If you’re planning to move out of your current apartment and need a new place, it’s important to start looking for apartments several months before your move-in date.
This will give you the time to look for an apartment that meets your needs and avoid any “bait and switch” opportunities when applying.
1. 60 days before your move-in date
Before starting your apartment search, set a target move-in date. Whether you’re moving for a new job or because of a family change, identifying a target move-in date will help you narrow your search and avoid making hasty decisions.
Typically, the best time to look for an apartment is in the middle of the month prior to your target move-in date. This gives you 30 days to search, look at rentals, and decide on the ideal location for your needs.
Most landlords post their rental listings 60 days before they need new tenants, which is the perfect amount of time to begin looking. However, individuals who have the flexibility to move on a moment’s notice or those who are seeking apartments with specific amenities can start their search earlier.
To make sure you’re not wasting your time, make a list of the essential features you need from an apartment and any other bonuses that might appeal to you. These will help you narrow down your search and make the process faster and easier.
Additionally, it’s important to establish your budget before you begin your apartment hunt. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to pay in rent. If you aren’t sure, use a rental calculator to find out how much you can expect to pay in your desired city.
When deciding on an apartment, it’s also a good idea to talk with your roommates or other potential residents about what features they would like in an apartment. Ask them about the best places to live and what amenities are most important to them.
In addition to your personal preferences, you should also consider the apartment’s neighborhood and school system. This will impact how quickly you find a place to live and how long it will take to get settled in.
It’s also a good idea to speak with your property manager and inquire about the terms of breaking your lease. Typically, you’ll need to provide notice of non-renewal in writing at least 60 days before your lease expires.
2. 30 days before your move-in date
The best time to start your apartment search is about 30 days before you want to move-in. This allows you to find the apartment that best suits your needs without being too rushed. This also gives you enough time to get a reliable moving company and schedule your move-in date.
Most leases expire at the end of a month and require notice 30 days before you leave, so this is the perfect time to start your search. Many landlords prefer to have their property rented within this time frame.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged if you’re looking for an apartment farther out than that. In fact, many landlords allow tenants to sign leases 60-90 days before the move-in date, which is a good option for those who need to start their search more than a few months in advance.
If you’re planning to move in the summer, you may be able to lock up apartments even sooner. This is because there’s an extra demand for rental units during this period, particularly for college students who are leaving their homes to go to school.
In addition, apartments that aren’t occupied during the winter tend to be less expensive. That’s because many renters won’t want to spend the extra money for a place that won’t be occupied for long periods of time.
While you’re at it, consider negotiating the move-in date for your new home. Often times the lease starts on the first day of the month, but you can talk to the landlord about the day you receive the keys and start moving your stuff in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most landlords will thoroughly clean and paint an apartment before a new tenant moves in. This gives them a chance to fix any little things that the last tenant might have done.
When you’re looking for an apartment, make a list of the amenities that are most important to you and any features that you would consider a bonus. This will help you narrow your search and determine which neighborhoods are best for you. It can also save you time and energy when you do begin touring apartments.
3. 15 days before your move-in date
There are a few factors to keep in mind when it comes to looking for apartments. First, you need to know when to start your search.
Generally speaking, you should look for an apartment about a month and a half before your move-in date. This gives you time to hone your preferences and get the best recommendations from brokers who specialize in the neighborhoods you want. You don’t need to be in the city to do this, either — take virtual tours online or contact agents who specialize in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to pay a security deposit at the lease signing. This can be one to three months’ worth of rent, depending on the property. It’s important to prepare for this, because you can’t get it back if you don’t move in on time.
Additionally, you’ll need to determine how much notice you need to give the landlord. If you’re on a month-to-month lease, you may have to give the landlord up to 60 days’ notice before your lease ends. If you’re on an annual lease, you should start your search at least two months before your current lease is due to end.
This is especially important if you’re looking for an apartment in a co-op or condo. These buildings require in-depth applications, so you’ll need to be ready to submit them a few weeks before your desired move-in date.
Finally, keep in mind that many rental units sit empty for a while before they’re filled. When you view an apartment, ask the agent or landlord about how long it’s been on the market. This can help you determine whether the property is likely to be available for move-in on your chosen date.
Lastly, you should also consider the cost of moving. It’s common for landlords to ask for a pro-rated amount of the first month’s rent if you’re moving in before your lease starts. Having this in mind can make your move-in process smoother and reduce the risk of any surprises.
4. 5 days before your move-in date
If you are looking to move in the near future, start searching for apartments as soon as possible. This will give you more time to see what’s available, and it can also help you put yourself one step ahead of the competition.
The most ideal time to look for apartments is at the end of a month prior to your target moving date, but you can start looking sooner. Many leases expire at the end of a month or within the first few days of the next month, so there will usually be a flood of inventory a month before your desired move-in date.
Another way to find apartments early is to check with your landlord and ask if you can start touring apartments as soon as they become available. They may be more willing to negotiate a rent price if they know you are looking to move in immediately.
Once you’ve made a list of the apartments that appeal to you, make an appointment to tour them at least one or two months before your lease ends. This will allow you to go through all the details of each unit and get an idea of what you’d be getting for your money.
You might also want to take advantage of apartment buildings’ welcome packets, which typically include information about how to set up utilities and other services in the building, and where the nearest post office and grocery stores are located. They’ll also have a list of numbers to call for things like repairs and parking permits.
Ideally, you’ll be ready to sign your lease about a month before your move-in date. You can also use this time to negotiate the terms of your new lease, which will allow you to save some money and be a step ahead of the competition.
If you are looking to save money, it’s often easier to find a good deal on an apartment in winter, as there are less units available. You’ll also have a better chance of negotiating a lower rent since landlords don’t want their units to sit empty for months while they wait for you to move in.