What Is an Apartment Locator Service?

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated February 23, 2022
woman moving into new apartment with boxes
Photo: StockRocket / iStock / Getty Images


  • Apartment locator services are free to apartment seekers.

  • Apartment locators are usually experts in their city and know the best spots to rent.

  • These services can save you time and money and help navigate special circumstances.

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We’ve all been through it—you have to look for a new apartment, and the classified ads and online listings aren’t doing the trick. Instead of renting an apartment that you don’t absolutely love, consider using an apartment locator service. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are Apartment Locator Services?

Apartment locators are real estate agents who, instead of helping clients find listings to buy, help clients find listings to rent. While they’re usually called apartment locators, they can also help you find single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums—whatever you’re looking for.

How Apartment Locator Services Work

woman on laptop doing research
Photo: Anatoliy Karlyuk / Adobe Stock

So, what exactly does an apartment locator do for you? For starters, they’ll look for apartments in your desired location that meet your criteria, saving you from having to scroll through endless listings yourself. Then, they’ll provide you with a list of the top available apartments. 

Most apartment locators are extremely familiar with their city, which means that they know the ins and outs of every neighborhood. They also have access to listings that may not be available to the public on apartment rental sites. Apartment locators also cultivate relationships with building managers in the area, so they will contact them to place a new tenant when a property becomes available.

Do You Have to Pay for an Apartment Locator?

The apartment seeker typically does not have to pay any fees for an apartment locator, and you should be wary of any service provider that charges fees to renters. Property owners typically pay apartment locators on commission, so they don’t get paid unless they seal the deal. Any fees charged by the locator should be communicated in writing prior to using their services.

Benefits of Working with Apartment Locators

There are quite a few benefits to working with an apartment locator.

They Can Help in Special Circumstances

One of the great things about working with an apartment locator is that they can set parameters specific to your search and weed out whatever isn’t a good fit. If you’re looking at renting an apartment with utilities, furnishings, or certain accommodations, they will take the work off your hands and complete the search for you.

Need a pet-friendly apartment? They’ll find it. And they’ll make sure that you know the property’s weight limits and breed restrictions if they have any. Some locators will even check to see if the landlord rents to registered sex offenders or former convicted felons.

They Can Save You Money

You waste valuable time and money when you tour apartments that don’t fit your housing needs and wants. Some apartment location services will even find you deals, like reduced apartment fees and deposits or free first month’s rent. They can negotiate with landlords on your behalf if you find a place that you love to help it fit into your price range. Plus, they’ll be able to tell you whether certain apartments are charging more than their competitors down the block.

They Can Save You Time

Aside from saving you on time you would spend touring at apartments that aren’t right for you, apartment location services will save your time by completing the research for you. That means they’ll weed through the online listings, make calls to apartment managers, and ask pre-tour questions on your behalf. Research is a major part of apartment hunting, and outsourcing this step to an apartment locator can save you time, money, and a headache.

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