Were you aware that knowing the right month to look for an apartment could save you a lot of money and headache? Just like a job search, apartment hunting has seasonality and patterns that repeat each year. Whether you are looking for the best deal, or trying to secure a great apartment with tons of amenities in a perfect location, you should be strategic with your search. To help you with this, we put together some tips on best time to rent an apartment based on the study on rent seasonality published by our research team.
1. Search in winter to secure the cheapest rent.
If you thought that moving in winter is a pain, you are not alone. Most people don’t like relocating in winter, especially in cities like Boston, Chicago or New York, where snowstorms and icy roads can cause delays and affect your moving plans. Since the majority of people find moving in cooler months dreadful, it’s also the best time to score a great deal on an apartment. The demand for apartments is usually at its lowest in December and January, but property managers still need to have their units filled to keep the vacancy rates low. Therefore, “off-season” winter months is the time when renters have the most leverage when negotiating rental prices and the best time to rent an apartment. If you are on a tight budget, avoid searching between late spring and early fall. In those months rental rates are at their highest.
2. Wait until summer to find an apartment of your dreams.
On the flip side, if you are looking for the coolest apartment in the trendiest location with top amenities, finding it during the cheapest months might be challenging. The moving season starts in March and peaks in August. It’s the peak season for the housing market and the time when a wider selection of apartments become available to renters. Whether you are looking for a cozy studio in a trendy district or a spacious two-bedroom apartment in a good school district, you are more likely to find one during these months.
However, you have to keep in mind that despite having more options, you have to be alert and fast with your applications. In summer months competition increases drastically, because it’s the time of the year when people make major life changes. For instance, former high schoolers look for apartments and rooms in college towns, college grads relocate to major cities in search of job opportunities, and families try to move before the beginning of the school year. When search volume peaks in summer months, property managers and landlords receive more leads than any other time of year. Therefore, renters must be extra alert and proactive about contacting properties.
Additionally, renters should be prepared to move fast in because property managers and landlords have more potential renters to choose between for a vacant apartment.
Beware, because of the increased demand and diminishing supply – units fill up quickly – rental rates are at their highest. So, if you are trying to save money, it’s not be the best time to rent an apartment.
3. Start your apartment search early and take your time.
According to our study, apartment searches pick up in December and January and slowly increase until their peak in July. The more people are out there searching for a new apartment, the more competition you have. Even if you are planning to move in the summer, you want to begin your apartment hunt when the rental market is slow so you can do the picking. The earlier you start the choosier you can be.
4. Breaking your lease early might not be worth the lower rent.
If you got to the end of this article and figured out the best time to rent an apartment, you might think that breaking your 12-month lease early to find a cheap apartment off-season might be a good idea. However, it might not be the case unless you have a valid excuse. You can lose your security deposit and burn bridges with your landlord, which is not a good idea if you ever need to provide rental references. Carefully read your lease terms before making any moves. If after all the considerations you decide to move out early, write a notice to vacate to your landlord and suggest helping them to find potential tenants to avoid penalties.