A Guide to Know When to Start Looking for an Apartment

Whether you’re a first-time apartment renter or an experienced tenant in need of a new space, apartment-hunting requires planning. Here are some tips to determine when to look for apartments.

When to Look

Establish Your Apartment Hunting Timeline

Give yourself plenty of time to search for an apartment so you don’t rush into a rental agreement that doesn’t suit your preferences. Doing so will provide more opportunities to find competitive rates and prime locations.

90 Days Until Move-In

Use online resources to create a list of potential apartment communities and narrow your search based on size, price and location.

The ideal time to start hunting for an apartment is two to three months before you move so you can evaluate the market. If you look too soon, your unit may not be available when you’re ready to move. Searching too late could limit your options.

What to Look for in an Apartment

Create a list of must-haves when you’re trying to find an apartment. Certain amenities will affect the cost of an apartment, so decide what you’re willing to compromise on and what you need to live comfortably.

Consider amenities and features such as:

  • Hardwood floors and carpeting
  • Walk-in closets
  • Washer and dryer hookups
  • Updated appliances and fixtures
  • Patio/balcony
  • Fitness center
  • Parking
  • Community events
  • Pet policies

60 Days Until Move-In

The last 60 days before your desired move date is the time to ramp up your search and contact property managers to schedule tours. You should also discuss availability so you can apply when you’re ready.

Tour the Apartment Community

Scheduling a tour while apartment hunting allows you to get a feel for a space. That’s something you experience with an online listing. Rental scams are also a risk to be mindful of, so seeing an apartment in person will eliminate any doubts you have about a listing.

Try taking several tours within a few days to compare multiple apartments and weigh your options. Be mindful of noise, odor and indoor and outdoor lighting. Check out the floors, windows and walls for cracks, chips and broken seals. Take note of leaking faucets or mold or mildew in the bathroom and kitchen.

30 Days Until Move-In

Choose your apartment and submit an application. Contact the landlord or property management team to learn about their process and prepare your paperwork. You should also start looking for utility companies to ensure you have water, heat, cable, Internet and electricity if they’re not included with rent.

Know the Application Requirements

Applying for an apartment varies, so do your research and bring the appropriate documentation.

That may include:

  • A completed rental application or agreement
  • A driver’s license or state ID
  • Your previous rental information
  • Proof of employment or income
  • Renters insurance documents
  • Cosigner information, if necessary

What is the Best Time of Year to Search for An Apartment?

The answer depends on your priorities. Here are factors to consider when determining the best time to move to an apartment:

More availability: The number of apartments for rent tends to increase from May through September. The weather is milder and students and families want to find housing before school starts. More leases are signed during the summer, so the 12-month cycle begins and ends around this time of year. Apartments may be more expensive as supply and demand dictate prices.

Better prices: Rent tends to dip from October through April because fewer people are moving during the colder months of the year. It could be difficult to find units since most leases are signed over the summer and early fall. However, you may find deals on rent as landlords and property management teams try to fill apartments, allowing you room to negotiate.

When to Notify Your Landlord

Talk to your landlord or property management team before you start apartment hunting. Find out how much notice must provide before your lease ends. Are there fees for breaking your lease early? Any financial hurdles might affect your timeline.

Ask your property manager when you’ll be notified of your lease renewal so you can prepare accordingly. You likely be expected to clean your apartment and repair damage before you move out.

Apartments in Columbus, Ohio

Are you looking for an apartment around Columbus, Ohio? Contact Ardent Communities to learn about our rentals, including apartments, townhouses and homes.

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