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Timing is everything when it comes to renting an apartment; so when is the best time to rent, you ask? Well, that depends on a few defining factors, such as when most renters are moving and in turn searching for a new apartment, and when the market is cost effective. If you’re like us (and I assume you are), you’re looking for the best apartment for the best deal at the best time. Easier said than done, I know. But with a little information on the rental market and its seasonal changes, you’ll be sure to land the apartment of your dreams at the right time for the right price.
Many people preparing to move (60% in fact) choose to move and look for a new apartment during the summer, typically May through September. These warmer months are a popular time to move and rent an apartment for various reasons. For instance, graduates are looking for their first apartment near their new job and families are moving when their kids have a break from school.
Regardless of the scenario, the rental market follows this trend accordingly, so you can expect the cost of rent to increase during these summer months. Without considering budget, moving during the summer seems like a logical choice, right? It’s a transition period for a lot of people, not to mention it’s easier to move your belongings when it’s warm outside, rather than cold and snowing. But for those of us who are budget-focused, the summer months are probably not your best bet for renting an apartment, considering the cost of moving in the summer is high.
If May through September is when rent skyrockets, then you’re left with October through April to find the best deal on an apartment. Out of these months, it’s been shown that winter is actually your best bet for getting more bang for your buck in the rental world. Yes, it’s going to be a chilly moving day, but if you’re striving to save money on your lease, and potentially on your lease renewal (if you choose to renew a year later), then moving during the winter is worth the chattering teeth on moving day.
You likely won’t have as many units to choose from because most people moved in during the summer. But with whatever vacancies the apartment community does have, the property manager is more likely to give you a move-in special, discount, or good deal on rent so that they can get their remaining units occupied. The higher the demand for an apartment, the higher the cost, so if the demand for apartments is lower in December through February, then the cost of rent will also be lower. The amount of renters seeking an apartment moves up gradually through the spring, peaking in summer, so aim to sign a lease for less rent while you can in the winter.
Ideally, you should begin to look for an apartment 30 to 60 days before you plan to move. If you want to move in February, then the best time to begin your apartment search is in December or January. You want to give yourself enough time to find an apartment, while still searching at the most strategic time. You’ve got the cheapest months down pat (December through February), but now you need to rent an apartment at the best time of the month.
Because most renters’ leases expire at the end or beginning of the month, you’ll likely have the most options to choose from if you sign a lease accordingly, right after the previous tenant has moved out and the apartment has been cleaned and prepped for the next tenant. Getting first pick is definitely a plus. However, you may find apartment communities that have units available throughout the entire month, offering prorated rent if you move in any time other than the first or last of the month, which is a common time to move in. It just depends on the apartment management at that specific community.
So you’ve discovered that renting an apartment during the winter months is how you’re going to secure the lowest rental rate. But did you consider the drawbacks of this decision? From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, you’re likely going to be busy during the winter months cooking holiday meals, hosting family get-togethers, or traveling to loved one’s homes for the holidays. So if know you’ll be too busy to move during prime winter season, think about pushing your move until February when things have died down a bit.
There are going to be perks and drawbacks to every season, but renting an apartment is what you make of it! Do your research, be strategic about seasonality, compare rental rates between apartment communities, and choose the apartment you think is right for you when you’re ready to sign a lease. And if all goes well, you’ll be settled in your new apartment in no time.