How Early Should You Start the Apartment Hunt?

Hunting for a new apartment can be a long and somewhat stressful process, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to find something great before it’s time to move out of your current apartment. If you’re living in or moving to your first apartment and you don’t have much experience with this search, how do you know when to start looking? Read on below to learn exactly when you should start the apartment hunt.

Be aware of the market where you’re moving

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting your apartment hunt is the market where you’re moving. The rental market can be wildly different from city to city and even in different areas of the same city, so you should consider this in your search. For some locations, you might need to join a waiting list for several months to get into the apartment you want.

How early should you start looking for an apartment?

Finding a new apartment is a process with several steps, so it’s best to start thinking about it two to three months in advance. This is the time to decide on the general area you’re hoping to move to, whether it’s a new city or just a different neighborhood in the city you already live in.

About a month or a month and a half before you plan to move out, you should start seriously touring apartments that seem like potential options. Make sure you know exactly when your lease ends, as well as a range of days when you could potentially move in, so you can communicate with potential landlords about when you’d need to start renting the new apartment.

When is it too early to start looking?

The problem with looking for an apartment too early is that landlords and property management companies want to have their available units rented out as soon as possible. If you find an apartment you love too early before you’re ready to move in, it’s unlikely that the owner will hold it for you until you’re ready to purchase it. Two months before you plan to move is generally the earliest you’d want to start touring apartments.

Apartment complex waiting lists

If you’re hoping to move into a large apartment complex or apartment building, you may want to consider getting on a waiting list ahead of time. Most apartment complexes will require you to put in an application and submit an application fee to be on the waiting list, but the small fee can still be worth it to lock down a potential option.

When should you make a decision on a new apartment?

As a general rule of thumb, you should try to make a decision and sign a lease for your new apartment three to four weeks before you plan on moving out of your current apartment. This should give you sufficient time to move your things from your current apartment to the new one without having to pay for two apartments at once for several months.

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