When Is The Best Time For Apartment Hunting?

The accepted wisdom is that the summer is the best time for apartment hunting, but each season, time of month and even time of day have their plusses and minuses. With many college graduates decamping for new adventures, May through September months have the most vacancies, but also the most competition. Meanwhile, winter has fewer vacancies but also less competition. It all depends on your needs and what you’re looking for. Here’s some handy rules-of-thumb for when to find the apartment of your dreams.

The Best Season For Apartment Hunting

Spring And Summer Are The Best Times For Lots Of Options

As we already mentioned, many college graduates vacate their apartments in the spring and summer, moving along to the next chapter of their lives. Many young adults, moving into their first apartments, will be on break from school as well, making it an easier time to schedule moving.

The weather also tends to be much more pleasant and conducive to moving in the warm weather months, making the moving process much less taxing. Taken together, this makes spring and summer a vibrant, exciting time for apartment hunting – the human equivalent of migration season!

Of course, this also means there’s lots of competition, so you’ll need a streamlined apartment hunting strategy, have your paperwork ready and be prepared to pay full market price.

Fall and Winter Are The Best Times For Saving

It’s common knowledge that apartment hunting in the winter is a bad idea. You’ll be braving deadly slick U-haul ramps, icy steps, and the sniffles, and that’s exactly what could make moving in the winter such a good idea! Nobody in their right mind wants to do it so if a landlord has a vacancy they’ll be ready to negotiate. Utilities might be a little higher if you move in the winter, but it’s as expensive as it’s going to get – so it’ll only get easier to meet your monthly expenses as time goes on.

According to a study from Center for Housing Policy from May 2013, 53% of Americans claim that rent is their greatest monthly expense, frequently costing more than utilities, groceries, transportation, and other monthly payments put together. With money being as tight as it is, it’s smart to save whenever and wherever you can.

Pro tip: Offer to take a 15-18 month lease, so the renewal will come in the busy season. Landlord may like that enough to spot some free rent and you’ll have more options when the lease is up and you want to move on.

The Best Time Of The Month For Apartment Hunting

There’s two different ways you can go about this.

The ‘Early Bird’ Apartment Hunting Strategy

Apartment Hunting at the beginning of the month makes sense – it’s when most people are moving and when landlords are scrabbling to fill vacancies. You’ll have the most options if you apartment hunt as close to the 1st of the month as possible.

The ‘Late To The Party’ Apartment Hunting Strategy

Much like we’ve mentioned, regarding apartment hunting in the winter, landlords are much more hungry to fill vacancies later in the month – empty apartments mean empty wallets. This gives you much more leverage in getting the apartment you want, and getting a good deal. Depending on when you want to move, you might even be able to score a pro-rated rent for your first month, making it easier to come up with the down payment. Considering that often you need to come up with first and last month’s rent, PLUS a deposit, and pennies saved during the move-in can be a huge help.

The Best Time Of Day For Apartment Hunting

If you ARE moving during the more competitive apartment hunting months, or if you’re living in a high-demand area like NYC or San Francisco, you’ll need to be efficient to find the right apartment.

According to San Francisco’s LiveLovely.com, the best time of day for apartment hunting is between 9 AM – 5 PM. It’s when most apartment listings are posted, giving you first dibs if you’re on it and paying attention. Most apartment brokers post their listings from 9 – 10 AM, so get up early and get ready to snag the apartment of your dreams!

When are you looking to move? What are some challenges you’ve been facing? Let us know in the comments!

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Author My First Apartment
J Simpson

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J. Simpson is a prolific freelance writer, blogger, and musician, based out of Portland, Or. He is fascinated with every aspect of modern living, and how to make the best of it, frequently writing about business, technology, and spirituality, as well as every aspect of culture - music, art, literature, cinema, TV, and comics. For more from J., follow him on Twitter at @for3stpunk.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar Alice Carroll

    I never knew before that I can strategically plan out when in a month should I hunt for apartments. It’s great to know that landlords apparently scramble to fill vacancies during the beginning of the month. I think I’m going to have a better chance of scoring one that is near my university if I go for the early bird approach.