While people move year-round, there are specific times of the year that are better for moving than others. As a renter, looking for an affordable apartment that meets your needs, you'll want to know the best time of the month to rent, when you'll have the most bargaining power and the highest potential to save money and get what you want.
Typically, the months of May through August are the peak months for moving season. In fact, more than 65 percent of moves occur during this time period. Warm weather makes moving easier and generally more enjoyable than trying to move during the cold, wet days of winter.
The end of August also marks the start of the back-to-school season, which means high school graduates are moving to college, college students are heading back to campus and recent college graduates are moving to new cities to start their real-world jobs. All of these people need a place to live, making the demand and prices for apartments high.
May through August may be the best time of year to rent if you have specific criteria in mind for your apartment. You'll have plenty of options available, but you'll need to act fast and you'll likely pay top price for rentals because the demand for them is so high.
Once the warm days of summer have faded and fall and winter approach, renters have a better chance of securing an apartment for a lower rate. The apartments available may not include everything on your wish-list, but the rent may be lower because property managers want to ensure each apartment building has tenants and therefore, are more willing to bargain on the cost of rent.
Now that we've determined fall and winter are the best months to rent to potentially save money, let's look at the best time within the month to rent.
Most leases terminate at the end of each month and require at least 30 days written notice to vacate. Knowing this will help apartment hunters strategically time when they start to look for a new place to rent.
For example, if you're looking to secure an apartment and move in January, start searching for an apartment in the middle of December. Previous tenants who are moving out of their current apartments in December will need to be out of the apartment by the end of the month, which allows you to move in at the start of January.
If you start looking for an apartment at the beginning of the month, chances are you'll miss out on a lot of rental options because property managers usually start new leases at the beginning of every month. Because of this 30-day leasing cycle, you'll have the most options available to you if you start looking for apartments in the middle of the month before you wish to move in.
As for the specific time of day to start looking at apartment listings, think about the typical workday. Most Americans work 9 to 5 and it's likely that property managers and agents will start posting new listings when they first arrive at the office between 9 and 10 a.m. As you're looking for apartments to rent, check out new listings at the start of each day and inquire about them immediately after.
While the cost of rent may be lower in the winter months compared to summer months, you'll want to carefully consider if it's worth breaking your current lease early in order to get lower rent. If you're considering this, you'll want to do these things first:
If you'll lose money or break even by ending your lease and moving early, it's probably not worth it. However, if you'll save a significant amount of money month over month by moving in the winter, it's worth strongly considering.
Regardless of when you move, remember to consider these costs that are applicable during any apartment move:
People move and change apartments for a variety of reasons. Whether it's to have more space, be closer to friends and family, reduce their commute time or move to a different neighborhood, people are always on the move.
Not all moves can be strategically timed due to life circumstances. However, if you're in a position where you can hold off moving, you may want to wait until peak season has ended. If you want to save money on rent, the best time of year to rent is during the fall and winter.
If you're comfortable with your current rent but want a better apartment or more options, start looking for a new apartment between May and August. Finding a new apartment can be stressful, but if you strategically time your move, you may be able to save money and live in your dream apartment.