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When Is the Best Time to Rent an Apartment?

February 20, 2017 by Stacy KapasourisMoving Tool

A variety of factors must be considered when choosing the best time to rent an apartment. Ultimately, in order to be supremely picky, an individual must have sufficient cash flow, savings and a temporary place to stay until an apartment can be chosen. For an individual with the necessary time and space to be choosy, among the major considerations are whether the renter is seeking the best available choices or the lowest available rental rates.

Summer for Choice

The busiest rental-moving period is between the months of May and September. This is largely due to the fact that a number of life changes tend to occur in these months. For example, many high school graduates are leaving home, and college graduates are seeking real estate close to where they will start their careers. Also, the beginning of nicer weather makes for more convenient loading and unloading of furniture.

Life and weather changes during the summer season mean a much higher turnover rate. This means that finding an apartment is easier, and there is a wider selection of apartments to choose from.

However, precisely because the summer season has the most moving activity, demand for rental space is extremely high. This generally leads to higher rental fees, sometimes up to double what might be negotiated during the off-peak seasons of winter and fall. Also, with demand up, the quest for the perfect apartment leads to higher-than-normal competition for the same space and thus forces individuals to act fast in order to lock in an apartment.

Winter for Savings

For the lowest rental rates, the winter season is the best time to rent, especially right after the Christmas-New Year’s holiday season, when demand is usually at its lowest level of the year, with fewer renters interested in moving. Individuals renting between the months of January and March typically find the best rental bargains. However, the low level of moving activity and turnover at that time of year usually means that it’s more difficult to find exactly the apartment you’re looking for.

How to Apartment Hunt

Once a target moving season has been determined, narrow the choice down to a specific month. For example, consider that the target move month is August. The ideal time to begin the search for an appropriate apartment is at the end of the month prior to the target move month; so, in this example, the individual would want to begin the apartment hunt during the last two weeks of July.

While this tactic may seem somewhat last minute, it is actually ideal, because the majority of renters have leases that expire at the end of a month, or within the first few days of the next month. Renters that are about to leave vacancies will have given, or will be giving, their 30-day notices during this time, and individuals are apt to get first choice of available space if they begin their apartment search within that time frame.

Individuals willing to take a gamble or who have the flexibility to move on a moment’s notice may do well to employ a different apartment-hunting approach. Waiting until the second week of the month to move can prove lucrative, as landlords trying to fill vacancies become more eager to secure new renters.