The apartment rental market can move fast — sometimes too fast! Many folks on the brink of moving often wonder, “how long does it take to get an apartment?” It depends on where you live and what kind of apartment you’re searching for! The following guidelines can help your search for a new apartment go smoothly — and on your timeline.
What to do when you’re six months away from moving:
Months ahead of moving, you’ll need to budget for new rent and moving-related expenses. Will you upgrade your space? If so, you’ll want to budget for additional rent. Will you rent a furnished apartment or rent furniture so you can move into a fully-furnished apartment on day one? Explore the pros and cons of a furnished vs. unfurnished apartment and factor that into your expenses as well. Begin a dedicated savings effort six months before your planned move. And, if possible, it’s a good idea to have that many months of rent saved up before your big transition. It’s an achievable goal if you:
- Factor in a portion of your current savings (leaving some aside for emergencies)
- Reduce expenses and apply the savings to your upcoming move
- Devote the recommended 30% of your current income to rent, an amount that may help you set aside some of your remaining monthly income
Considering that the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is about three months, these six months of rent and related expenses may help you bridge even the most difficult of times.
…three months away:
What do you need to apply for an apartment? A game plan! Unless you have a crystal ball, there’s nothing better than a solid game plan to make the most of the three months before your move.
And your game plan starting at this point should include a reliable way to determine how many apartments will be available. It’s possible to get a good idea of the searching lead time you’ll need by:
- Looking at apartment listings three months before your anticipated move
- Noting the “move-in” dates posted for those apartments most appealing to you
- Calculating the average by tallying the move-in times and dividing that total by the number of apartments
As you begin this process, review your current lease to see how much notice you must provide the landlord before moving.
… two months away:
When you’re a couple of months out from needing to move, begin your dedicated apartment search. Apartment communities should have inventory available that coincides with your desired move-in date. Think back to your preliminary searches: which apartment complexes stood out to you during that effort? Which ones didn’t offer the amenities you need? Giving yourself a two-month buffer allows you to schedule apartment tours on your lunch breaks or other times convenient for your schedule.
Two months out also allows you enough time to learn about your new area! Explore a city guide to help you get familiar with things to do, places to eat, and sights to see in your new neighborhood.
… one month away:
Ideally, by now, you’ve located an apartment that looks like a great fit! With a month to go before your move date, it’s time to fill out an application for the apartment of your choice.
So, how long does it take to process an apartment application? It can vary from management company to management company, but you can typically expect a 48 – 72 hour turnaround. Applications usually ask for:
- Proof of employment
- Photo ID
- Credit check
- Current address and phone number
- Monthly income
- Pets (if any)
Leaving information off your application wastes valuable time as the management company must stop processing it and contact you to fill in the blanks.
Tip: if you need to speed up the apartment application process, show up at the leasing office with a cashier’s check in hand!
What should you do if you need to move immediately?
Sometimes, circumstances require you to jump into a search immediately. Moving out before your lease is up CAN incur unforeseen fees, so weigh the pros and cons before packing up. If cutting your lease short is ultimately the best decision, it’s a good idea to remember that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line — and your straightest line to apartments for rent available now is ApartmentSearch.com. Find available apartments online quickly with our apartment locator. With up-to-date results, you’re sure to find an apartment that works for you!