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I’m getting a divorce

I fell in love about five years ago. But today, I want nothing more than a divorce….from Craigslist that is. You didn’t think I was talking about Girl Ninja, did you? Our long distance relationship is nearing an end (three more days!), which means we get to live together again. The way it was meant to be. Needless to say, we are pretty friggin’ excited.

Being rant….

I’ve spent the last two weeks aggressively scouring Craigslist (CL) looking for our next place, and let me tell you, it’s quite possibly the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Like seriously, ever! To be fair, it’s not really CL’s fault. No, it’s the 80 bajillion craigslist spammers that get under my skin. When I punch in “Seattle” in my search box I want to see an ad with pictures like this….

Sure, the pictures in the above ad aren’t the greatest quality. They are a little small. A little dark. And probably don’t show the place to it’s full potential, but you wanna know what they are? PICTURES OF THE FREAKIN’ RENTAL!!!! I’m going to punch a baby kitten in the face if I see another stinkin’ Craigslist spam ad that looks like this…

There are two things that really bother me with these types of ads. First, nothing in the description is describing the actual unit for rent. No square footage, no layout images, no lease terms? Are your apartments so crappy the only selling point is that they are across the street from a park? Second, there are only three pictures in the entire ad, one of which is a stock photo of some flowers!!! WHY FLOWERS?! Again there must be something seriously wrong with your apartment if the only pictures you’ll show me are from the outside. Worst. Marketing. Ever.

I really wish Craigslist allowed you more search parameters. Like number of bathrooms, type of rental (apt, condo, house), amenities, etc. I also wish they found a way to block the mega apartment complexes from advertising. It seems like they are the worst offenders. Fortunately, I’ve figured out a few ways to make my searching a little faster. Here they are…

1. Most of the big apartment complexes have their own websites. I don’t need to see their ads on CL, so by typing in “condo” in the search template it cuts out 85% of the junk. It’s not perfect, but it definitely helps expedite the searching process.

2. I recently began using this second tactic and it’s worked out pretty well. I look at the price before I read the title. By scanning the price list I can immediately rule out anything that ends in a number other than 0. Most of the spammy rentals have weird pricing, like $1,213 or $1,347. Virtually every condo/townhouse/home on CL for rent is priced at $1,200, $1,350, etc. Legit ads typically end in a 0, crappy ads end in everything else.

3. I use a third party client to demolish CL hunting. I have Craigs Easy downloaded on my computer and CraigsPro downloaded on my iPad. These apps basically search CL but display the information in a much more efficient manner. It’s pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread…

If it weren’t for these three little Craigslist tricks, I’d divorce that guy in a second. But for now, I will continue searching hours after hour, waiting for “the perfect place” to come up on my radar. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later 🙂

What improvements would you like to see made to CL? Do you have any tips/tricks that you use when you search? Why do spammers always have to go an mess up a good thing (Craigslist, email, telemarketers)!




  1. I haven’t used Craigslist much at all, but can see what you mean. If you are afraid to show the unit, then I would wonder about the condition.

  2. I use When I was looking for an apartment a year ago, I tried what you’re doing and got extremely frustrated. When I heard about this site from a friend on twitter, it saved me from going crazy. It collates all the apartments that are shown on craigslist and a few other sites and maps them, filters them by search parameters, allows you to save favorites, and save notes about each place. Plus, you know exactly where the place is immediately.

  3. Hubby and I have decided to put our condo up for sale next spring, so we’ve started looking at real estate listings in our area. I’ve come across a number of condos/townhouses that have an abundance of pictures of the grounds, but not alot of pics of the inside of the unit…why is that? Because, like you said, the unit’s probably really crappy and needs a lot of work; not sure why a listing agent would think it’s OK to not include pics of bathrooms/kitchens/bedrooms, but I’m thinking they’ve likely only had their real estate license for about 5 minutes. Same goes for the 3 pages of pics, with 15 of them being taken from every angle of the living room… very amateur.

    Good luck with finding your new digs!!

  4. My only tip is to ditch Craigslist altogether, or at least for the most part. There are other, more specific sites, that I find to be a lot more effective. (I can’t really recommend any, because all the ones I and my friends used to find our places are specific to Canada, but I’m sure there are some out there specific to the US and even just Seattle.)

    Also, check newspaper listings and just go to your favoured neighbourhood and walk around looking for For Rent signs. I know this sounds a little old school, but a lot of landlords (in Toronto at least) don’t even bother putting the place up on Craigslist, either because they’re old and don’t really get the internet, or because there’s such a high remand for a rental in the neighbourhood. I found my apartment by just showing up in my hood and walking around, looking at different units. I found it in one day. A friend of mine searched for two months (!!!) on Craigslist and totally stressed herself out before finally finding an apartment.

    Anyway, good luck!

    • Oh yeah. This. I live in Seattle and I’ve never found a place via Craigslist. Just go to the neighborhood you’re interested in, walk around and look for “For Rent” signs, and call the landlord.

  5. I also noticed that the big apartment complexes end in weird numbers where landlords will price with round numbers. What’s up with that? The only thing I can say about apartment hunting on Criagslist is that it takes a lot of patience and diligence. Good luck!

  6. You know how some woman are so pro at shopping that they just close their eyes and put their hand on a rack and weed out all of the bad stuff without even considering or looking at it? I’m like that with craigslist. It’s bad sometimes – but it is the best free classifieds out there, so I still love it.

  7. I’ve used Craigslist to search for rental houses and apartments. It’s definitely hit and miss. That scammy ad looks very familiar. 😉 I use other rental websites, like, as well to really check out what’s available in my area. Good luck on your apartment search!

  8. I’ve never really been a fan of Craigslist myself (sorry?) I much prefer Kijiji because I find there are fewer spam/con postings. Also, for my area (up in Ontario, Canada) there are many more postings on Kijiji. So for me Kijiji wins in quality and quantity. But I typically look at Craigslist if my dear Kijiji doesn’t produce any results


  9. I cut down a lot on my hunt for a new apartment by knowing what location I wanted to live in ahead of time and used local terms to make sure only apartments nearby would show up.

  10. I appreciate your frustration – but from the individual landlord’s perspective. I have nice, clean apartments (and also individual rooms) that I post on craigslist – with lots of actual photos of the inside and outside. My ads are quickly subsumed by the big apartment complex ads that are posted multiple times a day. I don’t know how to fight it, and resort to putting the zip code of where my place is located, including the phrase “individual landlord” (though I doubt that anyone searches by that phrase) and making my ad information thorough and personalized. And my prices always end in a 0 or a 5.

    Good luck – I hope you can find a good, individual landlord who will treat you right!

  11. Let’s just face it, house hunting in the Seattle area sucks right now. Boeing and Microsoft are both hiring tons of people and there is definitely a ton of competition.

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