Apartment Locators Explained

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Apartment locators find apartments based on your needs. They use agents, sometimes real estate agents, to compile apartment listings and refer apartments based on the tenants they’re working with. Most apartment locators serve specific regions, but there are national apartment locators with local branches.

Types of Rental Units

Apartment locators don’t just match you with apartments. There are a number of other rental units that they can match you with, including:

  • Townhomes
  • Single family dwellings
  • Condominiums
  • Lofts
  • Farmhouses
  • Trailers

For example, if you want to find houses for rent, an apartment locator will search their database for private homes and search elsewhere to find you a house to rent. They won’t waste your time showing you apartments. Finding alternatives to apartments in some areas can be difficult, especially when it’s moving season and many people are looking to rent at the same time. That’s when apartment locators can be beneficial.


Most apartment locators offer a free service to tenants. They are paid by the property managers and apartment communities for the service. In addition to free services, apartment locators compete with each other to offer tenants incentives to use them. For example, an apartment locator may offer you a cash rebate or hire movers for you, all for free. They get their money back in commissions they charge to the apartment owners. Compare apartment locators to see what they offer tenants who choose their services, and see if the savings or other benefits offered are worth your while.


You can fill out a registration or request form online and submit it through the apartment locator’s website. It’s what they will use to find listings that meet your needs. Most registration forms ask for:

  • Name and contact information
  • Rent price range
  • Move date
  • Number of Occupants
  • Number of bedrooms you’re looking for
  • Length of lease
  • Number of pets
  • Laundry needs (for example, washer and dryer hookups)
  • Area of town

There’s also a space for you to write additional requests. For example, if you want a two-story home or a fenced-in backyard, you would write down your request in the space provided. The person who receives your form enters you into their databases, an agent is assigned to work with you and they begin the work of comparing your form to the listings they have.

Where to Find One

The Internet is the best place to find local apartment locators. They place pictures, virtual tours and detailed information on their websites. There isn’t a one-stop shop for apartment locators, and the best thing to do is type “apartment locators” and “your city” using a search engine. You’ll get a list of apartment locators that serve the areas where you want to rent. If you use Google, you’ll get a list of local businesses with contact information as part of your search results. Google uses your IP address to know what city you’re searching from, and will pull up local apartment locators. However, that may not be of any use to you if you’re relocating to a new city.

Understanding the role of apartment locators will help you decide whether you need to hire one. If you feel that you can do the same thing on your own with better results, then there’s no need to hire them.

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