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How Long Does it Take to Find an Apartment?

March 20, 2019

The apartment hunting process - a gloriously stressful and exciting time. If you’re planning on moving to a new apartment soon, you might be wondering how long it takes to find an apartment. Give yourself adequate time beforehand, because there is a lot to consider and plenty of steps to take before moving in. Finding an apartment can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. If you aren’t crammed for time, follow our steps below.

Early browsing - 2 to 3 months before move in

Starting browsing for apartments about two or three months before your target move-in day. If you are moving to a nearby apartment or relocating to a familiar place, you likely have a good idea of where you want to live already. If you are moving to a new place, it’s time to do some research. Look up information on different neighborhoods in your target city. Communities will often have forums like City-Data, so that’s a great place to go ask questions. In the early stages of browsing, consider the price you are willing to pay for an apartment and it’s proximity to your workplace. You may find the dream apartment with a roofdeck pool and all the amenities you’ve ever wanted, but if it’s going to be a dreadful commute it might not be worth it. If you’re moving to a new city, make sure to visit first to get a feel for it.

Touring - 1 to 2 months before move in

After doing an extensive amount of research, try to narrow down a few suitable neighborhoods that you’d enjoy living in. Make sure there are rentals you can afford within them. If you need a bit of help figuring out how much rent you can afford, use a rent calculator to give you an estimate. After narrowing down your location, make a list of a few options that you like. Using Apartment List’ shortlist is a great way to keep track of all the apartments you are interested in. Try to gather a list of 5-10 options that fit all of your needs. From there, get in touch with each apartment and schedule a viewing. You may have to take time off of work for tours since some leasing offices are only open during normal work hours. Some are also open on the weekends, it just depends on the property. Try to set up multiple tours in a day to knock them out at once. Ideally, your tours should be around one to two months before you want to move in.

Applying - 1 month before move in

After weighing your options, hopefully you have settled on an apartment that you love and checks all of your boxes. You should fill out your apartment application about a month before your targeted move in date. When filling in the application, there is some additional paperwork you will need, so make sure to have that prepared. Also, don’t forget that most applications have a small fee that you’ll need to cover.

Moving Day

The stressful part is finally over, right? Well, sort of. Moving day can bring its own challenges, so make sure you’re prepared. Budget out the costs of moving beforehand as they can add up quick. If you’re bringing pets along with you on the move, check out these tips to make it a smooth process.

All in all, the apartment search process from beginning to end should take around three months. However, if you are in a rush, you may need to expedite this process and take care of these steps in a short time period. Need help with that? Tweet us @ApartmentList.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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