What’s The Best Time Of Year To Sign A Lease?
If real estate has seasons for better times to buy, are there times of the year where renters are able to take advantage of a better lease agreement? Rentals can have variable pricing and available just as often as the housing market—the best times to find a rental often have more to do with what you want out of your rental. Often, there are seasonal times for lower rent and select months where apartment availability is higher.
UNDERSTAND THE LOCAL RENTAL DEMAND
In order to find out what the trends are in the area you plan to rent you may need to do a bit of research—or at least reach out to residents of your potential neighborhood for tips on the rental real estate. You can easily do this through social media—join groups based out of the area and post your question! Other ways to gather intel are through professionals in the industry like local real estate agents, property managers, and even rental insurance agents—we see trends in rentals through the peak times of enrollment.
When you know what the rental “supply and demand” are in the city or neighborhoods you desire, then you can better predict when the better time to sign a new lease will be.
COMMON MARKET TRENDS YOU MAY SEE
Low Rent In Winter
It is very common to see the rent of most areas drop in the cooler months, usually in October lasting until March or April. This trend is often the result of few renters in the market—not many enjoy moving during cold months, near holidays, and while school is still in session. As a result, landlords will often reduce the rent and/or make the leasing agreement more attractive (like with a smaller deposit or change in pet rates).
On the downside of this, with fewer people looking to move while its still cold out there may be fewer rental options available. Be prepared to settle for an apartment, condo, or home for rent that may not meet all of your expectations. Landlords may also balance their lower rent request with a shorter or longer than average leasing agreement—usually so that it could potentially go back on the rental market at times where the demand is higher and they can set the rent at the higher end of the market price—or feel justified in raising your rent after the lease expires in order for you to renew the lease.
If low rent is what you need and you are not as concerned with availability or options, then rental shopping while everyone prepares for winter is your ideal time.
More Options In Warmer Months
Around April or May, when it’s a bit warmer and school is out, more rentals are available on the market as renters become more comfortable with the idea of moving. While having more options to choose from, and potentially finding your perfect rental, you may have more renters on the market to compete with. As a result, you may see higher monthly rent requirements, larger deposits, or more requirements in order to qualify for getting the lease (background checks, financial letters from employers, etc.) so landlords can select a reliable renter who will last through the lease.
PRICE SHOP AND NEGOTIATE
Some rental properties, like apartment complexes, may not allow for much wiggle room in negotiation in the contractual agreement; however, they are the ideal properties to price comparison shop. If you can provide proof that one complex is willing to offer you a lower rent, another may match or try to beat the rental price in order to fill an empty apartment. This can allow you to pick the more suitable apartment for your needs. Homes and condos for rent may allow for more negotiation—for example having lawn, pool, HOA fees, or utilities included in your monthly rent or allowing pets (although you may have to agree to a separate pet deposit).
Before attempting to negotiate, be sure your research is done, and your negotiation requests are on par with current market trends.