RentHop in action.

It’s quickly approaching that horrible time of year again: Your landlord comes to you with a massive rent jack, and you’re forced to begin the tedious, tiresome search of scouring for a new apartment – a full-time job in itself. The first place you often think to turn is Craigslist, only to want to gouge your eyes out after spending hours searching through listings that look like they were posted by a 14-year-old girl:

~~~ *****AmAzInG 2 bEdRoOM iN hArVaRD****~~~~

Yeah… no. Skip the trials and tribulations of Craigslist this season, and check out these alternative apartment searching tools, so that you can end up with the apartment of your dreams, without all the headaches.

RentHop– MIT grads founded this Y Combinator startup based on “quality sorting.” Narrow down by preferences, then receive a “Hop Score” for each apartment that matches your preferences. The score is a combination of how long an apartment’s been on the market, but also how popular it is based on other people’s searches. What’s more, RentHop can also penalize brokerage companies if they hear of bait-and-switch situations or illegitimate addresses.

SocialRent

RentPrefs – Working straight out of Boston’s DogPatch Labs, RentPrefs has apartment-seekers fill out an online survey of their apartment preferences, from the neighborhood they’d like to live in to other amenities. The site then “aggregates a large database of possible apartments and presents the renter with a shortlist of matches made on a high level of compatibility,” RentPrefs CEO Matthew Boyes-Watson told BostInno in a recent interview. From there, you are free to contact whichever agents are to your liking and set up showings. For more, check out RentPrefs’ 10 steps for renting in Boston, too.

SocialRent – Started by five Boston University students, SocialRent is an online, Facebook-based platform that allows renters to choose who they’d like to live with, enter their price range, decide on a location and configure their ideal layout. The SocialRent team does the rest.

Padmapper iPhone app

Lovely – If you’re a visual person, Lovely is the apartment-searching tool for you. The site brings you to a neighborhood map, which shows available apartments as little dots across the city. Scroll over the dot to see photos of the apartments, as well as price listings and amenities. Lovely pulls some of its listing data from Craiglist, so you can’t guarantee the crazy listing will be completely gone, but the organization is much more “Lovely,” if you will.

Padmapper – Padmapper is also a great visual tool for apartment searching. While the interface is not as sleek as Lovely, it gets the job done by pinpointing available apartments on a map and organizing them in a visual way. Padmapper also has a great mobile app to help search on the go and keep track of your finds – great for when you’re spending those endless Saturdays treading on foot with local realtors.

What tools do you use to help aid your apartment search?