But even though winter is coming, it’s not impossible to find a new apartment. In fact, with the right insider knowledge and know-how, apartment hunting in the winter can actually be quite beneficial!
Follow our tips to make the most of your experience apartment hunting in the winter.
1. Keep inventory and competition in mind
The two biggest factors that affect apartment hunting success are inventory and competition. Think of them like supply and demand in economics. Inventory and competition both drastically decrease during the winter months. This means:
- There will be less available rental units on the market during these months
- But there will also be fewer people vying for those units
Knowing this, you can actually end up quite successful – especially if you’re looking for a standard, run-of-the-mill apartment.
2. Don’t be afraid of the cold
In most urban cities, new rentals hit the market every day. Searching for apartments online, you’ll most likely notice a number of these listings pop up. However, in the colder months, renters are much less likely to get out and tour these units or even request more info. For many, it’s just too cold to move! You can beat the competition by braving the cooler temperatures.
3. Take advantage of college towns
At most American universities, the break between semesters begins in mid-December and ends in mid-January. This means that rentals will likely open up in droves around this time.
If you’re looking to live in a neighborhood that’s near a college or university, you might just score big time with a rush of fresh inventory. It can even be helpful to check on local student housing social media pages or in the student newspaper.
4. Hit the private rental market
If you’re searching for apartments in the Yellow Pages, you’re only seeing about 25 percent of total rentals! The other 75 percent are owned by an individual investor and may be harder to find.
To find these rentals, you have to go to other sources – like rent.com or local forums. You may even have to open up a real, print newspaper.
5. See if you can strike a deal
It’s no secret – in today’s rental market most of us really appreciate a discounted rate. Because there are less renters out there to fight over available rentals, you’ll be more likely to strike a deal with a landlord who’s desperate to fill their empty unit. Especially in the case of individually-owned rentals, you might be able to negotiate a lower monthly rent rate, a smaller security deposit, a free month or a shorter lease term.
6. Be flexible
There are wants and there are needs. When renting, it’s so important to be clear on which of your desired features are wants and which are needs. To find an available rental within your budget during the winter, you might have to be flexible with some of the things you classify as “wants.” For example, location, square footage and amenities might have to go by the wayside to get an affordable unit with the right number of rooms and an agreeable lease.