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How to Find an Apartment in Philadelphia

Wondering how to find an apartment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, without spending a ton of money or getting a little closet to live in? Here are some of our tricks of the trade. Use our apartment-hunting tips to help you move into a better place.

First of all, be choosey (and patient).

About half of the city’s occupants (46 percent in 2014) are renters, and it’s very clearly a buyers’ market. Unlike many other cities in the U.S., you’ll have the opportunity to be a bit more choosey when shopping around to find apartments. For-rent signs are more frequent, and applicant processes are a bit less difficult than in, say, Boston.

It’s relatively easy to find an apartment in Philly, but it’s relatively difficult to find a nice apartment in Philly. "Class A" apartments and condos have a vacancy rate of less than two percent. So if you’re hoping for any old place, you’re in luck. If you’re hoping for a mind-blowing, luxurious place, you might need to wait a bit longer or contact a broker.

how to find an apartment in philadelphia

Pick the right neighborhood.

One of the best ways to find apartments in Philadelphia is to simply go on foot and visit some of these neighborhoods in person to get a feel for the style, safety, and attitude. Drive around with a buddy or local expert and see the area at night, too (because sometimes there’s a whole different feel at night). If you don’t have the opportunity to visit in person, use our online neighborhood guide to get a feel for the most popular areas. Note that you could always connect with a friend who lives there or talk to a rental agent about which areas are the safest, the most up-and-coming, and the most affordable.

Finding the perfect neighborhood should be done before you start looking at websites and listings. If you’re raising a small family, Manayunk (a.k.a. "the place where we go to drink") may not be the best option, for instance. Conversely, if you’re single and want to be in the thick of things, East Falls may be a bit dull. More than other cities, Philly is full of a wide variety of cool areas; finding the right one just depends on what you’re looking for.

how to find an apartment in philadelphia

Be safe when finding an apartment online.

Many people simply ask themselves, "Where can I find apartments in Philadelphia near me?" and go right to Craigslist, an app, or some other online locator. That’s a fine way to go about it, but it’s important to keep in mind that Philly has had its share of scams. Always visit in person, and always do that with a friend.

Note that it’s a growing trend to rely on other means of finding a mid- to high-quality apartment. Many first-time apartment-shoppers hire a broker like Jumpshell, who’ll work with landlords to find better apartments for their clients.

Know what to expect.

Your landlord must provide a variety of required amenities in your apartment, namely the following: a flushable toilet, a bathtub or shower, a kitchen sink, a safe cooking range, a ventilation system in every room, two electrical outlets in every room, lighting in all public hallways, and running water including hot water. They must heat to a minimum of 68 degrees throughout October to April, and they also must complete all necessary repairs. That’s what even the cheapest apartment should have in Philly. Anything less would not only be gross but illegal.

They’ll also be required to provide a Certificate of Rental Suitability, which you’re entitled to, which assures future tenants that their apartment is up to code.

Know when to use a rental agent.

If you’re shopping for a good apartment in the right neighborhood, connecting with a rental agent is how to find an apartment in Philadelphia, PA. Don’t suffer through listings sites and waste time and money; hire a finder to locate the best local listing. Contact us now.

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