Monday, March 22nd, 2021
For renters getting ready to move, timing is everything. Determining when to begin your search can dramatically impact not only rental prices, but also availability. In other words, if you know when to look for an apartment in Chicago, you could find more units and better prices than you might at other times of year. So, what are the secrets? When is the best time to hunt? Here are some tips:
1. Start by knowing what you want. You could say the best time to look for an apartment is when you know what you’re looking for — and you’re willing to focus on that. What’s your budget, for example? If you know you can’t afford to go over a certain limit, don’t waste time viewing rentals you already know you can’t afford. Likewise, what are your must-haves? If you’re not willing to add an extra 10 minutes to your daily commute, there’s no point checking out rentals beyond your target area. You’ll save yourself time and stress by starting the apartment-hunting process with a clear idea of what you need.
2. Give yourself a month, if possible. One month out from your ideal move-in date is the best time to start looking. Most of the apartments that will be available when you’re planning to move will be listed by then, giving you access to a large inventory. While some landlords will list sooner or later than a month out, the majority will be posted with 30 days’ notice.
3. Shop at the end of winter for better deals. Let’s face it: Nobody wants to relocate in the middle of Chicago’s winter snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. If you’re looking for great prices, however, this could be to your advantage. Fewer people want to move in winter, which means less competition for whatever units are empty. By the time March and April roll around, rates will typically have plummeted to their yearly lowest. Depending on what size apartment you’re going for, you could save hundreds of dollars per month in rent simply because you took advantage of the end-of-winter price dips.
4. Look for new year deals. While the end of winter offers lower prices, the start of a new calendar year often brings rental incentives. Every January, be on the lookout for limited-time promotions, such as a few months of free rent or waived admin fees.
5. Shop at the end of summer for a big selection. You don’t have to be a student to know how the school year affects rental availability. Not only do college students, parents, and teachers typically move in the summer to prepare for new school years, but — thanks to yearly leases — that routine can continue well into the future. If you want to see a wide variety of apartments at one time, summer is usually a good bet. Keep in mind, however, that high demand means high competition; if you want to shop in summer, be prepared to act fast and submit your application the same day you view an apartment.
Whether you’re changing neighborhoods, upgrading your apartment size or moving to Chicago for the first time, you can get a lot more bang for your buck by knowing when to look for a new place. Use the five tips above to strategize and find the right home for you. For even more help, rent your next apartment with Downtown Apartment Company, the Chicago rental agency with a free luxury apartment search tool!