Your lease is up, you can’t renew, and you’re looking for a new apartment near you. Or you’re moving to a new city. Or you’re going off to college, moving in with your significant other, longing to have an entire place to call your personal space – there are plenty of reasons why you might be looking for a new rental. Some come with a sense of urgency; some allow you plenty of time to search for that ideal mix of cozy and modern. But if you’re here, you’re wondering when you can get the best possible deal on your new rental. And we’ve got you covered, whether you need to pack up quickly or you have all the time in the world.
The best time of year to get a good deal on your apartment
Let’s start big. There’s plenty of advice online when it comes to getting a good deal on your new place, especially if you’re searching for apartments in a large metro area, like Baltimore. Some say October is the best month for low prices on new rentals; others say it’s December or January. These months all have one thing in common: if you’re looking for a great deal, avoid the period between late spring and early autumn.
The summer months are when most people prefer moving – the weather’s forgiving, school’s out for the kids and energy levels are up for the adults. If you start searching for your new place anytime outside of this period, you’re already getting a better deal.
That being said, a couple of months do stand out with smaller than average rents. Last year, for example, the national average dropped in January, October, and November, while in 2017, January and September were the months to start renting a new place, according to RENTCafé data.
Overall, you should either go for January, when people are still reeling from the holidays, or mid to late autumn. Most yearly leases expire in August or September, so owners start to feel the pressure to close deals by October or November.
The best time of the month to get a good deal on your apartment
The fact of the matter is sometimes you need to move fast. The good news is that even if you need to move between late spring and early autumn, you can still get a good deal with some short-term planning.
First off, start looking for new places 4 to 6 weeks before your move, so you have some time to research the market. If you start earlier, a lot of the apartments you find will probably be taken by the time you’re ready to sign the lease. Start your search later, and you might scramble to find a new place at a decent price.
Secondly, try to look for your new place at the beginning of the month. You’ll have more options since most leases expire at the end of the month. Alternately, look for rentals near the very end of the month, when owners are looking to close and are more likely to give you a better deal. But keep in mind that late in the month, you’ll be choosing from a substantially smaller selection of apartments.
The best time of day to look for a new apartment
This may come as a surprise, but even the time of day can affect your chances of getting a good deal since most agents put their listings up in the morning. Of course, this piece of advice is most useful if you’re looking to rent an apartment in a densely populated metro area like New York or Los Angeles, but it can also affect your bottom line if you live in a smaller city.
Of course, if you’re working a 9-to-5, it’s not exactly easy to look at a listings in the first part of the day. However, if you really want to get a good deal on your new place, you should consider taking a day or two off near the beginning of the month for this specific purpose.
All in all, if moving day isn’t right around the corner, go for the period between mid-autumn and mid-winter. If you need to be quick, at least try to wait until the beginning of the next month. And in any scenario, start your search in the first part of the day if your time allows it, and soon enough, you’ll have a new home and a great deal on rent to go along with it.
About the author
Irina is a writer for RENTCafé, where she covers market trends and topics relevant to today’s renters. Before developing a passion for real estate, she focused on fields ranging from automotive electronics to digital business development, digging into tech news from a critical perspective.