The Best Time of Year To Rent an Apartment
Occasionally we get asked the question, “What is the best time of year to rent an apartment?” It’s a tough question because there are a lot of factors that come into play, but here a few things to keep in mind—assuming you have the flexibility to pick a time of the year to move.
Most Americans move between May and September. This is not surprising when you think about the fact that young people start or graduate from college during this time, younger kids are out of school on summer break, and the weather is generally more accommodating to moving yourself and your household from one location to another. Because of this, there is more turnover in rental units during this time of the year as compared to most any other time of the year. As such, you may have a wider selection of units to choose from than at other times of the year.
The flip side to the above is that there may also be greater demand from renters vying for those rental units during the summer than at other times of the year. This may mean that you have to act more quickly in making a decision about a rental so as not to lose it to another interested renter. From a purely economic standpoint, rather than just thinking about the time of the year to rent an apartment, consider the following.
How to Get the Best Deal on an Apartment:
- Supply and Demand Within the Neighborhood: You’ll generally get a better deal in markets that have greater supply than demand for rental housing. If you are moving to Los Angeles, for example, you may have a few different neighborhoods that you are considering. Talk to people who live in the neighborhoods you are considering and try to get a feel for the vacancy rates. Those with higher rates are a good place to start looking if they offer comparable properties and amenities.
- Length of Time on the Market: Try to find out how long a unit has been on the market. A unit may have been sitting on the market for a while because it was mis-priced, not because it is an awful unit. At some point in time, the landlord will start to get anxious about filling the vacancy and may be more flexible about the price.
- Timing of Lease Expiration: Think about how much flexibility you have around moving out. In trying to get a good deal, the time the lease expires is just as important as the time that the lease is signed. Landlords want to know that they can keep their vacancy levels low and they will price their rents not just around current demand, but also around expected demand at the time the lease expires. If they think they will have to spend lots of marketing dollars to fill a vacancy and miss out on collecting rents because the lease expires at a time of the year with low demand, then they may want to make up for that by charging more monthly rent over the lease term. Talk to your prospective landlord about ways to structure lease terms that result in a lower monthly payment for you.