There are certainly deals to be had on Craigslist. But there are no KILLINGS to be made on Craigslist. If a place should be $1000/month and it’s $900 — cool you may have found something awesome. Be smart, but don’t worry too much. Once prices start getting lower than $900, start getting skeptical.  If a place is listed for $750 or less, you probably have some dishonest folks on your hands. WATCH OUT!

Use PadMapper to sort by location. The same listings will come up as normally but they’ll be gloriously sorted. The Brooklyn listings that say East Williamsburg but are really in Bushwick? OR Chicago listings that say Logan Square instead of Humbolt Park. Can’t lie to you no more.

Be sincere when responding to ads. Lying now doesn’t do you any good later. If you lie to a roommate, you can end up living with a neat freak when you’re a mess(no fun!). If you claim to make X amount of money — they’ll run a credit check and find you out pronto. It’s much better to just be honest.

Friendliness goes a long way! Sure, you can be a great Craigslist searcher – but ultimately, you’re going to need people to be impressed enough by your note to respond. It’s not so hard to be considerate, just imagine that the person who’s reading it is as busy and discerning as you.

Personalize everything. Just like applying for a job, you’re essentially applying for an apartment. Along with everyone and their mother.  So, look at the listing and specifically address why you fit it like a glove.

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Author My First Apartment

Posted by

I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar MsReyes

    With Craigslist, I found I got better results when I posted in the housing wanted section rather than sifting through the listings everyday. I posted a short description about myself, what I was looking for, my price range, the areas I preferred and I got results. For me living in NYC with a pretty low price range I could afford I was surprised to find availabilities. I was contacted by brokers as well as owners and I found what I needed….FYI: Thanx for the blog it has been helpful.

  2. Avatar Sonya

    Great article! Craigslist is a mystery; it’s simple design, difficult-to-sift-through listings… and yet people will always start there search there!
    I also really like those newer search engines that pick ads up from more than just one spot. Like, and Makes the searching easier.