Part one in a two part series. This week, we’re talking about when you can get the best deals on an apartment if you’re a tenant and next week we’ll back with a blog for landlords on the best time to advertise rentals.

If you have a flexible moving date and want a good deal:

May-September is the busiest time in the rental industry. Apartments are in high demand, especially in towns with colleges and universities within their city limits.

If you can, wait until November to start looking.

This investment blog says the best months to find a deal are between October and February, when property management companies will often lower the rent or offer deals such as a month or two of free rent, especially if they have a lot of vacancies to fill.

If you want the best selection of places for rent

The downfall of waiting until the off-season to rent, however, is that there won’t be as many people moving out and leaving vacant properties when you’re looking. If you’ve obsessively checked the Rentler listings daily and are coming up short, you might be better off waiting until May to begin looking.

Just keep in mind that you’ll most likely have some competition during the peak apartment hunting season, so if you won’t settle until you’ve found the rental of your dreams try these tips:

  1. Check first thing in the morning. According to stats, most listings go up between 9 am and 10 am, when landlords and property managers first get to the office.
  2. Have your application information handy at all times. Rentler has online applications that allow you to save all your info and apply with one click, but if you have to go in and physically apply make sure all your details are readily available.
  3. Create an apartment “cover letter”. In cities where rentals are precious gold, like San Francisco and Portland, it might help to write a letter outlining what kind of tenant you are and have copies handy.

Good luck! If you have any apartment hunting tips, let us know in the comments below.