If you plan to move to a new apartment, you may wonder if it makes a difference what time of year you are writing a lease. Prices and availability of rentals often vary throughout the year. Depending on what you are looking for – more apartments to choose from or possibly lower rent – there are some months when you can get better luck.
Here are some things to consider if you are writing a lease at different times of the year:
Understanding the demand in your area
It is important to understand the rental market you want to move in as the rent pattern may vary depending on where you live. Like most things, supply and demand determine the rental market prices. Therefore, you can get better deals on renting when the demand for apartments or apartments is lowest according to Rent.com.
It can be helpful to contact a local real estate agent and get their perspective on the rental market in your area of interest. The US News and World Report notes that a real estate agent can also help you with your search, but they can charge a fee for their service or get a commission from the landlord once you have signed the lease. Working with a professional can be particularly useful in a tight rental market, as they can help with the search (instead of spending hours looking for listings on the web) and setting up lease agreements.
Potential savings in the colder months [1
9659004] If you hope to save some money, you can have luck from October to April according to Rent.com. Fewer people move during the winter, so a landlord may be more willing to negotiate with you during this time as the demand for rents is lower. RentHop says the lowest rents tend to be on lease agreements signed between December and March. In the 10 major cities they looked at, the rent was on average 3.9 percent lower during these winter months.
The reverse side to the potentially lower prices is that you may have fewer rental options to choose from. Apartment Guide also notes that a landlord or property manager may ask you to write a lease that is either shorter (maybe even month to month) or longer than usual, so that the apartment returns to the market during high demand months. Before signing, consider when you need to look for a new place again and if that time frame works for you.
More availability in the warmer months
Most move between May and September, says Rent.com, which means that you can have a larger range of rentals to choose from during the months that current tenants are moving out. The disadvantage of this, however, is that you will likely have more competition when applying for an apartment – and this demand may mean that the rent is higher than what would have been in the winter, according to the Apartment Guide.
Price comparison and negotiation
Even during the winter months, most landlords will not simply hand over a discount. Be prepared to negotiate with your potential landlord. Before you talk about the price, do your homework by examining the cost of similar apartments in the market.
While it can never be an ideal time for a move, every season has its advantages and disadvantages for the tenants. You may be able to save some money by utilizing lower demand in winter, but have more apartments to choose from if you wait for spring or summer.
Originally published on February 16, 2016.