I've talked to realtors and tenants about the question, "is there a right time to find a rental?" People's opinions seem to vary, especially by location. Let's see if we can come to a conclusion on this question!
Investopedia says that renters looking for lots of options for places should be looking in May through October because these are the months with major life changes happening, like graduates leaving the nest. However, they say if you want to find the best prices, you should be shopping for a place in October through April. Wait a minute - they've basically included the entire year! Do you get my confusion? The one thing they point out that I do agree with strongly is that people typically don't want to move during the holiday season. Let's keep searching for answers!
MoneyTips suggests that people looking to move rank the things that are most important to them, like lowest price, paying more for a better location, things you must have, things that will make you run the other direction, etc. They say more people tend to make their moves when kids are out of school, from late spring to early fall, so many one year leases will expire in this time frame. Because leases are finishing up then, late spring to early fall will be the time when you'll be able to find the most options for a new rental. They agree that the time near the holidays is considered as being the off-season for finding a new rental and for that reason, you may have a chance of finding better deals because there won't be a ton of people wanting to move at that time (less competition). Another interesting point that they raised is that seasons can make renting in different areas difficult, like during ski season in Colorado or during the summer months in popular tourist areas.
Rent.com agrees that your needs dictate when you should plan to move. If you want options, May through September is best because there will be a good amount of turnover in rental places. But if money saving is your priority, you should be looking from October through April. Hmm - I'm starting to see a trend! I like their tip about searching for new listings in the later morning (9-10 am) so you can be one of the first to spot what has just been posted.
So let's see what can be agreed on so far:
You'll find the most options for rentals during the months when kids are out of school.
Prices tend to be best from October through April.
People don't want to move over the holidays.
Tourism and what's going on in an area can make it more challenging to find a place.
Looking for new listings in the morning to see what's newly posted.
Two more sources of good information to check. I took a look on RentCafe which seems to be a reliable source of valid information. They agree that the winter months when it's colder can be best for finding the best prices. They feel that people tend to not want to move during the holidays and at the beginning of the year, so landlords may be more willing to drop prices to find renters. They state that February may be the best month to rent but renters should begin searching early in January. Another good tip is to always begin searching at the beginning of the month for rentals, because tenants planning to leave notify their landlords of their intent most likely at this time.
I wrapped up my search for answers with a conversation with my realtor, Abbey Carr of Front Porch Realties here in Lake County, Florida. She and I had previously had a conversation about when places tend to rent out. She confirms that the best months for finding rentals in our area are February - June. One of the things that can impact people wanting to move at that time is that they have money ready for a new rental once they get their tax return refunds back.
So now I turn the question back to you - when do you think it's the best time to move? No doubt about it, your circumstances and situation can help dictate the answer. Please share your opinions with others by commenting. Follow along for tips for renters and landlords alike at https://www.leesburg4rent.com/blog - thanks!
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