Looking for a new place to live and wondering when is the best time to rent an apartment? You’ve probably already asked yourself questions about how much you can afford in rent and where you want to live. But when peak moving season ends in September, another question may be top of mind: “Is the apartment I’m looking for out there at all?” If you’re worried about looking for an apartment during the off-season, all hope may not be lost. Although most people move in the Spring and Summer months, the colder months provide opportunity for renters who are looking to save some money. Many apartment hunters don’t realize that the off-season isn’t a rental wasteland; it can often be an ideal time for apartment hunting.
The off-season for apartment renters is between October and April. For renters, peak apartment hunting season usually takes place between May and September. This seasonal shift in renting makes sense: better weather and shifting school schedules can make the spring and summer months a more attractive time to move. Kids are out of school, and recent graduates are moving to new cities or back home after college. But that doesn’t mean you have to postpone your hunt for the place that’s right for you. In fact, moving during the off-season can be a smarter decision if you are trying to find an affordable apartment.
Fewer people moving means less competition. There may be less choices available to you, but you’ll find property managers are more eager to welcome new residents to their properties as the demand slows down.You are likely to be offered better lease terms, waived fees, and lower rents. Off-season deals may be so tempting that some renters wait for the market to cool before looking for a new place. Make sure to check your current lease to be sure you’re able to swing an off-season move before beginning the hunt. Be strategic if you are getting into a new lease. A 9-month or 14-month lease can position you to move at a more ideal time, as opposed to the traditional 12-month lease. If your lease is up in the summer, go month-to month until the Fall. This will allow you more time to look for a place you really like, land the best deal, while having flexibility in your current lease.
Why Fall and Winter are the best times to rent an apartment
To prepare yourself for off-season apartment hunting, make sure you’ve got a solid strategy in place. Now’s the time to identify your apartment priorities, including property type, square footage, location, amenities, and on what you may be willing to compromise. While you may find something within your price range, you might not have the upgraded appliances you wanted. On another hand, you might get the neighborhood and unit type you were looking for, but may have to compromise on price range or move-in date. Be open-minded during the process.
Remember to stay flexible where possible. Since off-season apartment inventory can be more limited, you may determine your original must-haves may be traded in for perks like quicker move-in time or lower rent.
And don’t forget negotiation will likely be a critical part of the process. If you are looking for an apartment during a spike in rental demand, you might not have the ability to ask the property to fix a cosmetic flaw, upgrade an appliance or write off utilities. During the off-season, it may be more possible to make these inquiries, as demand decreases. When negotiating a better deal on an apartment, be ready to present what makes you a great renter, such as paying on time or taking great care of previous apartment rentals. You may wish to consider committing to a longer lease to get what you want.
Approach the leasing agent with confidence and ask for just a bit more than you think you deserve while utilizing your strengths to do so. Support your points with research and documentation in order to get past potential sticking points. Remain confident, calm and optimistic. It’s all part of the off-season game!
You may run into some leasing situations in the off-season that you’d never see during peak months. Don’t be surprised by those who expect quick move-ins or longer/shorter leases than you expect.Residents of property managers may have broken their leases unexpectedly, leaving an apartment vacant suddenly, or the peak-season rush may have never materialized. Property managers may be more willing to work with prospective tenants to get them into vacant properties more quickly.
The great thing about the off-season: there’s less inventory. As a renter, you are therefore more in demand. Use that as a bargaining chip during negotiations with leasing agents, and you may end up with the apartment of your dreams!