When you are planning a move, there are many factors to take into consideration. One of them is the ever-changing real estate market, which has a huge impact on whether you will find your dream apartment or not, as well as the how much you will pay for rent and other fees. It is therefore important to be informed when it comes to the best time to rent an apartment.
What is the best month to rent an apartment? Depending on your needs, the best month to rent on your apartment varies. If you want to have a wider selection of rental units to choose from, consider moving anywhere between May and September. If you intend to save some money, consider moving anywhere between December and March.
If you are able to make concrete plans regarding what time of the year you want to look for an apartment, choosing the right month could make a huge difference. Of course, there are other factors to consider, but the ideal time to rent an apartment entirely relies on your priorities.
Factors to rent an apartment at the best time
1. You are looking to save money
If your priority is to get a great deal on an apartment, then you want to rent an apartment during the winter, which means roughly between December and March. This is because there are not many people who are looking for an apartment during this period. The holiday season and the beginning of the year usually mean that people are a little more reluctant to go apartment hunting, and the harsher weather conditions that come with winter doesn’t help.
Another possibility for why the demand is lower during the winter may be because most people, especially college students, make big life changes during the summer rather than the winter season. Due to these factors, landlords are more willing to take a lower rental rate since they don’t want their units sitting empty for months before the summer frenzy picks up. As a result, they are more likely to offer more concessions to get you to sign the lease agreement.
According to RentHop, there is an average “discount” of about 3.4% on the rent between the cheaper months (in the winter) and peak months (in the summer) The survey covered 10 major cities in the U.S, and additionally established that the overall peak-to-slump differences are between 2.0% to 4.7% for 1 bedroom apartments, and 1.6% to 7.1% for 2 bedroom apartments. Although these figures may seem small, the total annual savings you make from opting to rent during the cheaper months can be significant. RentHop concludes that the cheapest month to rent apartments in most cities is in December.
In addition to searching for an apartment between December and March, you will generally get a better deal if you go for an apartment in markets that have a greater supply than demand. This means looking for apartments in neighborhoods with higher vacancy rates or where there is new apartment construction.
Before you pack up and move to a cheaper apartment on a chilly winter day, here are some factors to take into consideration:
- You will have a limited selection – You will have fewer units to choose from since most apartments will have been snapped up during the summer. Consequently, you may have to make some compromises in order to get an apartment at a great deal.
- Breaking your lease to move – If you are breaking your lease in order to move into a cheaper apartment during the winter, you may want to stop and think about the long term repercussions of your decision. Breaking a lease can end up costing you more than the savings you might make when you move into a new apartment in December. Going against the terms provided in your current lease agreement comes with a variety of potential expenses, including move-out and repair costs as well as court fees for when your landlord takes legal action against you. So before you move out, analyze all these factors to determine whether it is really worth it to break your lease.
- Terms of the lease – Before you sign the lease agreement of the apartment that you may find for a great deal in December, make sure that you go over the terms carefully. If the terms on your lease are not flexible, then you might end up getting stuck in a bad rental cycle for the long term. Keep in mind that the rental market goes through a slump during December and other winter months, so by the time you want to move again, your options could be very limited. Consider going for apartments that offer short term leases so that you are not bounded when you feel the need to move.
2. You want to have a wide selection to choose from
Many people tend to move between May and September. This does not come as a surprise since the period between these months is when kids are home on summer break, young people are just starting or graduating from college, and the weather is generally mellow and more suitable for moving your belongings from one apartment to another.
During this period, most people sign long term leases, which usually lasts for 12 months. Consequently, these leases will come to an end around the same time they were signed, which automatically means that there will be a high number of apartments coming on the market between May and September. Therefore, you have more options to choose from when you opt to rent an apartment during these months. You are more likely to find an apartment that suits your needs during this period.
Some considerations to keep in mind when searching for an apartment during these months are as follows:
- Pressure due to the high demand – During this period, the apartments that are on the market are in high demand since there are more people moving. As a result, there is pressure to act quickly in making a decision about a particular rental unit to avoid losing it to another prospective tenant.
- The rent will also be higher – Since the competition for the ideal rental unit is particularly high during these months, landlords tend to demand a relatively higher rent than they would in December or other cooler months.
Best time of the month to start looking for an apartment
Once you make a definite decision on the month you want to move, you have to make up your mind on when to start searching for a new apartment. There are two strategies you can consider when it comes to apartment hunting:
- The beginning of the month – Consider starting your search for an apartment to rent as close to the first of the month as possible. This is because most people have leases that terminate as the month is coming to a close, which means that if you start looking at this time, you will find apartments right as they are being put on the market. Consequently, you will have the priority of looking at some of the best apartments available.
- The end of the month – As the month comes to an end, landlords are usually eager to fill vacancies in their units. As a result, they are more willing to negotiate the prices since missing out on a month of tenancy automatically means a significant loss of income for the landlord. This puts you in a great position to negotiate the rent with the landlord, and if you are willing to move in immediately, the better your chances. Keep in mind that you may not get a wide selection of apartments as the month comes to an end, but the good deal you will probably get should make up for that.
Best time of day to look for an apartment
If you are looking for an apartment in a high-demand area or you simply just want the best deal, then knowing the time of day to search for one is very crucial. The best time of the day to check listings for apartments online is between 9 am and 10 am. This is considered to be ideal because most property managers and brokers tend to post new listings for apartments that are newly vacant during this time period. Therefore, to get ahead of the competition, consider looking for apartments at this time.
- When should I start packing before a move? Moving to a new apartment takes a lot of time and energy, so you should start preparing as early as possible. Consider packing at least 6 weeks before the official moving day and plan everything carefully.
- What is the best day of the week to move? Most people prefer to move towards the end of the week since this is when they are likely to have time off. You can take advantage of this by moving on a weekday since this is when the demand for moving services is low.