Preparing for an early fall move can be a challenge as a renter. Many renters (especially those located in northern states and Canada) prefer to move in the spring to early fall before it gets too cold and ice makes it dangerous and annoying to relocate. Fall is also when students head back to school and there’s a high demand for rental housing, which is why services like movers, trucks, painters, furniture assemblymen may be stretched thin.
Since there’s still lots of supply on the market during this period, it’s a matter of timing your move and acting fast to get the rental of your choice. Here are some tips on how to prepare for an early fall move as a renter:
Start Your Search Early
You may think that you can start researching rental options just 60 days before you want to move, but that’s likely too late if you’re looking at the early fall. Competition is fierce and you want to get a head start on other applicants.
Start in April or May by researching ideal neighborhoods. Walk around on a Sunday and get a feel for the place. Can you see yourself living there? Does it have all the desired services like a nearby gym, daycare, and transit stop? Check how long it would take you to get to work. Once you can narrow down your options to one to three ideal neighborhoods, you can really hone in on your search for housing around early June.
Clarify Your Priorities
Compile a list of everything you liked and disliked about your previous apartment or house rental. You’ll then want to draw up a list of new priorities. For example, maybe your last place had ensuite laundry and now you can’t live without it. But you didn’t like how you had to park on the street (common for New York City apartments in the US or Vancouver real estate in Canada). So, now you can save time by only checking out places that have both ensuite laundry and parking.
Bring this new apartment inspection checklist with you when you go for a showing to remind yourself of what’s important. It’s so easy to get swept away when you see a place you like in a competitive market, but it’s essential to stay grounded and remember your must-haves. The last thing you want is to move into a new place, not like it, and go through this process all over again in a year!
Reassess Your Needs
If you can’t find many units that meet your needs, maybe it’s time to reassess. The truth is, fall is such a busy time that you’re likely to miss out on a few bids for some places. Normally bidding wars are limited to houses for sale in Toronto and other big markets, but now bidding wars take place even for some rentals. Flexibility on price will probably open up the most possibilities for you, but if that’s not an option, try changing neighborhoods. Moving a bit farther out can net you more amenities for a cheaper price.
Book Movers ASAP
As soon as you sign a lease, start hiring your movers or a truck, furniture assembly, handyman, painters, and whatever else you need. These services book fast in September and you’ll want to reserve professionals early.