When’s the best time to rent an apartment? It depends on whether you’re the Landlord or the prospective tenant. Rental activity is highest in the Spring and Summer months. Activity falls off dramatically in September and continues to decline through the Winter months, until February when things start back up to a peak in the July-August timeframe. There is some variation to this trend depending on your geography (weather plays a big part)… but in general, it is a reliable cycle.
Landlords: The Best Time to Rent is the Summer
For landlords, the best time to rent a place out is between June and August. School’s out, and the nicer weather encourages people to get out and look for a new place. Plus, thanks to the 12-month term on most leases, many people are vacating other rentals in the Summer months to find a new place without incurring any lease-break penalties. With a good rental advertising campaign (including some terrific pictures and a fair price), you’ll likely see many people stopping by your place. It puts you on better terms for negotiating and so you’re less likely to cave on price or terms (e.g., taking a lower credit score for an applicant even though you know you shouldn’t).
What if you aren’t getting applicants during peak season?
If you aren’t getting applicants, there’s one of two things wrong: (1) the price/quality/situation of the home; (2) an inadequate marketing campaign. For both, you need to do your research. Check other listings on Craigslist and in the paper to see what others are charging in your area. Make sure you’ve listed every feature and shown great pictures of your property to prospective tenants.
Renters: The Best Time to Rent is the Winter
Despite the lower inventory, Landlords will probably be pulling their hair out to get a place rented in December. As such, they’re much more likely to negotiate the terms of a lease (especially the most important term… the price). Remember: every month a property sits vacant for a Landlord is an entire month without rent. If a landlord has to keep the place heated while vacant, they could be losing as much as 10% of their annual income each much the place is vacant… That puts you in an excellent position to negotiate a 10% discount on rent.
Plus, if you have some negative marks on your credit, or your income in close, indepedent landlords are more likely to cave on stricter requirements in the Winter months… even though we would recommend to them against it.
(photo credit: cincyproject)