Rent got you down? Tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.

When I moved into my apartment at 23rd and Alabama in the Mission district of San Francisco 2 years ago, we paid $2900 a month.

The current rent for that apartment has now skyrocketed to $4800, and people are willing to pay it. (I have since moved to Oakland!)

Finding an affordable place can be difficult, so here are some useful tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.


IFTTTIf This Then That is a useful tool that allows you to set up “recipes” based on multiple site interactions. It is powerful, but can take some time to learn.


New post shows up on Craigslist for 2 bedroom house in the mission under $3000 a month. Based on that search URL for Craigslist, IFTTT sends you a text message so you can be the first person to respond.

You can also have IFTTT automatically set up an email draft in Gmail with your canned “I would like to look at your place” email ready to go, with your attached prefilled rental application, and references. All you have to do now is add a bit about the place you are looking at and hit send!

(If you are ever looking for anything at all on Craigslist, IFTTT is your best friend!)


Lovely slurps up craigslist data, but presents it in an organized fashion. It allows you to favorite places, keep notes, and will also notify you when things you are looking for show up. It also allows you to interact with some landlords who use the service.

padmapperSimilar to lovely, with some advanced search options and an older interface.


Tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.

Keep copies of your references, your credit report, and your pay-stubs on Dropbox so you can attach them from your phone or a friend’s computer if you are away from yours when you find out about a place. In this game, being slow means being homeless.

Remember, you need a check for the first and last month’s rent, and the security deposit, so keep those funds in your checking account.

I hope these tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco were helpful – if you have any others, let me know!