How Long Does It Take To Find an Apartment?

The search for a new apartment can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. Finding a house that instantly clicks and feels home isn’t easy.

Whether you want to move because you want more rooms, or you got relocated at work, or you just want to upgrade, you’ve got to keep a time buffer.

You won’t find the right apartment in a day!

Finding an apartment can take a few days (if you’re lucky), or it could take several weeks to months!

How Long Does It Usually Take to Find the Right Apartment?

The search for the right apartment doesn’t just start randomly. It starts with financial planning and feasibility analysis, and then comes the actual apartment hunt.

If you include the time that you put into financial feasibility and planning, it can take up to 6 months to finally be in a position to move to your dream apartment.

You can always keep the planning phase shorter, but we don’t recommend that. The longer you dedicate to planning, the smoother the search and final move will be.

So ideally, you should keep a timeframe of at least 6 months when you’re planning to move to a new apartment.

When calculating the time it would take you to find an apartment, it would be best to include the time you spend in the planning because it’s a part of the process.

Financial Planning Can Take Several Months

Moving to a new apartment can be pricey. Not only are moving costs involved, but numerous other costs add up.

Before you can begin your search, you should have enough amount saved to cover up to 6 months of rent.

When you rent an apartment, you have to pay one month’s rent in advance with an application fee.

Some landlords require the new tenant to pay more money upfront.

The charges include the first month’s rent, a security deposit worth one month’s rent, background check fee, application fee, move-in fee, parking deposit, and other miscellaneous charges that can all add up.

If you don’t have enough money saved up, you’ll have to call the deal off because you won’t have sufficient funds.

This is the reason why we suggest you include the time you spend saving up for the new apartment in the timeframe because it’s an integral part of the process.

Initial Search – 2 to 3 Months

The initial search for an apartment can take anywhere from a few weeks to 2 to 3 months.

You should give the search adequate time to ensure that you’re getting the best apartment for the price.

If you rush into getting the first apartment that you see, you might regret your decision if you ever come across an apartment better than yours at the same rent or less.

Dedicating 2 to 3 months to the initial search is ideal. It’ll ensure that you’ve surveyed all the possible neighborhoods, visited several apartments, and settled for the one with the best rental rates!

So, this adds about 2 to 3 months to the 6 months that you put into stabilizing yourself financially!

Touring Various Apartments- 1 To 2 Months

Once you’ve done your initial research (online or through an agent) and have shortlisted some apartments, you should then start touring the potential apartments.

Depending on the number of apartments you’ve shortlisted, it can take anywhere between 1 to 2 months to tour all the shortlisted apartments.

If you want to save time and get done with finding the right apartment for yourself sooner, you can always choose to tour the apartments virtually.  

Not having to drive about different neighborhoods saves time. But nothing beats in-person visits.

An apartment may look beautiful and attractive in the pictures, but visiting the property personally can really change your perception.

The apartment may be nice, but the neighborhood might not be what you’ve in mind for yourself. It’s also possible that you don’t like how congested the apartment complex itself looks.

Visiting all the shortlisted apartments personally can take a lot of time, but the time spent doing in-person surveys is worth it. Keep at least 2 months to visit your shortlisted apartments.

Paperwork – 30 To 40 Days

After you’ve found the right apartment, the next step is to complete the paperwork. Processing time for apartment applications ranges from 24 to 72 hours.

However, the actual work is before you submit your apartment application. You’ll need to attach some documents with your apartment application for it to be processed and completed.

Some people are proactive and keep everything ready, but those who’re moving into an apartment for the first time should keep a buffer of at least 40 days to complete the paperwork.

The documents that you’ll have to submit with your apartment application form include:

  • Photo ID
  • Proof of employment
  • Monthly income
  • Credit history
  • Current phone number and address
  • Whether you’ve got any pets

The landlord may take time to review your rental history, run a credit check, and verify the documents, which will take some time.

If your apartment application form has any missing documents, the application process will need to be stopped until you fulfill all the requirements. All of this can take up to 40 days.

Lease Signing – 30 Days

After your apartment application has been approved, the next step is signing the lease.

The entire process of preparation of the lease contract to the approval of all terms from both parties can take up to a month.

If both the tenant and landlord want, they can get done with the lease signing in fewer days but it’s always better to keep a margin so that you don’t decide on an unrealistic moving date.

Also read: Signed a Lease but Changed My Mind – What Are My Options?

Preparing for the Move – 2 To 3 Weeks

Now that you’ve found the apartment that you wanted, signed the lease contract, and decided on a move date, you must now invest all your energy in preparing for the actual move.

Most people downplay this step and as a result, packing and moving to the new apartment takes them much longer than they anticipate.

Packing all your stuff and moving it all to the new apartment is a very exhausting task.

When it comes to packing and moving, you’ve got multiple options. You can either do the packing yourself and hire a moving truck or portable container to move all your stuff to the new apartment.

You can also hire a packing and moving company who can take care of the packing and moving for you.

Doing everything yourself will take longer. If you want to move to your new apartment soon, you should consider hiring a moving company that also offers packing services.

Now, if you’ve decided to hire professionals to help you move, you’ll have to keep some time aside for research to find the best moving company.

You certainly can’t risk trusting the wrong company with your belongings. Shortlist at least 3 moving companies, take quotes, check reviews, and then decide which one you should hire.

Moving Day

The moving day can be very stressful. Leaving your old home, ensuring that you don’t leave anything behind, and checking that everything reaches the new apartment intact can be a little too much.

However, if you’re working with the right moving company, you don’t have to worry because they can take care of everything on your behalf.

What Causes Delays in Finding an Apartment?

Ideally, it takes about a year to find the right apartment, including the time you’re saving.

If you already have sufficient funds in your bank account, finding an apartment might take 4 to 6 months.

However, for some people, finding an apartment that suits their needs, preferences, and budgets often takes much longer than they expect.

Some possible reasons why it may take longer to find an apartment include:

The Property Owner Is Non-Responsive

Your first line of contact when you show interest in an apartment listed on an online platform is the property owner.

One of the most common causes of delays in finding an apartment is the property owner being non-responsive.

If you like the apartment in the pictures and it’s in your budget, you might want to wait for the property owner to respond before looking at other apartments.

You Can’t Get an Appointment for In-Person Visit

You may not get a time slot to visit the shortlisted apartment right away. Sometimes, the property owners aren’t in town, and their property managers are too occupied.

As a result, you’ve got to wait for weeks till you can finally visit the apartment personally.

You Are Short On Finances

Another reason why finding an apartment may take longer is insufficient finances. The apartments you like may be well beyond your budget.

The apartments that come in your budget may not be located in the best location or may not be close to your child’s school or your workplace.

Finding an apartment on a limited budget takes longer because the options available on a lesser budget are fewer, and finding a suitable apartment that meets your needs and the budget can take time.

This is the reason why we suggest you include the 6 months during which you save up enough money for a new apartment in your timeframe of finding an apartment.

Application Process Took Too Long

You’ve got to be extra cautious when filling out your apartment application form because any mistakes or negligence can result in long delays.

The first thing that’s checked and verified during the apartment application process is your credit and background check.

The property management company has to ensure you aren’t involved in any criminal activities and whether you’ve got any overdue debts.

Your rental history, employment, and income are verified too during the process, and the verification can take quite some time as it depends on how fast the third person (your boss, older landlord) responds.

Also read: How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for an Apartment?

Closing Word

Finding an apartment takes an average of 9 to 12 months, including the time you invest in financial planning.

The longer you take to find an apartment, the better your decision will be. Any decisions taken in haste often lead to regrets and losses.

So, don’t fret if it’s taking you longer to find the right apartment. As the saying goes, all’s well that ends well!

If you’re able to find a good apartment at a reasonable location at a market-competitive rent, the time spent to find it is all worth it!

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