The City by the Bay hardly needs an introduction. Whether you’re a student gearing up for a new semester, a new hire at a tech company, or simply love the city’s energy, moving here is a new adventure. This guide to how to find a sublet in San Francisco will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls of a short-term housing search.

It can be quite stressful trying to find San Francisco sublets! After all, you’re not looking for an apartment in the middle of nowhere. Although it is the center of Silicon Valley’s tech scene, San Francisco is a surprisingly small city.Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.At last count, the city’s population was estimated to be 815,000 residents. (This number is taken from the latest government figures.) Compared to Los Angeles’s 3.8 million people and San Diego’s 1.5 million, San Francisco seems downright tiny.

As you might imagine, the competition for housing in the Bay Area can be stiff. This is especially true when it comes to San Francisco sublets.

Why is it so hard to find a sublet in San Francisco? Because, by necessity, you’re only looking at apartments that are occupied by someone who wants to get out of their lease early. Many people who are seeking a sublet end up choosing short-term furnished apartments in San Francisco instead.

If you’re ready to commit your time and energy to the search, our tips for how to find a sublet in San Francisco will help you stay ahead of the pack. These time-tested methods will save you time and money and streamline your search.

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This article will cover how to find a sublet in San Francisco, including the best websites to start your search and some questions to consider before you look at a single apartment.

How to find a sublet in San Francisco in person and online

When looking for housing in San Francisco – or any city! – you need to start your research as far ahead of your move as possible. If you use your computer (or phone) upfront, you can save time on the ground as you get closer to your desired move-in date.

It’s a good idea to see your apartment in person before you agree to any San Francisco sublets. However, the more planning and research you do before you arrive, the less time you will spend traveling around the Bay Area to see potential homes.

Here are some of the best places to start your housing search.

Classified ads

Classified ads have been around in some form or another for hundreds of years, so it makes sense that they would be an ideal place to start your search for a San Francisco sublet.

Many people use online databases to but neglect this low-tech approach! You can view the classifieds section of both major newspapers and alternative weeklies online.

If you also want to scope out fliers and handwritten ads, ask a friend to look around for you. Bars, cafes, laundromats, and student centers are great places to find potential San Francisco sublets.

Online platforms and websites

There are hundreds of San Francisco sublets to be found online. Start your search with websites like Craigslist, SpareRoom, and

Each of these online housing databases has hundreds of possible new homes. Pro tip: Use filters to narrow down results to only show you apartments. After all, you’re not looking to buy a house! You can also target specific San Francisco neighborhoods.

Social media

Did you know that you can find San Francisco sublets on Facebook Marketplace? What used to be a site for people looking to unload whatever is cluttering up their storage units is now a sophisticated housing database.

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Facebook Marketplace has a variety of rooms and apartments in San Francisco available for rent, including sublets.

Even better, you can use Facebook Messenger to correspond with potential new landlords without having to write an email or call them on the phone.

Furnished vs. unfurnished sublets

Another key consideration when you’re looking for San Francisco sublets is whether to restrict yourself to unfurnished units.

The advantage of an unfurnished apartment is that you can keep all of your furniture and decorate the place to your liking.

That said, there are not as many unfurnished San Francisco sublets as furnished ones. Why not?

Some people decide to sublet because they want to terminate their lease early, but many others are traveling and plan to resume their lease. They don’t want to remove their furniture to accommodate yours.

For the widest selection of San Francisco sublets, you should look at both furnished and unfurnished units.

Is a San Francisco sublet the right choice for you?

Relocating to the Bay Area is an adventure! You may be about to start a new job or enroll in school, in which case signing a lease makes sense.

But what if you don’t have a job yet? Or maybe you just want to see if San Francisco is a good match for you lifestyle-wise?

Many people who start out looking for sublets in San Francisco end up choosing a short-term rental instead.

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by the sublet market, don’t worry. There is a wide range of temporary housing in San Francisco, from Airbnbs to hotels to short term rental apartments.

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A few other things to decide before staying in a sublet

Limiting your housing search to San Francisco sublets gives you flexibility over your stay – and your budget! After all, it’s much cheaper to agree to rent a room for three months than for a whole year.

However, there are a few thorny issues to consider before signing on the dotted line.


Whether you’re staying for a short time or want to make the city your new home, location matters! Before you agree to even view a potential apartment, make sure it is in a safe neighborhood. If you won’t be moving with your car, you will also want to be near public transportation.

Budgeting for amenities

Another critical factor is cost.

Extras like gardens, roof decks, coworking lounges, and in-unit laundry are also imperative factors in your search for sublets in San Francisco. Think about your top necessities (vs. your needs) so that you can quickly scan through ads.

Remember, the more extras, the more expensive the apartment will be. You need to be flexible but realistic about your budget – and your occupation dates.

Rental period

Another important consideration is the lease period. The dates may not line up exactly, but you need to only look at sublets that match the period that you plan to stay in the city.

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For example, a San Francisco sublet that is available from January to June won’t be a good fit for someone who needs to stay in the city from February all the way through September.

That said, it can be hard to find San Francisco sublets that meet all three of these considerations. A short-term rental may end up being a better option.

Furnished rental apartments let you experience all of the comforts of home without having to or set up utilities, move in furniture, or even sign a lease.

Blueground has hundreds of flexible-term rental apartments in San Francisco where you can stay for 30 days or up to a year or longer. Much like with San Francisco sublets, our guests can expect to find everything they need to live well, from furniture and appliances to bed sheets to pots and pans.Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.We hope this guide to how to find a sublets in San Francisco was helpful! Remember, it will take some patience to discover your dream home. The more research you do before you arrive, the less time you will have to spend on your housing search instead of enjoying the city.

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