If you can make a strategic decision about the time of year to search, choosing the right month could save you a few headaches and even a few dollars. Though the ideal time to rent an apartment varies according to a number of factors, here are a few details to consider.
While all of these can have an impact on the cost of your apartment, there’s nothing that’s going to work miracles for you here. You’re most likely to get a difference of about 5% between the peak and low season. It’s not nothing, but you’re not going to find yourself with an apartment in Manhattan for $1000 a month. It’s going to help, just calibrate your expectations appropriately.
The busiest season for moves happens between May and September. This makes sense when you consider that summer time is when kids get out of school, college students graduate, and the weather turns nice for outdoor activities like moving.
All of these factors make summer an ideal time for choice, but not for price. Demand is at is peak, so you’ll be best off financially waiting for the winter. The holiday season leaves a lot of people with little energy or money, so fewer renters are looking for apartments. Since an empty apartment makes no money, you can probably find landlords willing to trade lower rent for filling the apartment immediately during the winter.
So, you’re already looking for an apartment in the winter, but you think you can do better than just the month. Just when in the month is the best time to look for an apartment?
Most leases expire at the end of the month, so you’re going to have the most going on the market right at the end of the month or beginning of the next. Since you have to give notice 30 days in advance, listings going up will be available the next month, so if you want the most choice, look right about a month before you have to move.
But what if you’re interested in saving money? This is where you play into desperation and look in the middle of the month. The units that are still available in the middle of the month either have been or are at risk of sitting vacant for a while. Like looking for apartments in the winter, you might be able to get a better deal if property managers are scrambling to fill the unit and you’re willing to move in immediately.
Want to get really specific? Start looking at listings between 9 and 10 AM local time. This is when the business day is just getting started, so any new listings should be going up first thing in the morning.
The trends above are generally true, but depending on where you’re moving, there may be different trends. For example, if you’re moving to a college town or city with a significant student population, the best time to look is right after school starts in September, but you might not be able to move into a unit until the end of the school year in April.
Whatever you do, timing is everything. There are better times than others to rent an apartment, and finding the right timing can help you find the perfect place or save a little money.
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