Is There an Ideal Season to Rent an Apartment?
If you have the flexibility to make a strategic decision about the time of year to search, choosing the right month could have a large impact. Though there will be other factors, the ideal time to rent an apartment mostly comes down to one question about your priorities: Are you looking for the best apartment, or the best price?
Best time for a cheap apartment
If your main concern is the price, you’re going to want to be looking in the winter, especially December to March. Most people make their big life changes in the summer (college students moving away from home, to name one example), so demand and prices are highest then, and lowest in the winter. You’re probably not going to have as much choice, since most leases are going to end in the summer, but not wanting a unit to sit empty for months will make most apartment managers willing to take a lower rental rate.
While prices are going to be cheaper in winter, don’t expect miracles. You’re unlikely to find a big enough difference to justify making a move like breaking your current lease to move in the winter. You’re also likely to find the landlord is willing to offer you more concessions to get you to sign a longer or shorter lease. It’s in their best interest for the apartment to come back on the market in the summer, and they’ll take an opportunity to do so if given the chance.
Best time for apartment choice
On the flip side, you’re going to have the most choice looking in the summer, roughly between May and September. Most people sign 12-month leases in the summer, meaning that they also end around that time, so this is when the highest number of new apartments are coming on the market. The downsides are you’ll have to act fast and face higher rent – there are a lot of other renters looking for the perfect place at the same time.
Best time of the month to search
So, you know what month you want to move. Is there a better time in the month to start looking?
Absolutely. Most leases expire at the end of the month and require notice 30 days before leaving. Start looking around that time, and you’ll be finding apartments right as they’re going up on the market. If you want to move in December, start looking in the last couple weeks of November.
You can also try looking in the middle of the month. Anything available then has probably been sitting empty for a little while, and property managers are probably scrambling to get someone in that unit. If you’re willing to move in immediately, it could save you a fair amount of money.
The best time of day
If you want to get really specific, the best time to check online listings is between 9 and 10 am. Why? That’s when property managers are most likely to post new listings for recently-vacated rentals. You can strike while the iron is hot!