Whether it’s your first year in college and you’re already thinking about off-campus housing, or you didn’t have luck getting the apartment you wanted last year, it helps to know when you should start looking for one to make sure you get your dream apartment in college.
First off, get to know your campus and the surrounding city in order to get an idea of when leasing season begins. For some cities, it’s the same as non-school apartments; meaning, leasing seasons are May/June and August/September, as well as December. For other cities, it’s a much lengthier process. In some university towns, if you want an apartment in August, then you need to apply for it in September of the previous year. It can take up to a year to “wait in line” for an apartment. So, if you’re a freshman in college, you should prepare to plan for an apartment hunt in September to be ready for your sophomore year. Once you know when leasing season is, start looking for apartments a month or two in advance to get an idea of where you want to live. Make a “top three” list of apartments. Contact those apartments and ask when they start leasing; is it a year in advance or is it move-in ready? If it’s move-in ready, then you can wait until the following year.
*TIP: For move-in ready leases, start your search process in May/June versus August. You want to make sure you get an apartment and have move-in time before school starts back up.
If you get an apartment in June, you’ll have a year long lease and can choose to stay in the same apartment or move in June. It gives you plenty of time to move out once summer break starts. If you plan to change apartments, then make sure to start looking for your next one in advance depending on whether or not it’s a year-in-advance lease or move-in ready.
The apartment hunting process can take time, so it’s always good to start ahead of time and stay on top of apartment availabilities. With so many students on the same time schedule as you, you’ll be competing with others for the same college apartments. Consider making a renter’s resume to help you stand out from the rest!