No matter where you move to, the first challenge of relocation is always the same: You need to find a comfortable, affordable, and convenient place to call home. Some might try to fulfill that goal by buying a house — but for an increasing number of home-seekers, homing in on a dream rental has become the way to go. 

Renting trends are on the up and up. Currently, over 45 percent of households in California rent their homes, a rate well above the 36 percent average reported nationwide. Millennials, in particular, are avid renters; according to a recent survey from Apartment List, 12.3 percent of millennial renters say that they intend to “always rent,” a significant uptick from the 10.7 percent reported the year before. Statista similarly reports that in 2017, a full half of all renters in the U.S. were under thirty years old. 

So, why the push towards renting? The reasons are prolific. Unlike homeowners, renters aren’t tethered to one home or location for years on end. They can move around, explore, and follow their careers to new horizons. Rental properties are also significantly more accessible from a financial perspective, as they don’t require residents to put down an expensive down payment or set aside money to cover pricy real estate taxes. Access to amenities, too, is a factor. While it might be cost-prohibitive for a homeowner to build a pool or equip a home gym, many apartment buildings offer such amenities to renters at little to no additional cost. 

The benefits of renting are well-established — but how do you find the right home, and how long should the process take? Research from Zillow indicates that the majority of aspiring renters (66 percent) spend between two weeks and two months searching. While some turned to old standbys such as word-of-mouth and referrals, the vast majority relied on online tools. 

Homing in on your dream rental isn’t always easy. But with online tools and a little time, finding your new home might not be as difficult as you thought it would be. 

Let’s highlight a few of the best renter’s tools online today. 

Zumper

Zumper is an online real estate platform that has empowered millions of renters to find houses, apartments, condos, and even single rooms to rent in their dream neighborhoods. Zumper’s rental search tool gives renters a chance to filter potential homes by location, price range, bedroom count, pet-friendliness, and other features. Users can also set up an alert that will notify them any time a new listing goes onto the market. 

If you’re too busy or overwhelmed to search for rentals yourself, you can also enroll in Zumper Select. This elite program will connect you with rental experts who can provide insights on neighborhoods and listings, then schedule visits and accompany home-searchers on their tours. 

“We know that where you live is important,” Zumper representatives write on their website. “Whether you’re relocating to a new city or just moving around the corner, Zumper Select reduces the time and hassle of apartment hunting.”

Apartments.com

Apartments.com boasts over a million listings on its site and connects home-searchers to the best apartments, houses, condos, and townhomes available for rent in their area. It also provides a plethora of articles to support current and future renters in their home search, with topics such as “What to Know Before Signing Your First Lease,” “How to Use Renter Tools in Your Online Apartment Search,” and “Navigating Your Lease Agreement.”

Trulia

Headquartered in San Francisco, Trulia provides an information-packed experience for aspiring renters. When home-searchers enter their preferred rental location, Trulia’s platform offers a scrolling screen of listings and an easily-navigable map. After clicking a promising listing, searchers can assess essential information such as price, bedroom and bathroom counts, and square footage, as well as scroll through real estate photos and use a simple form to contact the listing’s realtor. 

Zillow

According to research published by Statista, Zillow is the most popular real estate platform on the market today, reporting an incredible 36 million unique visitors per month. The site hosts over 110 million properties, including those that aren’t currently available for purchase or rent. Zillow describes itself as “the leading real estate and rental marketplace” for consumers, and aspires to connect users to the property information and landlords they need to rent their dream home. Zillow also boasts a blog, Porchlight, which provides easy access to informational resources that home-searchers need to find and rent an apartment. 

Finding your dream rental shouldn’t be stressful. Start your home-search by scrolling through one (or all) of the above platforms!