Best Time to Apartment Hunt Is NOW

It may seem counter-intuitive, after all it seems like school has just barely started, but this is the ideal time of the year to haul your holiday-coma-induced butt off the sofa and start making plans for your living quarters next year. You want to get the jump on the competition and score the ideal pad at the best price.

In Davis, every renter is on the Sept.1-Aug. 31 lease, so the complexes know which units will be available next summer. Your mother always said that the early bird gets the worm. Now is the time to act if you’d rather live with a view of bathing beauties lounging poolside, rather than within the sights and sounds of the apartment complex’s dumpster.

Best Time of Year

Based on RentHop data, the best time of year to apartment hunt appears to be any time other than summer (with November being the choicest month).

Rental rates increase dramatically during this period, from July through September. If you’re looking to move in September, you could be paying $90-100 extra a month on a $3000 unit. That’s almost 3% more than the yearly average. (Or, 30 tall lattes worth!)

If you find yourself looking for an apartment in the summer, try negotiating a longer lease so you can set yourself up for a cheaper renewal month next year. Landlords are often accommodating if you want to add an extra month or two to your lease. If you find an apartment in August for example, you should be able to negotiate a 14-month lease that pushes your lease end to October.

Best Time of Month: The very beginning or the very end

There are two ways you can go about it:

First Dibs Strategy: For first dibs on the best apartments, we recommend (and the New York Times agrees) that you start your hunt as close to the 1st of the month as possible. Why? Most people have leases that terminate at the end of the month, leaving apartments open starting on the 1st. You’ll have first pick of the best inventory.

End-of-Month Bargains: As you close in on the end of the month, landlords desperate to fill vacancies are more willing to cut prices. After all, losing out on a month of tenancy would mean loss of income for the landlord. At this point the ball is in your court. You may not have your pick of the choicest pads, and you may be playing it fast and loose, but smart landlords should be willing to haggle if you’re willing to move in immediately.

To get the rest of the scoop (and see their nifty graphics) and stay ahead of the renting curve, read the rest of the article.