03 Jan Looking for a Great Deal on an Apartment? Start Your Hunt During the Off-Season!
Peak apartment rental season kicks off as schools let out for summer and typically runs through September. For most people, late spring through summer is the most convenient time to move; parents usually prefer not to uproot their kids during the school year, and no one likes the idea of loading and unloading boxes during a snow storm. As old renters move out, apartment complexes offer move-in specials in hopes of attracting new renters to fill their vacancies.
During peak season, apartment supply and demand are both high. The opposite is true for the off-season. While this means there will be fewer apartments to choose from, it also means there will be less competition for available units, making potential renters much more valuable to apartment managers.
Tips for Apartment Hunting During the Off-Season:
- Review your current lease. If it expires during peak season, try to negotiate a month-to-month arrangement so you can move during the off-season without being penalized.
- Know your priorities. This is important anytime you’re looking for an apartment, but especially so when you’re searching during the off-season. Less inventory means less of a chance you’ll find an apartment within your budget that checks off all the items on your wish list. Decide what you’re willing to compromise on and what you can’t live without before you look at available units.
- Start your search at home. Before you visit apartment complexes in person, do an online search of the options available. Familiarize yourself with the different amenities and price ranges offered by the complexes within your search area. Gather as much knowledge as possible, so you’ll be in a better position to negotiate price when you meet with apartment managers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Maybe you’ve found an apartment that’s almost perfect, but you don’t like the condition of the stove or you notice scuff marks on the baseboards. If you were apartment hunting during peak season, the manager may have a list of other people who would be happy to take the unit as-is. In the off-season, it’s much more likely that the complex has more vacant units than potential renters, making the manager more inclined to provide appliance or cosmetic upgrades in order to fill the vacancy.
- Arrive at the apartment complex ready to sign a lease. Apartment hunting during the off-season puts you in a great position to negotiate a deal; the last thing you want to do is walk away without finalizing it. Make sure you have your driver’s license, social security card, proof of income, rental history, and references ready when you arrive at the rental office.
While not practical for every renter, apartment hunting during the off-season offers advantages that aren’t available during the busy summer months.